The Mustang GT Performance Package Level 2 is Truly a Sensational Driver's Car
For the 54th year of Mustangs, we had gotten a new refresh. Featuring an entirely new front bumper, as well as subtle cues, such as the arches in the rear tail lights. The Mustang now has 460 hp. Which is astonishing. The GT can run low 12s in the quarter mile… It’s faster than ever. As time continues to move forward, we are greeted with many new technological advances. For example, the heavily engineered 10-speed automatic for the Mustang. There’s always been that select crowd. A crowd that’s eager for something raw, balanced, and driver oriented. That’s where the Performance Pack 2 comes in.
In September of 2018, Ford unveiled a new package for the refreshed Mustang. The newly enhanced version of the Mustang GT has earned the name Level 2. A self-explanatory variant that represents what Ford can do by simply, bringing it up a notch.
It was the start of a new month. The 2018 Mustang GT Performance Package Level 2 was in my possession for the next week, and my plans were monumental. Let the adventure begin...
During this venture, I planned to drive the Mustang GT PP2 three-hundred miles to the very scenic Valley of Fire. This drive would focus on the amenities, pleasures, and the confidence given to the commuter. The first leg of the journey began, featuring the treacherous drive through the heart of Southern California.
The first impression you get while driving the Mustang is that of sheer confidence. The visibility is a solid 10/10. Front, back, shoulder-to-shoulder, it is absolutely brilliant! The Mustang's interior surrounds the driver with a perfect panoramic view. I felt as if I knew the exact dimensions of the car, allowing me to slip between other vehicles and drive with complete control. The Mustangs have class-leading visibility, which results in a confidence filled drive!
Ford has substantially improved the interior design of their mid-tier Mustangs. With a price of around $50,000, the finish is certainly appropriate. Chrome accents engulf you, and aviator features remind you of the legendary P-51 Mustang. The steering wheel provides comfortable 10-2 notches, and a pleasantly thick build. The most powerful feature that struck my fascination was the beautiful LCD gauge cluster. This screen allows the driver to completely customize what it displays, quite similar to changing your phones wallpaper. You can choose between normal drive mode (which showcases your typical gauge cluster layout), sport mode (more rpm focused), and track mode (my favorite). Track mode is developed to maintain minimal feedback. The driver is greeted with complete focus on the rpm, leading to the absence of most distractions.
My test vehicle was equipped with the optional Recaro bucket seats. One thing I will point out, is that the support provided is no where near the level of the GT350's. These sport seats feel like they were designed for a daily driver. They are built to last, are comfortable, and are easy to use. The Mustang GT PP2 is a function built vehicle. It promotes a fast mindset. The interior build quality feels like a proper budget sports car.
Myth or Reality?
Can you use the rear seats of a modern Mustang? I challenged myself to sit in the back seat of the PP2 for around 100 miles. Yeah! I did! Safe to say, I did not fit. Being an averaged sized adult, I cannot sit all the way up. Above me was a plastic/cloth hump. It differentiates the edge of the roof, and rear window. It bulges down, forcing me to hunch my back. I didn’t find the leg room to be an issue. The rear of the Recaro seats are designed to concave, which works decently. You CAN, and I repeat, CAN, go on a road trip with more than two people in this car. Make sure the person sitting in the back does not mind contorting their body. For the sake of argument, I had someone who was 5’3 attempt to sit in the back seat. It worked. They said the rear seats were actually pretty comfortable. Another person said they felt claustrophobic. So, to each their own. The back seats of the Mustang, are not it's strongpoint. Just be thankful it still has them.
Let’s start off with the driveability. Beginning with the clutch… It is very pleasing. Depressing it, reflects a sense of control. The engagement point is also, memorable. After a single drive, I believe anyone can use this manual with ease. Driving the shift knob into gear gives a vibe of accomplishment. The PP2 is a driving experience that consists of a manual only, the benefit is that you the DRIVER, are always engaged.
The ride was smooth, the Recaros felt great, and the steering didn’t make me feel like it was too much work. Others have stated this car battles the road with severe tramlining. Take it from me, someone who drives a GT350R, the PP2 is not a handful. It may catch a groove, but it’ll keep straight with ease.
During my road trip, the Mustang averaged around 20 mpg, which is about 6 more than my Ford Shelby GT350R. As long you keep cruise control enabled when traveling long distances, you should have no problem.
"What can I say about this $50,000 Ford Mustang GT? It rocks!"
You will probably never be able to reach the limits of this very capable machine on the streets. The car runs on Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires on all fours, which prove to be excellent. This GT, uses the same tires that are found on the front wheels of my GT350R.
The PP2 wears an all new double front splitter (inspired by that of the FP350s). One that extends further than the Shelby GT350. The car slides through the wind with an all-new efficient rear spoiler. For a combined total of 60lbs of downforce at 80mph.
The level 2 uses 15 inch rotors, and six piston brembo calipers in the front. Four piston calipers in the back. The biggest change, is that of the wheel and tire combo. 19x10.5 10 spoke aluminum wheels in the front, and 19x11s in the rear. Accompanied by 305 Michelin Cup 2 tires square. THAT IS A SERIOUS PAIR OF SHOES! Thanks to lower profile tires, the car rides .5 an inch lower than your standard Performance Package GT.
Coming to the suspension tweaks… MagneRide is now standard! Which is great! Coils up front have been stiffened by 13 percent and the anti roll bars resist 17 percent more twist. In the rear, the coils are tuned to be 20 percent more stiff, and the anti roll bars are 67 percent more resistant. The car also features a new underbody K-brace, strut tower brace, and a front subframe brace.
- 305/30R19 Michelin Sport Cup 2 tires square
- 19 x 10.5-inch front wheels, 19 x 11-inch rear forged aluminum wheels
- 6-Speed Manual
- Special MagneRide tuning
- 20 percent stiffer springs in front, 13 percent stiffer springs in rear
- Larger front splitter, smaller rear wing
The manual transmission brings a lot of faults. The shift is a bit clunky. The clutch is light, but the transition between gears is sub-par. The Tremec transmission found within the GT350 is a game changer. The current MT-82 found within all other standard Mustangs, are not confidence inspiring. The shift is slow, and the forks are prone to snapping. My advice would be to drive hard with caution. The build is not as durable as the GT350's Tremec.
Is It Worth The Premium?
The Mustang GT PP2 is essentially a thoroughly put together Mustang GT. It feels solid, agile, and balanced. Smashing the brake pedal, the car stops on a dime. It is not GT350 level of stopping power, but these Brembos are certainly close. The level of g-forces that the car can pull reminds you how well the chassis is composed. The MagneRide dampening system is now much more finely tuned. Comparing it to the normal GT PP1 MagneRide, you can easily tell that this is the "R" variant of the Mustang GTs. Considering the amount of money it would take to replicate the Level 2 package in the aftermarket scene, it is by far a bargain. It is much cheaper to buy this car from Ford. If handling is a priority for you, I would suggest this package. If you are a track enthusiast and have a bigger budget, I would suggest the GT350. As good as this car is on the road, it is still on a tier below the GT350. The PP2 is designed to be the ultimate variant of the Mustang GT, a street focused sports car with exhilarating driver control. In that context, it is truly sensational.
The all-new 2018 Ford Mustang GT Performance Package Level 2 is designed for those of you who desire to live on the edge. This is a car built to be fast, and compromised. The PP2 is meant to be driven everyday. It is a solid drivers car. The second you enter the vehicle and start it up, you'll instantly have a smile on your face.
- Package cost $6500
- $1500 more than PP1
- $800 more than a PP1 with MagneRde
- Spec’d out, the MSRP is more than the 2016 Shelby GT350 Base Model ($49,000)
- The cheapest you can get the Mustang GT PP2 is $44,600
- With all options, the car is $6,000 cheaper than a 2018 GT350
- 2018 GT350 MSRP $58,000
- Testing at Grattan raceway in Michigan, the PP2 was 3.5 seconds faster around the track than the PP1
- 6.5 seconds quicker than a base Mustang GT
- 460 Horsepower, 420 lb-ft of torque
- 0-60 3.9s
- Weight - 3700+ lb
- New front splitter - provides up to 24lbs of downforce at 80mph
- Reworked rear spoiler adds to a total of 60 lbs of downforce at 80mph
- MagneRide (standard)
- Unique chassis tuning
- Stiffened sport pack springs
- Front coils - 13 percent stiffer
- Rear coils - 20 percent stiffer
- Anti-roll bars resist 17 percent more twist in the front, and 67 percent in the rear
- .5 inch lower thanks to lower profile tires, and suspension tweaks
- Improved electric steering feel
- All new ABS, and stability control tuning
- Underbody K-brace
- Strut-tower brace
- Front subframe brace
- Bigger! (Compared to the PP1s 14 inch rotors)
- 15 inch front rotors with Brembo six-piston calipers
- PP2 19x10.5 front 19x11 rear 10-spoke Aluminum Wheels
- Wheels are 1.5 inches wider than PP1
- Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s 305/30/19 square
- PP1 19x9 front 19x9.5 rear
- PP1 - Michelin Pilot Sport 4s tires 255/40/19 frt 275/40/19
- Torsen limited-slip differential
- 3.73 gears
- 6-Speed Manual MT-82