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An orange 2020 Ford Mustang is doing a burnout after leaving a Ford dealership.

The Modern Age of American Muscle in the 2020 Ford Mustang

There once was a time where the Ford Mustang was synonymous with serious muscle and power. This was back in a time when V6 engines reigned supreme, and gas prices were far lower than what they are today. Some would call this the golden age of muscle cars, where cylinders weren’t being watered down, and cars like the Ford Mustang were unapologetically powerful. Somewhere along the line, that’s changed, as automakers have steadily down-powered their line of muscle cars, opting for fuel efficiency over horsepower. Ford is the biggest factor in this shift from performance to fuel economy, as just this year, they unveiled a potential all-electric Ford Mustang completely unrecognizable from the muscle car of yesteryear. Now an all-electric SUV, this new Ford Mustang is certain to be fast; however, we can guarantee that it’ll be very different from even the 2020 model. Today, in Ford dealerships across the country, you’ll find the 2020 Ford Mustang, a vehicle that straddles the line between muscle car and sporty sedan.

Adapting to Changing Tides

The Ford Mustang has been around for as far back as the 1960s, breaking out into the auto-world as an affordable muscle car that lent a lot of room for customization and upgrades. Today, things are relatively the same; the 2020 Ford Mustang is still plenty affordable with base models going for as low as $26,670 MSRP. That said, many Mustang traditionalists have given the latest model a lot of flak, and in some ways, we can see why.

Before we get to the nitty-gritty, we should point out that the 2020 Ford Mustang leaves just as much room for personalization as previous iterations, with a shocking 11 different trim levels to choose from. The trim spread of the Ford Mustang is no joke, ranging from sleepy sports sedans to all-out racetrack worthy vehicles that won’t hesitate when putting to the test. Visit a few Ford dealerships and you’ll likely get the chance to check out all 11 trim options which include the Fastback, Premium Fastback, EcoBoost Convertible, GT Fastback, EcoBoost Premium Convertible, GT Premium Convertible, GT Premium Fastback, BULLITT, Shelby GT350, Shelby GT350R, and Shelby GT500. While some of these trim models may be harder to come by than others (and pricier), we have to give Ford props for continuing to offer nearly the same level of configurations that were available in the models of old.

The headlight of a green 2020 Ford Mustang BULLITT is shown in close up.

Smaller But Still Strong

Don’t listen to what the critics say, the Ford Mustang is pretty powerful, even right off of the gate. Even though you won’t find a powerful V6 available in the base model, the turbo-4 that’s offered is still plenty robust in its own right. The 2020 Ford Mustang starts off with a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that presents a tremendous 310 horsepower and 350 lb-ft worth of torque. This baseline engine can leap from 0-60 in as little as 6 seconds, which is a lot, even for a standard model sports car.

Speaking of purists, there ought to be plenty to love about the Ford Mustang if traditional muscle is what you’re after. There is no V6 engines in the Ford Mustang lineup, as Ford has decided instead to jump right up to V8 engines instead. Vehicles like the Mustang GT Convertible, utilize a 5.0-liter V8 engine that is responsible for 460 horsepower and 420 lb-ft worth of torque. Like lower-trim specs, you’ll get the option of the 6-speed manual transmission or the 10-speed automatic, however, the Mustang GT Convertible sports much more oomph behind it.

And if you’re after a race-worthy Ford Mustang, you’ll find it in the Shelby GT350. In this top-ranking Ford Mustang, you’ll find a driving experience worthy of the vintage models that Mustang fanatics praise so much. In this model, you’ll find a 5.2-liter V8 engine that roars off of the starting line at a rate of 526 horsepower and 429 lb-ft worth of torque. That’s a lot of power to be put in charge of, and with a 6-speed manual transmission, the Shelby GT350 isn’t for the faint of heart or casual muscle car fans.

That heart-stopping power doesn’t end there. At the heart of the Shelby GT500 you’ll find a showstopping 5.2-liter supercharged V8 engine that can get up to 760 horsepower and 625 lb-ft of torque. This engine is paired with a 7-speed TREMEC dual-clutch transmission. With this engine, this vehicle can go from 0-60 MPH in only 3.3 seconds.

So, what do we think of the performance of the 2020 Ford Mustang? Well, it’s no high-end sports car, but then again, the Ford Mustang never attempted to appeal to that audience. Instead, the Ford Mustang has always been the sports car for the layperson, with options for higher performance, but an appeal that has always chosen to be inclusive rather than exclusive.

A red 2020 Ford Mustang GT500 is in front of a blue one and a silver one in the desert.

Staying Up with the Times

An issue that some sports cars have is that all of their build focus is on the performance and the engine. While this may be good enough for some drivers, this can be frustrating for others who want a more well-rounded package. Fortunately, the 2020 Ford Mustang breaks the mold in this regard. Sure, the base model is rather sparse, with only the bare minimum in terms of tech. You will get a 4.2-inch center infotainment screen, a wi-fi hotspot, and the option of Bluetooth connectivity, but that’s about it. Fortunately, it doesn’t cost a whole lot to get a more premium driving experience. Step up to the Premium package, and you’ll find an interior dressed up with features like keyless ignition, dual-zone climate control, an 8.0-inch touchscreen that is integrated Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a 1,000-watt audio system, designed by B&O. That is far from the end for the Ford Mustang, too, as higher up in the trims, you’ll get a serious performance package including things like race-worthy tires, magnetic dampers, and an even an instrument panel made of carbon-fiber.

Now, you may be asking: ‘Sure, there is plenty of fun technology inside the Ford Mustang, but what about safety?’ Well, while we’d like to say that the safety package of the Ford Mustang is pretty well-rounded, you’ll have to pay a fair amount extra to check it out. That said, in the realm of sports cars, the Ford Mustang is an outlier in a space where other competitors barely provide the bare minimum in active safety features.

What We Think About the 2020 Ford Mustang

So, what’s the verdict? Well, the 2020 Ford Mustang is certainly a far departure from models of the past. Where other previous iterations utilized a V6 in base models, the modern model utilizes a highly optimized four-cylinder that provides nearly the same kind of heart-pounding muscle that drivers have come to expect. So, if you were to ask one of us, we’d tell you not to listen to the harsh critics. The 2020 Ford Mustang may be very different than the muscle cars of old, and that is hardly a problem in our book.