Arguably one of the most iconic Mustang of all time, the Bullitt returns into showrooms five decades after the original car helped make the best chase seen in movie history. It was 1968 when Steve McQueen drove a Mustang GT390 Fastback like there was no tomorrow on the streets of San Francisco in the "Bullitt" movie, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in October 2018. To mark the event, Ford prepared a new iteration of the Mustang Bullitt for the first time since 2009. The car was unveiled at the 2018 Detroit Motor Show alongside the original version, and it’s the most menacing Bullitt ever made.
Set to go on sale in the summer of 2018, the new Mustang Bullitt walks in the footsteps of its predecessors. It’s based on the Mustang GT, it features a host of unique features inside and out, and it has a subtle appearance. But under the skin, the Bullitt packs a bit more oomph than the GT and delivers better performance. If Steve McQueen was still around, I’m sure he would’ve taken one home and maybe even use it for a sequel to the iconic movie. But unfortunately Steve is no more, so we’ll have to settle for the cool, Bullitt-inspired commercial Ford made for the car. Check it out below.
Continue reading to learn more about the Ford Mustang Bullitt.
- Includes all 2018 Mustang updates
- Iconic Dark Highland Green color
- Exclusive grille design
- 19-inch Torque Thrust wheels
- Black exhaust pipes
- Red brake calipers
- Faux gas cap on rear fascia
"The new Bullitt benefits from all the new design features of the mid-cycle facelift Mustang"
Based on the recently unveiled 2018 Mustang, the Bullitt benefits from all the new design features of the mid-cycle facelift pony car. Highlights include redesigned headlamps with LED, reshaped front grille, new diffuser, and revised taillights. In addition to the above, the Bullitt gets its own unique features, most of them based on the styling cues of the original movie car.
Up front, we can see a new grille design with a honeycomb-pattern, black mesh. There’s no pony logo, but Ford added subtle chrome accents on the upper frame. Onto the sides, we can see the usual Torque Thrust wheels, also based on the original car and seen on previous iterations of the Bullitt. On this car, they measure 19 inches and are made from aluminum. Behind them, red-painted Brembo brake calipers add a dash of color.
Around back, the Bullitt gets the revised diffuser that comes with Premium Package, which is standard on this special edition, a circular faux gas cap with the Bullitt logo on the rear fascia, and new Black NitroPlate exhaust tips. Speaking of colors, the new Bullitt can be ordered in just two exterior paints. There’s Dark Highland Green, a modern, metallic version of the original movie car’s shade, and Shadow Black.
- Standard Premium Package
- Leather upholstery
- Premium display
- Upgraded audio system
- Navigation and cruise control
- Green accent stitching
- White cue ball shift knob
- Custom start up screen
- Optional Recaro seats
"The interior is pretty much standard GT spec with additional standard features and a few unique bits"
The interior is pretty much standard GT spec with additional standard features and a few unique bits. The vehicle is equipped with the Premium Package as standard, which adds leather upholstery, the bigger display for the infotainment system, ambient lighting, aluminum pedals, satin brush aluminum on the center stack, an upgraded sound system, navigation, adaptive cruise control, and rain-sensing wipers.
Ford also offers a heated, leather steering wheel as standard, alongside the 12-inch, all-digital instrument cluster from the facelifted, 2018 Mustang. Bullitt-specific features include green accent stitching on the dashboard, door panels, center console, and seats, and a white cue ball shift knob as a nod to the original car. The infotainment system has a unique start screen in green with an image of the car rather than the pony.
The options list includes a set of leather-trimmed Recaro seats and the Bullitt Electronics Package. The latter includes driver memory seats and mirrors and Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert that can alert customers of vehicles detected in difficult-to-see places, among other features.
- Upgraded 5.0-liter V-8
- At least 475 horsepower
- Manual transmission
- Active valve system
- Retuned exhaust
- Open air indusction
- Shelby GT350 intake manifold
- Performance Package features
- Optional MagneRide suspension
"The naturally aspirated V-8 gained a few revised internals for enhanced performance"
Just like its predecessors, the new Bullitt gets its juice from an updated version of the GT’s 5.0-liter V-8. The naturally aspirated unit gained a few revised internals for enhanced performance and remains exclusive to this special edition. Final output figures have yet to be announced, but Ford did say that the engine cranks out "at least" 475 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. That’s 15 extra horses compared to the standard GT, while torque is identical, but expect the final spec sheet to include a bit more pound-feet as well.
The V-8 mates to a manual transmission only, with no option for an automatic. Ford also added an active valve performance system, while the exhaust was retuned to give the engine a signature burble. Other upgrades include an Open Air Induction system, intake manifold with 87mm throttle bodies from the Shelby GT350, and a recalibrated powertrain control module.
"Upgrades include an Open Air Induction system and intake manifold from the Shelby GT350"
More updates come from the Performance Package, which is standard on this model. The bundle adds update springs, bushings, shocks, and a rear sway bar. It also includes an upgraded strut tower brace, bigger brakes, updated rear gear ratio, and a Torsen differential.
Optionally, the Mustang Bullitt can be equipped with the MagneRide semi-active suspension system for optimized driving performance.
For has yet to release performance figures, but the Bullitt could be a tenth-second quicker than the Mustang GT with the manual transmission thanks to the extra oomph. Top speed for this model is rated at 163 mph, an eight mph increase over the Mustang GT.
Pricing information is not yet available, but it’s safe to assume that the Bullitt will cost more than the Mustang GT Premium. The latter retails from $39,095, so look for the Bullitt to cost at least $45,000 before options.
The Mustang GT’s most important competitor right now is the Chevrolet Camaro SS. But unlike the Mustang, the Camaro doesn’t have an iconic movie to brag about. At least not as famous as the Bullitt model. Sure, there’s the Camaro Bumblebee from Transformers, but Chevrolet has yet to turn it into a production model. The regular Camaro SS isn’t a bad option though .It’s styling is decidedly aggressive and modern, while the interior comes with plenty of premium features and can be customized in numerous ways. Output is solid too, with the 6.2-liter V-8 rated at 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. That’s at least 20 horses below the Bullitt, but the Camaro SS benefits from notably more torque. And if you’re not a fan of manual transmissions, you can have the SS with an eight-speed automatic too. Pricing for the SS starts from $37,900, but the better equipped 2SS trim comes in at $42,900 before options.
Read our full review of the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro.
Yes, the Dodge Challenger is very long in the tooth and its rather big and heavy for a modern pony car, but the nameplate is a traditional competitor for the Mustang and it can’t be ignored. Its design is still appealing if you like massive-looking muscle cars, and while the interior isn’t as fancy, the Challenger is a solid option when it comes to performance. Granted, the 5.7-liter V-8 isn’t as exciting with just 375 horsepower and 410 pound-feet at its disposal, but the 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 trumps the Bullitt’s 5.0-liter with a whopping 485 horses and 475 pound-effect. It significantly slower from 0 to 60 mph (4.4 seconds) due to the heavier curb weight, but top speed is superior to the Bullitt at 182 mph. But it’s more affordable, with the least expensive model using the 6.4-liter Hemi, the R/T Scat Pack, costing $39,995. You can get the same drivetrain in the 392 Scat Pack Shaker and T/A 392 at $42,795 and $44,995, respectively.
Read our full story of the 2017 Dodge Challenger.
Mustang Bullit Timeline
- Original car built in 1968
- Revived in 2001
- Previous model launched in 2008
- All modern cars have similar updates
"It was only in 2001 that FoMoCo built the first special-edition Bullitt model"
While the original Bullitt became famous in 1968, Ford didn’t do much to benefit from all the hype production-wise. It was only in 2001 that FoMoCo built the first special-edition Bullitt model for the fourth-generation pony car. Developed in partnership with Warner Bros, it featured a large hood scoop, new side scoops, revised lower body moldings, and a unique rear side window shape. Ford also deleted the spoiler and the foglamps for a cleaner look closer to the original car. Aluminum pedals and shifter and vintage-looking upholstery rounded off the interior.
Under the hood, the GT’s V-8 received a new intake, high-flow mufflers, and special underdrive pulleys that helped increase power to 265 horsepower. The torque curve was also improved, helping the Bullitt cover the quarter mile in almost three tenths quicker than the regular GT. New suspension features improved handling, while the Mustang Cobra brakes and Goodyear performance tires provided better stopping power. Available in Dark Highland Green, True Blue, and Black only, the first Bullitt was a 2001-model-year car only, with production ended after 5,582 units.
"The Bullitt name was revived in 2008, during the production cycle of the fifth-generation Mustang"
The Bullitt name was revived in 2008, during the production cycle of the fifth-generation Mustang. Exterior features were similar to the first version, unique wheels and grille, and decklid spoiler and badge delete. Inside, Ford added bespoke door sills, gauges, and steering wheel cap, an aluminum dash panel, aluminum shift knob and pedals, and GT500-inspired front seats and steering wheel.
Drivetrain-wise, the second Bullitt featured an open-element air filter, a unique exhaust that mimics the sound of Steve McQueen’s car and big, 3.5-inch tips. The V-8 was tweaked to deliver 315 horsepower (an extra 15 horses compared to the GT), while the Tremec five-speed manual got a 3.73:1 ratio. These updates dropped 0-to-60 mph times to 4.9 seconds from the GT’s 5.2 ticks. Unlike it’s predecessor, this Bullitt model remained in production for two model years, until 2009.
Granted, the Mustang Bullitt is far from being as spectacular as the GT350 or the upcoming GT500 in terms of features and performance, but I’m happy to see it return into dealerships as a special edition model. It may not have the outrageous output of a supercharged GT500, but it comes with all the heritage in the world and a design that matches the GT390 that Steve McQueen himself drove back in the late 1960s. Original Bullitt Mustangs are hard to get since Ford made only a couple of them, so fans have to settle for newer models. The ones based on the fourth- and fifth-generation Mustangs are also cool, but this new iteration not only looks better, but performs better as well. Welcome back, Mr. Cool!
- * Inspired by original car
- * Unique features inside and out
- * Upgraded drivetrain
- * Only two exterior colors
- * Not exactly affordable
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Read our full review on the 2008 Ford Mustang Bullitt.
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