Bullitt fired at NZ Mustang fans

What Mustang fan can resist releasing their inner Steve McQueen?

CONFIRMATION that the big gun of the Mustang family, the Bullitt, will be on sale here before year-end has come – but conjecture remains about whether the export car’s performance calibre will match that of the US market version.

Ford New Zealand has joined other right-hand drive markets, including Australia and the United Kingdom, in saying it has the green light for the special edition model, configured to pay tribute to the car that appeared in the movie Bullitt on the famous film’s 50th anniversary.

News of the model’s release in right hand drive was announced at the Geneva motor show overnight.

Ford NZ spokesman Tom Clancy says price, the specification and launch timing cannot yet be announced. That’ll happen closer to the arrival of the initial shipment, expected around year-end.

However, he says the allocation will be restricted. “There will be less than 50.”

He anticipated that Kiwi Ford fans would already be starting to call up dealerships to seek more information.

“We think there will be a lot – a lot – of interest, obviously.”

The model’s confirmation comes as first examples of the facelift 2018 editions of the regular-issue Mustang, now featuring a 10-speed automatic transmission among numerous changes, start to reach NZ. The first of those cars landed this week.

Also based on the 2018 package, the Bullitt was first revealed at the Detroit motor show in January. It is based on the regular five-litre Mustang, but has many enhancements, not least under the bonnet.

However, it’s the degree of that change, in respect to the right-hand drive product, that remains clouded.

Ford suggested in Geneva that the right-hook Bullitt will have 341kW  – just 2kW more than the standard Mustang’s 339kW and down on the 354kW US-spec car.

Britain’s Autocar magazine says the US-spec car gets more than the standard Mustang thanks to the use of an upgraded induction system, intake manifold, 87mm throttle bodies and powertrain control module calibration listed straight from the 392kW Shelby GT350 – a model that Ford NZ does not sell new (as it only avails in left hook) but which has made available here by grey importers.

The top speed is also increased for the US car over the regular 5.0-litre Mustang’s 249kmh, to 270kmh, thanks to the uprated power output. 

As the images show, the Bullitt gets a special livery inspired by the classic 1968 Mustang used in the Steve McQueen epic, best known for its car chase scene. It also gets a series of mechanical modifications to cement its status as the most special non-Shelby Mustang in the range.

It’s marked out by Dark Highland Green paint (black is also available), with gunmetal finished 19in torque thrust aluminium wheels, red painted brake calipers and a black front grille. At the rear, the Bullitt false petrol cap shows the car’s significance.

Inside, there are Recaro seats, the upholstery is finished with green stitching, an 8-ball gearknob and the Bullitt Electronics Package, which adds sat-nav, a premium sound system, blind spot monitor and cross-traffic alert, as well as driver memory seats and mirrors.