Driven: The Softer Side of Mustang

By Seyth Miersma

August 04, 2009

In generations past, the convertible versions of Ford’s Mustang have offered relatively cheap, fast, open top motoring, but not without paying a pretty big dynamic price. Despite Bill Ford’s proclaiming the Mustang convertible has his desert island vehicle of choice (see above for one of the nearly unforgettable “No Boundaries” commercials from earlier in the decade), driver’s interested in a real performance vehicle have always been forced to opt for the tin-top pony car. The convertible has always suffered from far too much chassis flex to make it serviceable as anything more serious than a quick, weekend tourer—sorry Bill.

In its sixth generation, the makers of Mustang have managed to dial out much of the former car’s noodle-like properties, making the convertible almost as entertaining to toss about as the coupe. Over the week or so that we had possession of the 2010 Mustang GT convertible, and over roughly 90-percent of the drive-time we logged, we found the car to fall rather solidly in the “just fine” category of handling dynamics. Gone were the trembling steering wheel, and juddering ride that so marked previous generation of Ford convertible. That shouldn’t be a surprise, as Ford has told us from the get that all of the new GTs come calling with more aggressive spring rates, stabilizer bars, and shocks than in the last car, but the translation of all that to the soft-top car was pleasant, nevertheless. In fact, within the normal scope of street driving, the rigidity feels nearly the same as the coupe.

Of course, this is a sports car after all, and “normal” driving does occasionally want give way to really flogging it when the traffic thins and the roads go bendy. When the wick is lit the roofless Mustang starts to show hints of slop. Really pushing the car through corners reveals more roll than we detected in the standard GT, and the hardtop’s lack of proper damping is exaggerated here as well. This is no car for the track—unless the track is straight, or very wide.

Still, it’s mostly good news for convertible lovers (Winding Road staff included) here, because the big, blustery personality of Mustang suits the spirit of top-down driving really well. Bill had a point when he mentioned the joy of hearing a V-8 wail away without the bother of a metal roof to separate driver from motor-song, it’s not a bad way to spend an afternoon. Factor in the same beautifully done interior treatment for the 2010 model year, and the Stang vert starts to look even more attractive.