I couldn't help but feel a bit like Charlie Brown as I climbed into our Mustang GT convertible just in time to see big fat raindrops starting to fall from the sky. The clouds didn't fully clear until I turned in the keys. When you don't have the wind in your face and V-8 growl in your ears, it's hard to see why anyone would pay $38,715 for this car. It shudders over bumps much more than the coupe and, in the wet, was bouncing its tail all over the place.
That's not to say I didn't have fun. The snick-snick shifter, eager V-8, and quick turn-in are all present and accounted for, as is the swell interior. To me though, the incredible value proposition of a Mustang GT starts to fade when you cut off the roof and add lots of wimpy options like leather seating. Of course, I'd probably have an entirely different perspective had the sun been shining...
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
I have a penchant for drop-top Mustangs, but during my weekend with this pony car, I constantly longed for a fixed roof in spite of the sunny skies. I've grown accustomed to the rear end being skittish over expansion joints and large potholes - it's simply the nature of the live-axle beast - but chopping the top induces a considerable amount of cowl shake, forcing the front end to dance more than the coupe's.
Then again, this isn't a track car. If the coupe feels anything like a sport bike, the GT convertible is more along the lines of a Honda Gold Wing - it's best suited at tackling long, open-air cruises, not blitzing through apexes. In spite of the large nineteen-inch wheels, the car feels relatively comfortable (I'd even argue it's a tad soft, as evidenced by a ton of body roll).
Still, as David says, it's hard to imagine paying close to $40 grand for all this, even with the top down. Other cars can provide that same open-topped charm for less money - it's just a pity they usually don't include that delectable V-8 snarl, though...
Evan McCausland, Web Producer
I had a VERY late night run in the GT convertible, after a long week attempting to write. It was about 70 degrees and threatening rain. And dark. And I was aimed for the interstate. But if this was going to be my only crack at this Mustang for a while, I was going to make the most of it. Top down, windows up, heat on, fan on high. Glorious summer evening air blowing my hair around.
This engine is best off the line and at low speed, in terms of the good low-down roar. It sounds superb and throaty. But once you're in fifth at 80 mph, there are no more big blasts of power. That must be one lonnngggg gear.
Hey. How about the sewn-in seat stripes? Really nice touch.
Jean Jennings, President & Editor-in-Chief
Well, my initial impression of the Mustang's convertible top wasn't very good. I hit the little button to retract the top, heard whirring motors, and nothing happened aside from the windows going down. With the visors up, I couldn't see the two latches securing the front corners of the top to the windshield frame, and there was no warning light on the dash to explain why the top wasn't stowing. So long as I kept my finger on the button, those motors were laboring. Finally, I lowered the visors and (barely) saw the black latches against the black top. Once I managed to do my part, the top stowed and the fun began. Of course, an owner would know where the latches are.
It's too bad the Mustang convertible has so much cowl shake from the loss of rigidity and "character" from the live-axle setup. There's absolutely no reward from pushing this car on the roads around Ann Arbor. If you're just looking to go cruising with the top down, I guess it performs well enough, but there's no hiding the fact that this particular platform has been pushed about as far as it can be and that a more modern replacement is needed. Soon.
The Mustang is a lot of fun, but there are several better bets for a $36k+ convertible or roadster.
Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor
The Mustang GT convertible isn't perfect, but it's definitely one of the most fun four-passenger new cars you can buy today for $34K (the bottom base price of a GT convertible), thanks in large part to the ultra-American V-8 exhaust note, with its noticeable but conservatively refined burble. The five-speed manual gearbox has longer throws than in some of the superhot Stangs we've driven recently (i.e. Roush, Saleen), but I still really like it because it seems to suit the character of this convertible perfectly. The awesome shift-knob ball is very comfortable, too, and the shift action is slick, quick, and nicely notchy. The ride is quite good (if a bit soft, as Evan noted), and most owners are unlikely to ever drive the car hard enough to worry about the skittish solid rear axle.
The car looks great, too, not that I had a problem with the pre-face-lift version, although it was certainly due for a change. Inside, I liked the attractive seat upholstery, and I was surprised (and a bit perplexed) to find a rearview camera in a Mustang. The bright illumination of the tachometer when you reach redline is helpful and kind of cool, too. Adding to the car's practicality, the trunk is quite big for a convertible, unlike those in most retractable hard tops.
Speaking of the Mustang's top, I had the same problem as Phil, exercising the motors without releasing the hidden dual top latches. That's a mistake owners will make only once, but more annoying is the lack of an audible tone or an instrument-panel notice to let you know the top is fully closed or opened. I can't think of any other convertibles with power tops that don't offer some sort of feedback to let you know when the roof is safely secured and you can stop pushing the button and start driving.
As my colleagues have noted, the Mustang's cowl shake is definitely apparent, but this is a pretty long convertible, so I don't think we should fault Ford too much for that. Another personal quibble I have with this car is that the windshield header is quite far back for my liking; I prefer convertibles that allow a hearty view of open sky above my forehead.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
2010 Ford Mustang GT Premium convertible
Base price (with destination): $36,845
Price as tested: $38,715
Rapid spec 401a $395
-Premier trim with color accent
Security package $395
-Active anti-theft system
-Wheel lock kit
19" premium painted wheel $695
Rear video camera $385
16 / 24 / 19 mpg
Size: 4.6L V-8
Horsepower: 315 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 325 lb-ft @ 4250 rpm
Weight: 3657 lbs
19-in aluminum wheels
245/45R19 Pirelli PZero Nero all-season tires