Is the Mustang a poor man’s BMW M4?

Videos | July 29th, 2015 by 6
2015 bmw m4 vs 2015 ford mustang gt comparison 750x500

UK journalist, Chris Harris, has recently sampled the new Ford Mustang GT 5.0. Harris is well known for sliding about in some of the world’s …

UK journalist, Chris Harris, has recently sampled the new Ford Mustang GT 5.0. Harris is well known for sliding about in some of the world’s most powerful sports cars. He regularly drives McLarens, Porsches, Ferraris and Aston Martins, so when he claims that a car is good, it’s good. Well in his recent test of the Mustang, he pours admiration for it, as a sort of plucky underdog sports car. He claims that it isn’t as sophisticated as the best sports cars from Europe, but that it doesn’t need to be because it’s simpler than that. It just a simple formula for fun motoring; big V8 up front, six-speed manual in the middle and drive to the rear. He even says the new independent rear suspension works quite well, and proves it by sliding the hell out of it on a track.

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One of the more interesting things Harris says about the new Mustang is that while the BMW M3 is twice the money, it isn’t twice the car. That’s quite interesting, because the Mustang is often looked at as a sort of redneck that doesn’t come close to the level of European sports cars, especially ones as heralded as the M3. So is the Mustang a sort of poor man’s M3, or M4 in this case? Well it’s worth looking at.

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The Mustang has similar horsepower to the M4 (425 for the M4 and 435 for the Mustang), has rear-wheel drive and a limited slip differential like the M4, is available with a six-speed and is about as fast. The Mustang is capable of sprinting from 0-60 in 4.5 seconds, while it take a manually-equipped M4 4.1 seconds to do the same. It doesn’t handle as well nor is it as comfortable or as well equipped. But that’s why it would be a poor man’s M3. It just needs to be about 70-80 percent of the M4 to gain such a title, and I think it does do that.

Related: Ford Mustang GT vs BMW M4

Considering the price difference of almost $40,000, when both are fully loaded, the Mustang seems like a worthy alternative to the M4 if you haven’t got the scratch. Plus, according to Harris, the Mustang has an inherent likability. There’s a certain happiness to the car that seems to be missing from many German sports cars today. The Mustang seems to want to play while the M4 is very serious and wants to get good lap times. So while the Mustang might not be the better handler of the two, nor is it the fastest or most refined or even the best looking, it’s considerably cheaper and inherently likable. So does that make the Ford Mustang GT 5.0 a poor man’s BMW M4?

6 responses to “Is the Mustang a poor man’s BMW M4?”

  1. Reino-five-five-oh says:

    You really have to wonder what Ford could do with this platform with some added technology and luxury and put a Lincoln badge on it. That would really close the gap. Why not?

  2. Mike G says:

    The Mustang is more classic, better looking, way cooler and more fun. Plus, if you think you’re “rich” because you drive an M4 there is something wrong with you.

  3. Randy Pancetalk says:

    A lot of “middle class” cars have closed the gap on high end cars. This sort of comparison would have been ridiculous in the 1990s. But commodity cars have gotten so good in performance in recent years that higher-end cars will need something else to stand out.

  4. Jon Brooks says:

    I owned a E60 M5 and a E90 M3. Great cars but mechanically temperamental. Also, the M cars, while expensive new, take a huge depreciation loss after putting just 1 mile on them. For these reasons, to me, they’re not worth the cost. I just bought a new Mustang GT w/Performance Package. Half the price of a new M car. But, as Chris Harris, noted it’s fat from half the car. In fact, it’s probably 90% of the M car and, I believe, more fun to drive. Even the new Shelby GT350 is a considerably less expensive car, but offers even more performance. Kudos to Ford . . . .

  5. Jims50th says:

    I have owned many Mustangs and many BMWs over the years. My most recent purchase is a 2015 Mustang GT 50th Anniversary pack and performance pack, awesome car. My BMWs always fell apart when they came around 80,000 miles. I raced my old fox body Mustangs on the track with well over 200,000 miles on the motor, never let me down. You can keep your M4, I’ll buy two Mustangs!

  6. Alfredo Metere says:

    I would never consider buying a BMW M4. Had the chance, test drove it, but the Mustang GT 2017 with performance package is the true masterpiece I went for. Next step is a Porsche 911. Anything below that isn’t worth the comparison.

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