WE'VE only just had the Oscars with all the Hollywood hype, glitz, razzmatazz and fanfares but one star straight from the movies has just landed in the UK and it's already proving a box office success.
In recent years, the muscle car that is the Ford Mustang was a hit in blockbuster films such as Bullitt, Goldfinger, Diamonds are Forever and Gone in 60 Seconds but for the first time in its 50 year history it's arrived on European shores and most importantly in right-hand-drive format for the UK.
Sales have already exceeded the 3,500 mark and after a day in the company of the Mustang line-up I can fully understand why. After all, there are very few cars that feature such drop-dead-gorgeous styling at such a reasonable price.
There are two formats - fastback coupe or convertible - and they both have equal appeal with sensational styling, exquisite handling capabilities and all the grunt and gusto expected from a muscle car.
There is a choice of two engines. Firstly the fairly economical 2.3-litre EcoBoost version priced from £30,495 with combined economy of 35.3mpg, emissions of 179g/km, a 0-62mph sprint time of 5.8 seconds and top speed of 145mph.
Then there is the all-singing, all-dancing 5.0-litre V8 421ps version with its 0-62mph sprint time of just 4.8 seconds and top speed of 155mph. This car is priced from £35,995 and can deliver combined economy of up to 23.5mpg with emissions from 281g/km.
The Mustang is available with six-speed manual transmission or six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. And customers wanting the wind-in-the-hair experience can expect to pay an additional £4,000 to £5,000 for convertible models.
So on to the car's dynamic styling. Ford describes it as a ‘car that will make you feel alive' and that perfectly sums up the Mustang.
There is the exceptionally long bonnet, the Mustang's traditional shark-bite front bumper, a trapezoidal grille, strong side lines, muscular haunches and raked roofline.
It's perfectly proportioned from every angle and features sweeping headlight clusters and striking tri-bar LED tail lights. It's simply a car you can't walk passed without noticing.
Step inside and the interior oozes sporting prowess. The body-hugging seats are both supportive and comfortable and all the instrumentation is clear and easily accessible. It's tight for back seat passengers but that's the norm for this type of vehicle.
On-board technology includes Ford's 8-inch colour touchscreen with a 9-speaker sound system with SYNC 2 connectivity to multi-media devices. There is Bluetooth, a rearview camera and gadgetry galore to be explore.
There are a fair amount of cheaper-looking materials incorporated into the dashboard and glovebox area but this is quickly overlooked when you take into account the asking price. And on some models the sat nav is an optional extra too costing £795 which also adds a 12-speaker Shaker Pro Premium audio system.
The Mustang is fitted with selectable drive modes operated via toggle switches in the centre console and these can be used to adjust the electronic stability control, throttle responses, automatic gear-shift patterns and steering to match Normal, Sport+, Track or Snow/Wet settings. There are also options to adjust the weight and feel of the steering.
We had the opportunity to try out three models. The first two were powered by the mighty 5.0-litre V8 engine - one was the fastback and the other the convertible. And both cars were a true pleasure to drive.
The acceleration through the automatic gears was blisteringly quick, yet it remained controlled at all times. Corners could be taken at pace with confidence and the steering was fabulously precise.
You can expect to feel some bumps and dips along the way, the noise can be very loud and at times you really do have to remember to breathe!
The soft top on the convertible can be folded away in a matter of seconds and somehow this car is the perfect model when the sun puts in an appearance. It is also well insulated against any outside noise with the roof closed.
Our final car was the lesser powered 2.3 EcoBoost model with manual gearbox. Admittedly, it didn't have quite the fire-power of its bigger brother, but it still delivers an exciting and thrilling driving experience. And of course, there will be less trips to fill up (if driven cautiously!)
All in all, apart from imported models, we have missed out on the beauty and thrills of the Ford Mustang here in the UK. But that has all changed and it's a move that will be welcomed by motorists up and down the country who appreciate cars that simply love to be driven.