On the list of most noteworthy Mustangs of all time, the Bullitt surely occupies a spot near the top. Never one to miss out on an opportunity, Ford has twice capitalized on that, with limited edition runs. Well, that original Bullitt is still making headlines and attracting crowds, so Ford is back for a 3rd time. And believe me, this one is a real charmer!
Not surprisingly, as number three in a series, the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt follows the same basic formula as the 2001 and 2008 editions. That is, emulating that 1968 Mustang GT Fastback that Lt. Frank Bullitt used to chase evildoers around San Francisco with, in the 1968 movie Bullitt.
Covered in Dark Highland Green of course, though you can also opt for Shadow Black, but why would you? Well, maybe because it’s probably the rarer black ones that will be more collectible in the future. Just a pro tip from your friends at MotorWeek.
A few added horsepower has always been part of the Bullitt formula; so thanks to a larger throttle body, the Shelby GT350’s intake manifold, and a software update, you get 480-horsepower, up 20 from a standard GT 5.0-liter V8, fresh off of upgrades it received just last year. Torque output remains at 420 lb-ft.
Completing the transformation, is a Bullitt-themed simulated gas cap on the trunk lid, above quad exhaust tips with unique sound. Wheels are inspired by the Torq Thrust mags of the original, in front of red brake calipers. Add the GT Performance Package, and of course a cue ball shifter for the 6-speed manual trans, and there you have it, a totally updated Mustang Bullitt.
Gauges are the 12-inch LCD cluster with a big tach running the full width of top; you know, just like speedometers did back in the day.
But, since the Bullitt is essentially a GT Premium with the Performance Package, and a few extra horses, how different can it really be? Well, let’s hit the track and find out.
Our track of choice is, of course, Roebling Road Raceway near Savannah, Georgia.
The Bullitt is manual transmission only, and we love its cue ball shifter, but the clutch is still a little on the soft side. And working them both got a lot easier; as for ’19, all Mustang GTs get rev matching.
And it worked great around Roebling’s 9 high-speed turns. The GT is truly a nicely competent performer, with its Brembo brakes a real highlight.
It turns in quickly, even with a fair amount of body roll, and there’s an overall softness to the chassis that keeps it from being a true track star; but plenty enough performance to have some real twisty fun.
Power numbers may seem small compared to the Demons of this day; but on track, it feels like the power goes on for days. Delivery is smooth and steady, with a nice mid-range punch; and everyone comments on just how loud it can get with the active exhaust in Sport or Race modes.
Cold temps and a damp track didn’t help us channel those additional 20-ponies to the pavement; our best 0-60 run was 4.7-seconds. But here one year ago under much better conditions, we consistently ripped off 4.5s in a Mustang GT.
Likewise, our ¼-mile was about half a second off at 12.9 and 113 miles-per-hour.
Away from the track, our Mustang Bullitt continued to shine. Seat comfort was quite good, with the best visibility in the muscle car class. It’s a powerful but well-balanced machine, that’s not too hyper for relaxed cruising. The look may be classic, but it’s modern-car drivable.
Quiet mode allows you to bring this beast to life without annoying the neighbors, and there’s no harsh ride penalty to be paid here.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 15-City, 24-Highway, and 18-Combined. We averaged a great 25.0 miles-per-gallon on the drive down from Maryland.
We think pricing is right on target at $47,690; only about a grand over what you’d pay for a GT Premium with the Performance Package.
You can’t point to any one thing that makes this 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt so incredibly desirable. But, it is. A somewhat magical package that delivers a little more performance and sinister looks, along with a healthy dose of “King of Cool” nostalgia. It just feels so right, with every part and spec inline with all the others. So, even if you’ve never seen Bullitt, or God forbid, don’t remember Steve McQueen, this is one Bullitt that everyone should be willing to take.
Engine: 5.0 liter
Torque: 420 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 4.7 seconds
1/4 mile: 12.9 seconds @ 113 mph
EPA: 15 mpg city / 24 mpg highway