2019 Ford Bullitt Mustang Review

If McQueen had this, he'd be McKing


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: The best-looking Mustang for sale today, superlative engine note, truly responsive, a proper cue ball manual transmission.
Negatives: Have to rev high to extract the most from the V8, not as tractable as a V8 Camaro, interior ergo needs work, piano black rear trim feels cheap.
Bottom Line: The Bullitt pays proper homage to the movie of the same name, only this time the car is better. The Bullitt Mustang not only looks awesome with its pony badges removed, it's a blast to drive and pretty easy to use for a muscle car. Its somewhat stealthy look is betrayed by the booming V8, and the rev-matching manual transmission is a pleasure to shift. It's our favorite 'Stang so far.
Now that the Steve McQueen Bullitt movie is celebrating its 50th Anniversary, it's time for Ford to deliver the goods on a commemorative 'Stang that honors the original. The Bullitt Mustang you see here is a limited-production model that will only see 2019 and 2020 production years. Not only does it look different from other Mustang GTs, it has more horses, loses its pony badging, and gets some special wheels. Plus, it only comes with a manual transmission, which only seems right. We drove it in Dark Highland Green paint (one of only two colors; the other is Shadow Black) for a week. Read on for our detailed review.
 

Driving Experience

9.2

 

The Bullitt Mustang is a civilized beast of a muscle car that runs somewhat counter to the 'Stangs of old. The boisterous V8 is there, as is the powerful acceleration, but with it comes handling, braking and steering that's so unlike older muscle cars. Six driving modes control steering effort, exhaust, as well as suspension damping, making for customizable experiences.

Ride Quality: The ride is firm but mostly compliant. Some gaps unsettled the back end despite the multi-link setup.

Acceleration: There's 20 more horses on tap here over the Mustang GT, but the power is only maximized at higher revs. It still pulls hard, but you have to wring it out to be truly frightetend.

Braking: Brembos are mighty strong and exhibit no issues under hard use.

Steering: The steering is crisp and provides good feel. Precision was great, as was turn-in and on-centeredness at highway speeds.

Handling: The Mustang shines in the turns with balance, precision, and minimal body roll. Taking it around a corner is a sheer pleasure.

Technology

9.2

 

Though SYNC3 probably has to be redesigned soon in terms fof looks, we still love its easy operation and crisp visibility. There are more complicated systems, but the SYNC3 is still fantastic to use and look at.

Infotainment System: We think an 8" touchscreen is plenty since we were mostly focused on driving the Bullitt for the ideal in-car entertainment. The screen is clear, responsive, and very intuitive.

Controls: Physical controls dominate, and though they may not be the best ergonomically, they're fun to use with the toggle switches, and the cue ball stick shift is one of the best in the business.

Styling

9.7

 

The Mustang has come a long way, and the Bullitt is easily one of the most attractive ones ever made. Less brutal than the GT350 or GT500, it's stealthy in its appearance but still unmistakably Mustang.

Front: The dark grille has no badging at all, and we love the simplified look. The slim headlights with the Mustang signature DRLs look great, as do the aggressive hood vents and the big front splitter.

Rear: The Mustang badge is replaced by the large "Bullitt" version. We love the taillights that are iconically Mustang, but we could do without the big piano black slab of plastic that feels cheap.

Profile: With its classic fastback look, black wheels, and popping red Brembos, the Bullitt looks great from this angle.

Cabin: It's one of the better interior trimmed Mustangs, though the dash is bulky. We do love the aluminum dash panel, the toggle switches, and the classic style of the white cue ball shifter.

Comfort

8.5

 

Like most muscle cars, the Bullitt is really only good for two people. It's not especially airy in the cabin, nor is it plush. But the interior does its job without fanfare or any serious demerits.

Front Seats: Big and supportive, the leather buckets are properly cushioned and comfortable.

Rear Seats: Small and essentially useless for adults. They're typical 2+2 in size and space.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The Bullitt is well made and solid. The only real noise comes from filler engine noise through the speakers and a boisterous note from the growling V8.

Visibility: The hood is long, but you can still place the Mustang without issue. The tall decklid, small windows, and big pillars result in compromised views out the back.

Climate: The climate system is fine with no issues. We had no trouble cranking up the HVAC system.

Safety

6.9

 

The Mustang doesn't win any major awards, and it's one of the few vehicles we've seen where the front passenger fares better than the driver. There are some small safety features but nothing on the cutting edge in terms of driver assist or automatic crash prevention systems.

IIHS Rating: No awards were one, but it manages to pull off "good" in most of the crash tests except for the driver small overlap, where it was "acceptable".

NHTSA Rating: It actually obtained five stars from the federa government, but IIHS tests are more comprehensive.

Standard Tech: A rear sensing system and a rearview camera, along with a tire pressure monitor are the only standard safety features, aside from ABS, airbags, and traction/stability control.

Optional Tech: Our tester came with just two features: BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) with cross-traffic alert.

Storage/Cargo

5.2

 

If you're looking for space in the Bullitt, you're clearly barking up the wrong tree. The Mustang is limited in terms of cabin storage and trunk space. No one buys this thing to move people or gear, so it's best to keep your expectations low.

Storage Space: Other than some small door pockets, two cupholder, and the armrest, there's just not much in the way of small items storage.

Cargo Room: 11.4 to 13.5 cubic feet with the seats up or down, respectively. It's not much, but its cavernous compared to the Camaro's, which stays in the single digits.

Fuel Economy

6.6

 

Muscle cars are thirsty beasts, especially in V8 guise. Hell, even the EcoBoost Mustang isn't especially thrifty. The Bullitt wants to be driven hard, and we were happy to comply. The fuel efficiency results were less than stellar, as we expected.

Observed: 13.4 mpg

Distance Driven: 85 miles

Audio

9

 

For $2,100, you get the Electronics Package with plenty of features, one of which is the upgraded Bang & Olufsen 12-speaker premium system. It sounds great with booming bass and great clarity. We didn't play it much because we'd rather hear that big V8 roar. The system is worth it since you get great sound and additional safety tech and navigation.



Final Thoughts

Muscle cars are wildly impractical, but they're still sold by the likes of Ford, Chevy, and Dodge in order to keep the spirit alive. The Bullitt Mustang is one of the better ones thanks to excellent style that pays homage to the movie, the movie car, and Mr. McQueen in proper fashion. It's more sports car than most folks should be permitted to drive, and it's fun all the time thanks to a look and feel that few cars can impart. The limited production nature of the Bullitt means it should do well when it comes to holding its value. And if you never sell it, the manual V8 fastback will be a rarity so many will covet when muscle cars have gone the way of the dodo.
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