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Once upon a time the BMW 7 Series was an imaginative
alternative in the big executive saloon segment - sportier
and more dynamically focused than its staid rivals. That
changed with the current generation, which disappointed
on most levels. But the new model, which we will see
for the � rst time later this year, looks far more promising
thanks to part-carbon construction and some clever
technology that should help to sharpen the driving
experience. It could be the tonic this staid segment needs.
American cars have much in common with those local
liqueurs that a wily barman persuades you to try on an
overseas holiday. They work well enough in their natural
environment, you might even pick up a bottle in duty
free, but once home you learn that they don't travel well.
In the US, the Ford Mustang has always been an
unpretentious blue collar sportscar, and one that has become a
cultural icon over the past 60 years. But when shipped to other parts
of the world it has always come o as crude and ill-mannered, and
been regarded as brash and uncouth. Which is why Ford's decision to
build a right-hand drive version of the new car, and o¡ cially import it
to Britain, is such a brave one.
It certainly looks the part. Its design pays homage to some of its
iconic predecessors without being fussy or retro. It's big and muscular,
and although some details look and feel cheap up close, it has huge
presence. With prices starting at £29,995, it's a lot of car for the money.
Ironically, the bit that's most obviously aimed at European tastes
is the bit that works least well, with buyers able to specify a 2.3-litre
'EcoBoost' four-cylinder engine. It produces a healthy 314bhp, but
doesn't like to rev, sounds bland
and struggles to deliver anywhere
near its o¡ cial economy gures.
The 418hp V8 is more expensive,
has a vastly superior soundtrack
and is far more in keeping with
the muscle-car image.
Best bits: Price, presence,
Worst bits: Cheap-feeling cabin,
breathless EcoBoost motor.
FORD MUSTANG V8
Price: £33,995 (V8 Coupe)
Engine: 5.0-litre V8, petrol
0-60mph: 4.7 seconds
Top speed: 160mph
Shipped to other parts of the world, the US's
Ford Mustang has always come off as crude
and ill-mannered, brash and uncouth
The all-American icon � nally makes it to Europe, but should it have bothered with the long trip?
COMING SOON: BMW 7 Series