If you’re over 50 years old, you may remember the movie “Bullitt” that debuted in theaters Oct. 17, 1968. Starring Steve McQueen, this iconic movie became famous for McQueen’s chase scene over San Francisco streets in a 1968, green Mustang GT Fastback. In some scenes the Mustang had several jumps as he sped up over some steep San Fran hills. It (actually there were two identical cars used) was obviously equipped with a special suspension to take the severe punishment.
In celebrating 50 years of this famous Mustang, Ford re-introduced it as a special edition Bullitt sporting the same Highland Green paint job (also offered in black) of the original McQueen car.
In this its 6th generation Mustang, the new Bullitt is based on the Mustang GT that sports a 5.0-liter Coyote V8 putting out 460-hp and 420 lb/ft of torque. It differs slightly from the GT in that is uses the same intake manifold as the potent Shelby GT350 Mustang, and has a recalibrated engine computer.
Bullitt’s powerful engine is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission (no automatic) just like McQueens’ car, and the shifter is topped with a white (famed) Hurst shifter ball. The combo earned estimated fuel economy ratings of 18 city, 24-highway mpg and was independently timed at 4.4 seconds in a 0-60 sprint.
So powered, there’s certainly no want for power as the Bullitt offers push-you-back-in-the-seat G’s under full throttle runs. At the same time, and in concert with its NitroPlate exhaust tips, you’ll be entertained with the burble, pop-pop sounds emanating from the tips that’s guaranteed to give goose bumps. The exhaust tone is also adjustable for Track, Sport, Normal and Quiet, but who wants the latter?
On the vertical stack, and at the very top part of the dash, there sits two analog gauges for oil and vac pressure, just like the original Bullitt. The stack itself houses an 8-inch touchscreen (McQueen didn’t have one of those) with the usual gamut of apps, rearview camera and audio. The stack has easy to operate HVAC controls and includes an array of aluminum toggle switches one of which selects driving modes of Normal Sport, Sport Plus, Track, Drag Strip and Snow/Wet conditions.
In Track mode, and when downshifting from second to first gear and upon rolling to a stop, the engine automatically gooses itself for a few more titillating burbles and pops.
To regress a bit, and in Drag Strip mode, the tach can display the array of timing lights, selectable shift points, shift tone, shift light mode and the gear the trans is in. Race track apps can also be displayed and employed.
Bullitt’s leather front seats are exceptionally supportive and hug the torso every so nicely (Recaro’s are optionally available). The rear seats, however, have scant leg room and only suitable for two youngsters or the family pooch.
Back in the trunk area and with the rear seatbacks upright, there’s 14 cubic feet of space. That increases upon flipping the rear seatbacks (the original Bullitt didn’t have these as well) when two golf bags can be carried with room to spare.
As for handling, Ford engineers performed some magic with a robust suspension that includes a stiffer anti-roll bar, limited slip rear and grippy Michelin Pilot Sport rear tires that are 275/40R-19’s, while the fronts are 255/40R-19s, all of which attribute to maintaining an even keel.
In previous Mustang 5.0s and a Shelby tested some time ago, and with so much power under the hood, the back end of those earlier models would readily come around under full, even half throttle punches. Not so with the 3,870-pound Bullitt.
Despite these sport-tuned underpinnings, short rear overhang and with Ford’s Magna-Ride Damping System, the Bullitt had a taut but comfortable, non-punishing ride with no body lean in sharp turns taken at speed. It remains planted. And it easily does duty as a sensible, everyday ride.
By the way, big (famed) Brembo brakes with 15-inch rotors help this pony stop with ease.
As the test car was a “not for sale” pre-production model with an MP number of 002, and no sticker price, the MSRP at local dealers range from $47,590 to $55,080 depending on options. On the test car, options included a Bullitt Electronic Package, Blind Spot/Cross Traffic Alert, premium audio with 12 speakers, voice activated touch screen with navigation system and Magna-Ride Damping System. Added to that are a long list of standard safety items and features.
Of utmost importance, is that Bullitt received the governments top 5-star safety ratings of five for an overall score, five for driver/passenger frontal crash, five for front/rear seat side crash and five for rollover. Those are very impressive scores for a high-performance sports coupe and ones not all cars achieve.
Bullitt also comes with a 3-year, 36,000 bumper-bumper; 5/60K powertrain; and 5/60K roadside assist warranties.
If you can find a 2019 Bullitt for sale, grab it as it will likely become a collectable.