Paul’s Audi R8, Curt’s AMG G63, Mandy’s Porsche 911 GT3…I knew many of the team would succumb to temptation of machinery worth north of $250K. Given that I didn’t want to leave Mike or James, with their Santa Fe and Corolla, to represent the men of the people alone, I opted for the 2018 Ford Mustang GT – in my preferred automatic form – to help keep the modest end of the field honest.

Perhaps that’s a little uncharitable. I’ve been a fan of the Mustang breed ever since I first drove our canary yellow long-termer back in 2016, a car I was guilty of snagging as often as I could and one that would plaster a smile on my dial every single time I drove it.

But the extra fairy dust Ford has sprinkled throughout into this new 2018 update – fitter V8, 10-speed auto, adaptive suspension, ‘fixed’ exhaust, just for a start – took an already great thing and upped the grin factor in all the right areas.

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So much of the 2018 version, right down to the raucous V8 growl, is how Mustang should’ve been from the get-go. It still drinks like a publican, but it now converts more of its energy into further pleasing the driver, passengers and bystanders alike.

It’s not the quickest sportscar on the block and not the most dynamically adept machine you’ll stick around a racetrack, but it absolutely drips with mojo from the instant you crank its naturally aspirated five litres into life, whether you’re cruising to the shops for milk or tearing those fat Michelins to shreds. It’s all about visceral rear-driven giggles and oozing road presence, with a big dose of go for your dough once you sink your right foot.

Yes, there’s that less-than-ideal three-star ANCAP rating and you’ll have to shoehorn even smaller kids into the tight rear seating, but it utterly fulfils its primary purpose outside of practicalities in offering the best value, muscle-filled sportscar experience on sale today in Australia.

I’d never lusted after a V8 Mustang until I’d the driven the old version. And almost everything new about this 2018 update conspires toward making the American coupe much more lustworthy.

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