2019 Mustang Bullitt – An Icon Lurking in Shadows

Ford Motor Company is now well into it’s sixth generation Mustang, and this is the third factory iteration of “Bullitt” variety. While Mustang’s will always have a significant place in modern history, the legacy of Steve McQueen racing through the streets of San Francisco in one of the most iconic cinematic chase scenes in history.  Using a 1968 Mustang GT390 Fastback was intended to be a not-so-flashy budget accessible performance car for the film, and with an entry point of $46,595 for the 2019, and $46,705 for 2020 that certainly continues. This is where the cheeky movie references will come to an end, because Bullitt is far more than a movie prop from yesteryear, and Shadow Black proves that point.

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Back in 1968 Warner Bros. cleaned up the look of the movie cars with an extreme debadging, stripping nearly every Ford oval and Mustang logo from the stealthy fastback pony car, that legacy continues today. The only remaining “Mustang” logo that perminently adorn the wheel center caps and at night the logo’d puddle lamps, everything else is stripped clean, or replaced with “Bullitt” on the faux fuel filler cap and airbag cover. There are also no spoilers, massive wings or any in-your-face styling graphics available, leaving buyers with just a clean, unsuspecting Mustang coupe.

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Fundamentally Bullitt starts life as a Mustang GT Performance Package 1, but with the ability to breathe a little easier thanks to borrowing the intake manifold and open-air intake system from the GT350, as well as unique engine mapping. This combination of modifications increases the 5.0L Coyote V8 to 480 horsepower that peaks just before 7,500 RPM redline. The Bullitt’s standard-issue Active Valve Performance Exhaust system receives tuning specific to Bullitt offering a significant snarl on demand, and loves to sing through the entire rev range. Both the Sport and Track modes allows the exhaust system to create a hair raising experience, anyone in traffic nearby knows you’re in something special. The finessed driving characteristics of Bullitt are unlike any Mustang I’ve ever driven, softer and more compliant than the more track-oriented Shelby GT350 which comes in fifteen thousand dollars higher, and more special feeling than the more run-of-the-mill GT. Manual Elitist Jerks can also rejoice as this Mustang Bullitt iteration is available with only the 6-speed manual transmission and classic cue ball shift knob. This transmission has nice length throws and an engaging experience. The bond you will develop with Bullitt is absolutely visceral.

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Shadow Black paint paired with black “Torque Thrust” style 19″ Heritage wheels give a familiar appearance, but without the initial connection to the blockbuster history associated with its name. I really came to appreciate how Shadow Black provided a more subdued presence, turning heads absoltely everywhere I took it. The front three quarter view is my favorite, exposing the clean face and Brembo six piston calipers painted in red.

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The brute force of Bullitt connects to the pavement via standard issue 255/40/19 front and 275/40/19 rear Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires. This tire selection is incredibly important when creating a dynamic drivers car capable of sprinting to 60mph in 4.4 seconds runs and pulls through a quarter mile in just 12.6. When shopping on TireRack.com for a replacement set the bill comes in at just over $1,200, a very fair price for a manufacturer fit high-performance tire.

Our test configuration skipped the optional Recaro seats in favor of heated and ventillated front buckets, as well as a heated leather wrapped steering wheel. Without an intent to spend much time at the track, this is probably the preferred configuration. The standard digital dash contains a wide variety of configurations linked to the drive mode selector, track mode offers a great horozontal tach with shift lights, with a large and clear gear indicator for those days you’re feeling extra spirited.

Other random nicities include the Mustang logo puddle lamps pictured above, a kick ass 1,000 watt B&O Play audio system paired with the Sync 3 infotainment we love, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto. We’d like to see Bullitt’s green interior stitching carry out a little further across some of the surfaces, but it’s a nice touch nonetheless.

Despite the fact that Bullitt tips the scales at just over 3,700 pounds, fuel economy from the coyote V8 still manages to come in at 14MPG city, 23 Highway. We find these figures respectable considering the performance levels but the overall driving range is quite short with just a 16-gallon tank. Stretching to 300 miles on a tank required prayer and a very gentle right foot.

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Photo Courtesy of Historic Vehicle Association

As configured this Mustang Bullitt came in with an MSRP of $51,290, the 2019 Mustang Bullitt may be a favorite bang for the buck pony car. Fifty-ish thousand dollars could certainly get you into a coupe from Europe, and certainly from Asia, but there’s absolutely no comparison to the amount of raw power, noise, and smiles. While these Bullitt’s are unlikely to ever bring values like the original Mustang Bullitt selling for $3.4M, it’s my guess that Shadow Black has the potential for higher collector values down the road.