2018 Ford Mustang GT Premium Convertible Review: All You Wanna Do Is Ride

Ford's punchy drop-top muscle car brings V-8 cool to the hot, steamy summer.

Welcome to Critic's Notebook, a quick and off-the-cuff car review consisting of impressions, jottings, and marginalia regarding whatever The Drive writers happen to be driving. Today's edition: the 2018 Ford Mustang GT Premium Convertible.

If ever I'm handed the keys to a convertible, emotionally, it takes me a minute to put the top down. I have to feel ready. I don't know if it's the fact that I don't personally own a convertible, or the fact that everyone can see you when you're driving one, but I'm not immediately comfortable. On a recent scalding summer afternoon, I was handed the keys to a silver 2018 Ford Mustang GT Premium Convertible—and true to form, I drove it home with the top up. 

When I got there, I stared at it parked in my garage, its beauty and exterior lines marred by the thin black roof, and I got back in. With a quick twist-and-release of the interior handle and the push of a button, the true state of this roof-less Mustang GT was realized. Tops are meant to be dropped, after all. 

Cait Knoll

The Pros:

  • The Mustang keeps getting better and better, and this GT Convertible is no different. The 2018 model comes with 25 new horses under the hood, bringing the total output to 460 horsepower. Torque has also been upped; now it stands at at 420 pound-feet. The car never felt under-powered, believe me. 
  • Though I didn't have a track or dragstrip at my disposal, I wanted to stretch the Mustang GT Convertible's legs. The car, with its 5.0-liter V-8 purring, was practically begging me to. As a result, my testing took place on both highways and city streets across three New York City boroughs and two states. (I live in New Jersey now. Judge me.) [Oh, we do. —Ed.] I loved rumbling through tree-lined local roads...but I loved roaring across highways, over bridges, and through tunnels more. 
  • My journeys in the Mustang took me over roads of aggressively-varied quality, and the MagneRide dampers were ready for everything I gunned the car over. The $1,695 option responds to changing conditions to the tune of 1,000 times per second per damper. The balance I felt was notable on the rougher stretches. With the integral link independent rear suspension helping minimize body roll and isolate those fly-in-the-ointment potholes, the handling felt super-sharp and super-smooth. 
  • The 10-speed automatic transmission is a smooth operator, especially for normal driving. The shifts are quick, but feel natural. I did find it to be a bit slow on the uptake when I mashed on the gas, however.
  • For those of you who get judged for loud exhaust in homier settings, shall we say, opt for the Active Valve Performance Exhaust (an $895 option). I used this easy-to-control feature on almost every drive; I activated Quiet Start for work departures, muffled my rumble with the aptly named Quiet setting when approaching home in suburbia, and let the beast roar in Normal, Sport, and Track out in the wild.
Cait Knoll

The Cons:

  • I hate to say this, but this convertible looks pretty weak with the top up. The coupe's profile is sporty and badass, but the convertible-with-top presents itself as a watered-down Mustang. It takes the teeth out of a vibe that is usually aggressive and attractive. I suppose that's all the more reason to put the top down (when you're ready, of course), but you don't get convertible weather every day. 
  • The driver and passenger have more than enough space up front, but the back seat is laughable in terms of legroom. And if you have that top up, it's likely the roof is messing up your rear passengers' hair. I did manage to fit one-and-a-half humans—my future-mother-in-law and my three-year-old future-niece—in the back seat for a Sunday drive, however.
  • Not that you're buying a Mustang GT Premium Convertible for cargo room, but it's worth mentioning that in giving up a roof, you're also giving up 2.1 cubic feet of storage (down from 13.5 cubic feet in the coupe to 11.4) in order to house the roof and its mechanical bits. 
  • I was not a fan of my loaner's paint job, known officially as Ingot Silver Metallic. It's an unremarkable color, and I feel it doesn't do the car justice. As one of my colleagues said, it calls to mind a rental car.
Cait Knoll

The 2018 Ford Mustang GT Premium Convertible, Ranked:

Performance: 5/5

Comfort: 4/5

Luxury: 4/5

Hauling people: 2.5/5

Hauling stuff: 3/5

Curb appeal: 3.5/5

“Wow” factor: 4/5

Overall: 4/5

Cait Knoll

The Bottom Line:

Though I wouldn't recommend this drab silver, if you're in the market for a performance convertible at a reasonable price, consider the 2018 Ford Mustang GT Premium Convertible. You get a whole lot of car for right around $45,000. (Or more, in the case of my tester.) The interior is sleek, with retro-modern styling; taking the top down is easy; and the tech adds a bit of futuristic fun. And most importantly...it's just so damn fun to drive. You get all of the Mustang GT goodies, plus the ability to let the wind style your hair whenever you want. For these steamy summer days and nights, there's almost nothing better than riding with the top down, thrilling (and embarrassing) your front-seat passenger with each of the incrementally-louder exhaust settings. 

2018 Ford Mustang GT Premium Convertible, By the Numbers

Base Price (Price as Tested): $44,595 ($55,665)

Powertrain: 5.0-liter TI-VCT V-8, 460 horsepower, 420 pound-feet of torque; 10-speed automatic transmission; rear-wheel-drive

0-60 MPH: 3.9 seconds (manufacturer claim)

Fuel Economy: 15 mpg city, 25 mpg highway (EPA figures)

Number of Times My Soon-to-Be-Niece Took a Backseat Convertible Nap: Two