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Ford Mustang California Special harnesses spirit of the sixties

A thunderous V8, a drop-top roof and heated and cooled front seats as standard - there’s a whole lot to love about the new Ford Mustang California special.

With Spring almost upon us, and with a mysterious orange orb glimpsed in the skies - otherwise known as 'the sun' - you might already be dreaming of some summer convertible fun.

And while this is a limited edition, the Mustang California Special could well be the lease car you’re looking for. So here’s everything you need to know.

The California Special actually has some considerable heritage behind it.

It’s a variant first unleashed back in 1968, inspired by the 1967 Shelby GT notchback coupe prototype, and at the time it boasted a blacked-out grille, fog lights and a side racing stripes that ended ahead of new rear side air scoops, as well as a Shelby-inspired spoiler.

With some unique design flourishes of its own, this new version of the California Special is also something of a head-turner.

The 2022 incarnation is available exclusively as a soft-top convertible, and features a honeycomb front grille finished in Ebony Black and featuring a GT/CS badge in Race Red, as well as lower side stripes finished in black, red and grey.

What’s fun about the decals is that the ‘California Special’ script is actually hidden in low light conditions, but suddenly becomes visible when the sun shines on it.

Compared with other Mustang convertibles in the current line-up, the Special gets a larger front splitter and optional rear side air scoops as well as tailor-made five-spoke alloys finished in Carbonised Grey.

Step inside the cabin and you’ll find the aforementioned, uprated seats, swathes of sustainable grey suede, and an instrument panel that’s finished in aluminium with a unique Mustang California Special badge.

Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system brings you all the phone connectivity you could need as well as an 8-inch touch screen.

And standard driver assistance technologies include Adaptive Cruise Control with Pre-Collision Assist and Lane Keeping to provide stress free cruising.

Should you wish to put your foot down, you won’t be disappointed.

The California Special has but one engine choice - the stonking great 5.0-litre Ford V8 that delivers 450 PS and 529 Nm of torque - which is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. That version will accelerate from 0-62 mph in just 4.8 seconds. But if you opt for the 10-speed automatic transmission, that 0-62 mph sprint falls to 4.5 seconds.

Another nice touch is the Mustang’s ‘Good Neighbour’ button, which dials down the exhaust note so that you don’t rattle the Jones’ windows as you belt past.

A limited-slip differential comes as standard and will give you optimum grip when you need it most, and you can also choose the optional ‘MagneRide’ suspension system, which ‘monitors conditions one thousand times per second and uses an electronically-controlled fluid to match damping resistance to the driving scenario’, says Ford.

Matthias Tonn, Mustang chief programme engineer, Ford of Europe, adds: 

“The California Special is a huge part of the Mustang’s legacy in America and it symbolises so much of what Mustang stands for: The joy of driving and the freedom of the open road.
“Those ideals resonate just as strongly with driving enthusiasts in Europe, so it’s about time customers here got to experience the unique California Special blend of style, performance and driving fun.”

A rival to the Jaguar F-Type or the Audi S5 Cabriolet, the Mustang California Special is priced from £52,105.

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Tuesday, 10/05/2022