The only people who should have a problem with the 2021 Ford Mustang GT Convertible are those who are unhappy that they bought something else instead.
A week with Ford’s V8-powered convertible pony car provided a friendly reminder that it’s vastly different than it was even a generation ago. But it’s still fantastic – and it’s still capable of putting a proper smile on any enthusiast’s face.
The pathway to joy starts under the hood, where the Mustang GT hides its beating heart: a 5.0L V8 putting out 460 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. Drivers manage that motor with the choice of a six-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission, both of which send power to the rear wheels. This tester made use of the six-speed manual, as well as an automatic rev-matching function as part of the so-called California Special package ($2,500).
The shifter engages with a satisfying clunk, while the clutch is a bit on the heavy side but easy enough to modulate. Sixth gear is also surprisingly tall and feels like an efficiency-oriented overdrive.
The engine is the defining trait of the Mustang GT, however. It sounds brilliant, and it gets the convertible going with haste. It’s so smooth to accelerate to speed, building power all the way to redline. Another feature fitted to this tester is the adjustable exhaust, which lets drivers select from a few volume settings (quiet, normal, sport, and track) to let others bask in the glorious soundtrack of the engine – or not, depending on the kind of relationship you’d like to maintain with your neighbours. That’s also where the quiet start feature comes in handy, which closes the exhaust baffles for the closest to silence this burly V8 can manage.
Fuel Economy: 6/10
As good as the engine is, there are no miracles when it comes to fuel efficiency. This big eight-cylinder is estimated to return an eye-watering 16.2 L/100 km in city driving conditions, a more reasonable 10.0 when cruising on the highway, and 13.4 in combined settings. That’s premium-grade gas, too.
Driving Feel: 8/10
The motor isn’t all that impresses here, with the Mustang GT Convertible driving with composure despite the limited rigidity of the roofless body style. While some potholes and imperfections in the road will send wobbles through to the mirrors and cause some horizontal wriggle, it’s not enough to upset the ride. The suspension and chassis can handle lesser bumps easily – and that’s without the optional computer-controlled magnetorheological dampers ($2,500) that weren’t added to this tester.
There’s also a decent amount of feedback from the steering system, which can be adjusted via a toggle found on the dashboard. It makes only a slight difference but is just one way the Mustang’s appeal has been broadened beyond the hyper-enthusiastic.
One glance at this car and you can easily identify it as a Mustang. There’s just no way to mistake it for something else. The long hood and horse logos are dead giveaways, but the best details are the little, almost gimmicky ones. The rear turn signals light up in sequential order, and there is a pony puddle lamp projected from under the door mirrors.
The California Special package includes a side stripe with the letters “GT/CS.” It also wears unique two-tone 19-inch wheels. This package also gets a unique front grille with an offset badge, while side-scoops and a small rear spoiler round out the additions.
Inside, the Mustang is far from glamorous. The 12-inch digital gauge cluster is handy, and there are a few panels and controls wrapped in leather, including the handbrake and steering wheel. The seats in this model feature a suede-like material with the GT/CS logo and red stitching. Elsewhere, the cabin is full of hollow plastic that can lead to squeaks and rattles while generally looking a bit low-rent.
User Friendliness: 7.5/10
While the Mustang’s touchscreen infotainment system looks a bit small these days, it works well and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. Adjusting the look of the digital gauge cluster is simple, and it’s full of customizable options. Drive mode selection and steering feel adjustment are easily accessible through toggles on the dash, while other controls are just a few button presses away.
There are plenty of other handy features found in the Mustang GT. What used to be a more pared-down pony car is now offered with a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, performance-related apps like launch control, and a line-lock for burnouts. Shoppers can also upgrade from the standard nine-speaker sound system to a 12-speaker unit.
The vehicle includes high-tech safety gear like automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, while adaptive cruise control is optional. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has an incomplete test of the Mustang Convertible. Still, it provides some results for the drop-top’s crashworthiness. The data shows the Mustang fares well in all crash tests except for one aspect of the side impact test, which was graded as “Acceptable” due to concerns with rear passenger head protection.
Ride quality is smooth, and the seats are spacious without the need for aggressive side bolsters. You sink nice and low into the seats, and the cabin features plenty of legroom up front, not to mention excellent headroom when the roof is down. On the other hand, the rear seats are uncomfortable and useless for passengers regardless of the roof position.
Since the convertible top stows behind the rear seats and not in the trunk, there’s a decent amount of cargo room on tap. The Mustang Convertible boasts 324 L of space, and the rear seats also fold down, furthering the practical appeal of the vehicle. A minor complaint with the trunk is the narrow opening, which means it isn’t the most convenient for shuttling large items like golf bags.
The Mustang GT Convertible starts at $56,790 including the $1,995 freight fee. This is a significant premium over the base Mustang GT coupe, which starts at around $42,000 and also packs a V8 but lacks the drop-top. And if you want to save money on the convertible, the four-cylinder starts around $39,000 but lacks that V8 appeal.
Of course, this tester was packed with extras like the California Special package, and the upgraded exhaust system ($1,000) and sound system ($1,000). Overall, you’re able to get a pretty capable and impressive convertible for just over $60,000, which is a decent deal.
It’s not perfect, but boy is the 2021 Ford Mustang GT Convertible good. It’s the ideal companion for cruising around and having fun. It looks cool, sounds great, is smooth on the road, and comes loaded with features. While older Mustangs lacked refinement, the latest model offers so many different configurations that it’s easy to pick one to fit your needs. Coupe or convertible, automatic or manual, V8 or four-cylinder, Ford made the Mustang for every kind of car enthusiast out there, and that’s awesome.
|Peak Horsepower||460 hp|
|Peak Torque||420 lb-ft|
|Fuel Economy||16.2 / 10.0 / 13.4 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb|
|Cargo Space||324 L|
|Model Tested||2021 Ford Mustang GT Convertible|
|Price as Tested||$63,785|
$7,200 – Equipment Group 401a, $2,200; California Special Package, $2,500; Premium Floor Liners Fr/Rr, $150; Active Valve Performance Exhaust, $1,000; Engine Block Heater 110V, $150; Mini Spare Wheel & Tire, $200; B&O Sound System, $1,000