The Shaker audio systems are upgraded; eight speakers for the optional Shaker system and nine for the Shaker Pro.

We drove a GT version with manual transmission and the fetching California Special appearance package (a $2,000 option) on urban roads and along twisting two-lane mountain highways in mainly wet conditions.

First Drive: 2013 Ford Mustang reviews ford first drives
2013 Ford Mustang. Click image to enlarge

Although our car lacked the Recaro seats, its leather-upholstered front buckets were comfortable and supportive. For a car of this size, Mustang’s interior remains cosy; without the storage options typically found in a vehicle of more modern design. Put a medium coffee cup in the centre-console cup holder, for instance, and your elbow will connect with it every time you shift.

This is a sports car, however, and the Mustang’s claim to fame is high performance at relatively low cost. True to form, you won’t find any other car making 420 horsepower for under $40,000, but more importantly you won’t find one as light as the Mustang. In GT Coupe form it weighs in at a svelte 1,638 kilograms, versus the Chevrolet Camaro’s 1,770 kg and Dodge Challenger’s 1,852 kg.

The suspension is beautifully tuned in this car; the shifter a delight to use, the clutch not too heavy, the steering pleasingly weighted and precise. The Mustang GT is no brute, although its acceleration off the line (well, from any speed, really) is definitely brutal. This thing just hauls big-time, with a roar from its exhaust broadcasting just what you’ve got. It’s not for the faint of ego.

First Drive: 2013 Ford Mustang reviews ford first drives
2013 Ford Mustang. Click image to enlarge

Frankly, one wonders what more they could do to this version of the Mustang. It’s just about at the epitome of its development — maybe a few more horsepower could be added for bragging rights if need be — but really, without doing some serious re-engineering, you’ve got this car in stock form just about at its best.

The “SelectShift” automatic is one thing that could be improved, as it’s something of an interim measure. Shift to “S” and you can select gears via a button on the shifter. A proper paddle shift set-up would be preferred, but for that you’d need a different transmission, and building that into the current Mustang would require significant redesign and expense.

Given that we’ll see an all-new Mustang for 2015, it’s not going to happen. Neither is the introduction of a telescoping steering column. These things and more will be addressed, but not now.

For the time being the owners of a 2013 Mustang GT can relish the thought that they’re driving likely the best-sorted Mustang GT ever. It’s a thrilling, refined ride; powerful, stable, with awesome driving dynamics.

Connect with Autos.ca