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2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt Edition First Drive and Review

Nostalgia sells. Remember that movie from 1968 called Bullitt? The one where Frank Bullitt chases the mobsters for 10 minutes and 53 seconds in his 1968 Ford Mustang GT fastback through the streets of San Francisco. Seems us car guys (and gals) can’t get enough of that film. To coincide with the movie’s fiftieth anniversary, Ford has unleashed a new Bullitt for the sixth generation Mustang. This is the third incarnation of the Mustang Bullitt, with previous limited editions hitting the streets in 2001 and again in 2008. We were fortunate to spend a week behind the wheel of the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt Edition. During our time with the car, the question that kept popping up in our mind was if the third time really is the charm. Let’s find out.

A Throwback to the Original

A walkaround of the Bullitt reveals the Dark Highland Green hue harkening back to the original 1968 Mustang GT fastback Steve McQueen drove in the movie. There’s also a black honeycomb grille along with chrome accents around the side windows and grille. Aside from the faux gas cap with the Bullitt logo, the car is devoid of any exterior badging. There’s also no rear spoiler or striping to take away from the retro look. Michelin Pilot Sport 4S 255/40R19 up front and 275/40R19 summer tires out back are mounted on torque thrust style 19-inch aluminum wheels. We can’t be the only ones that think those red-painted Brembo brake calipers stick out like a sore thumb. Highland Green would have been a much better choice. Just our opinion. The Bullitt also comes in Shadow Black, but seriously, why would you want it in any other color than green?

Climb inside and strap yourself in the leather-trimmed ebony seats. They’re quite comfortable and feature 6-way adjustability, power lumbar, and Dark Highland Green accent stitching. The green stitching also carries over to the dash, door panels, and center console. Push the start button and you’re greeted by the 12-inch digital LCD instrument cluster featuring an image of the Bullitt Mustang. The screen is user configurable and features a tachometer that runs the length of the screen. Other standard interior features include a white cue ball shifter and heated leather steering wheel.

We breathed a sigh of relief when we discovered our tester didn’t have the optional Recaro buckets seats. Mustangs we’ve driven in the past with the Recaros just weren’t comfortable. Though they provide plenty of lateral support for hooning on the track, they lacked comfort for everyday driving. However, if you find you just have to have them, they’ll set you back $1,595.

Engine and Drivetrain

Pop the hood and observe the heart of the Bullitt Mustang. A Coyote 5.0-liter V8 with a cross-plane crankshaft that spews 480 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque. The Bullitt gets 20 extra horses over the standard GT courtesy of a higher-flowing intake manifold with 87mm throttle bodies and ECU from the Shelby GT350 and an open air induction system. Just be sure to pump plenty of 93-octane in the tank to get those horsepower numbers. This engine comes mated exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission with active rev matching.

How Does It Perform?

The bump in horsepower and other wizardry Ford did to the Bullitt’s Coyote engine certainly doesn’t go unnoticed. 0 to 60 comes in 4.2 seconds and the Bullitt sprints the quarter mile in 12.9 seconds at 113 mph. Top speed is 163 mph. To truly feel the intensity of the Bullitt, you have to push it close to its 7,400 rpm redline. That’s where its peak power is realized. Gearing is a bit longer than what we expected and you can easily push it to 90 mph in third gear. The six-speed transmission shifts smoothly enough but the throws feel a bit long. And the grunt from the active rev matching sounds pretty intimidating, especially when pulling up to stop signs or red lights.

The Bullitt Mustang is fitted with an active valve performance exhaust. It has several settings, including Quiet, Normal, Sport, and Track. We won’t bore you with the details since the setting names should be self-explanatory. Our favorite was Sport. The neighbors preferred Quiet, especially at 4:30 a.m. when we fired up the Bullitt for our morning commute. If you like burnouts, the Bullitt features Line Lock that will allow you to roast the tires to your heart’s content. Configurable steering modes, combined with the six driving modes and different performance exhaust settings, give the driver a tailorable driving experience The Bullitt also comes nicely packaged with all Mustang GT Premium and Performance Package goodies. Six-piston Brembo brakes provide plenty of stopping power. They are a bit eager at times, but essentially do their job well.

The Extras

Our Bullitt also came equipped with the optional MagneRide system and we couldn’t imagine getting the Bullitt without it. It’s astonishing how comfortable the ride is with this system. Do yourself a favor and just pay the extra $1,695 for it. Our car also came with the Bullitt Electronics Package which includes blind spot detection with cross-traffic alert, premium audio system with 12-speakers and subwoofer, and voice-activated touchscreen navigation.

What Does It Cost?

Starting price for the Bullitt Mustang is $47,690, including destination. MagneRide tacked on an additional $1,695 and the Bullitt Electronics Package added an additional $2,100.

The Verdict

Aside from the GT350, the 2019 Bullitt is the most fun we’ve had driving a Mustang. The Bullitt is a solid performer and we feel is a pretty good bargain considering all the standard equipment Ford built into it. It’s not a gussied-up GT with a green paint job and some pretty wheels this time around. It’s a car Frank Bullitt would be proud to drive. The third time really is the charm. At least that’s the case when it comes to the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt.

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