2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt Preview
- Third modern tribute car to 1968 Steve McQueen movie “Bullitt”
- Based on Mustang GT, but tuned to make more power
- Dark Highland Green or Black paint
- Standard Premium and Performance option packages
- Available MagneRide suspension, Recaro seats, Electronics option package with key upgrades
- On sale in the summer of 2018
If you’ve never watched the car chase scene in the 1968 movie “Bullitt,” you’re missing a major milestone in the history of filmmaking. The Oscar award-winning movie’s chase sequence re-wrote the rules of the time, cementing star Steve McQueen as a consummate automotive enthusiast’s man’s man, and the Dark Highland Green ‘68 Ford Mustang GT fastback he drove in it as an iconic movie car.
Starting in 2001, Ford Motor Company woke up to value of that “Bullitt Mustang.” That was the year the company created the first Mustang Bullitt tribute car, following it up in 2008 and 2009 with another version.
Now, a third salute to the 1968 movie car arrives to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the film. It debuted at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, joined onstage by one of two original 1968 Mustang Fastback movie cars, rediscovered after 40 years and wearing the unmistakable patina of age.
“This new Bullitt is, as Steve McQueen was, effortlessly cool,” said Darrell Behmer, Mustang chief designer, at the car’s debut. “As a designer, it’s my favorite Mustang – devoid of stripes, spoilers and badges. It doesn’t need to scream about anything – it’s just cool.”
Cool, indeed. Exterior ighlights include chrome trim around the unique black grille and front windows, 19-inch “torque thrust” wheel designs, red-painted Brembo brake calipers, and a fake gas cap on the rear end with a “Bullitt” logo.
Dark Highland Green paint is best, but is not a requirement. Shadow Black is the other color choice.
To build the new Mustang Bullitt, Ford starts with a GT equipped with Premium trim. That means the car is equipped with leather-wrapped heated and ventilated front seats, heated side mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, a Sync 3 infotainment system, ambient cabin lighting, and upgraded interior materials throughout.
Bullitt models add unique green stitching on the seats, dashboard, door panels, and center console. The car also has a 12-inch digital instrumentation cluster with a special Bullitt welcome screen, and the steering wheel is heated.
Three upgrades are offered for the new 2019 Mustang Bullitt.
First up is a MagneRide adaptive damping suspension that provides a smooth ride on the highway coupled with tenacious handling on your favorite back road. Or the streets of San Franciscso. Whatever.
Second is a set of Recaro performance seats, useful in the event that you get into an altercation with nattily dressed businesspeople driving a black Dodge Charger.
Third is the Bullitt Electronics Package, which adds a navigation system, a premium sound system, a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, and memory for the driver’s seat and mirrors.
Under the Hood
To make the 2019 Mustang Bullitt even more awesome, Ford upgrades the 5.0-liter V8 engine with an Open Air Induction System, as well as an intake manifold, 87mm throttle bodies, and powertrain control module from the hot-to-trot Mustang Shelby GT350.
The result is, according to Ford, “at least” 475 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque.
Ford did not supply acceleration time to 60 mph, but the company did claim a 163-mph top speed, which is better than a stock GT’s 155-mph maximum velocity. A stock GT can rush to 60 mph in four seconds, but the 10-speed automatic is required.
The Bullitt, by all accounts, comes only with a 6-speed manual transmission featuring a classic white cue ball shift knob. Ford made no mention of an available 10-speed automatic transmission for the Bullitt, so you shouldn’t expect one. Learn to row your own gears, instead, like Steve McQueen.
The Bullitt is also equipped with a retuned version of Ford’s active performance exhaust system for a classic burble. Special Black NitroPlate tips set this special-edition Mustang apart.
Ford’s GT Performance Package is also standard, and it installs a long list of structural, suspension, steering, braking, and tire upgrades. There is no doubt that a new Mustang Bullitt would utterly dominate any Charger R/T to cross its path.
When you buy a Mustang Bullitt, you get a reversing camera and, though the Sync 3 system, a handful of safety-related services including automatic collision notification and MyKey safe teen driving settings.
If you want a blind spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert, you’ll need to pay extra for the Bullitt Electronics Package. Unfortunately, Ford’s Safe & Smart option package, which contains even more driver assistance and collision avoidance technologies, is not offered for the Bullitt.
The standard Sync 3 infotainment system includes satellite radio, smartphone integration supporting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and with the Electronics Package it adds navigation and a 12-speaker Shaker Pro audio system. Two smart-charging USB ports are standard.
All Mustangs are equipped with Track Apps, which allows the owner to reference key performance metrics within the instrumentation. Electronic line-lock (for burnouts) and Launch Control (for speedy acceleration) are also standard.