Forward Into The Past: The 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt
The 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt.
Steve McQueen (no, not that Steve McQueen, this Steve McQueen) fans rejoice.  Ford Motor Company has given us another opportunity to live out our fantasies that we, somehow, some way embody 1/1000th the cool of the '60s coolest film star with the third in a series of Bullitt edition Mustangs.

"Bullitt movie poster
"Bullitt" movie poster.
"Bullitt", for those too young to remember (and that's an increasingly large number of people), was a 1968 cop/action film starring McQueen as San Francisco Police Lieutenant Frank Bullitt.

Steve McQueen and 1968 Mustang GT in "Bullitt"
Steve McQueen and a 1968 Mustang GT in "Bullitt".

Frank Bullitt may be a police Lieutenant, but he's not your typical cop, by 1968 standards.  He wears dark turtlenecks under his sport coat instead of a suit and tie.  He could probably drive an SFPD undercover four-door Ford Custom 500 from the motor pool, but he's driving his own Dark Highland Green 1968 Ford Mustang GT with a 390 V8, all the badges stripped off and aftermarket American Racing mag wheels.

"Bullitt" has beauty (in the form of San Francisco and a 23-year-old Jacqueline Bisset as Frank Bullitt's love interest), but it's the action the film is famous for.  Especially one scene:

"Bullitt" car chase
Car chase from "Bullitt".
If you've never seen "Bullitt", you must---if only for the car chase.  It's legendary.  Ten minutes, 53 seconds of zero dialogue and maximum suspense as the bad guys in the '68 Dodge Charger, out to kill Frank, very nearly succeed. 

It has ensured a 50-year-old movie lives on today, generally ranking either first or second on "best car chase of all time" listings (it depends on whether you prefer "Bullitt" or "Ronin") and it is why Ford has, in 2001, 2008 and now, offered us new "Bullitt" Mustangs, generally in Dark Highland Green and with exterior badging removed except for a "Bullitt" logo on what, back in the day, used to be the gas filler cap.

McQueen got top billing, but the car was the co-star.

Rear/side view of 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt
2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt.
Which brings us to the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt---a 50th anniversary edition, thanks to some fuzzy math and logic.  See, the movie was released in October of 1968, so a fall 2018 release of the new car makes sense.  Except that McQueen drove a '68 and this is a '19---but that's quibbling.  What matters is that the new Ford Mustang Bullitt is one heckuva car.

For one thing, this is the only one of the Bullitt Mustangs to have more horsepower than the one McQueen drove in the movie.  His was good for 335 horsepower.  The 2001 model eked out 265, the 2008 managed 315, but the 2019's 5.0-liter V8 makes 480 horsepower---20 more than a non-Bullitt  Mustang GT.   That's accomplished by using the Shelby GT350's throttle bodies and intake manifold. Other tricks that make this a better Mustang GT are the dark five-spoke 19-inch wheels, the red-painted Brembo brakes, and a variable exhaust system that has three settings, Quiet, Normal and Loud, which in reality are Normal, Loud and Really Loud.

2019 Ford Mustang interior
2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt interior.
Base price for the Bullitt is $46,595 and that comes with all of the above, a leather-trimmed interior with dark green stitching on the dashboard, seats, door panels and center console, a heated, leather-trimmed steering wheel, a white cue-ball shifter (just like the one in the movie) and a 12-inch all-digital LCD digital instrument cluster.

Options are few.  You can get it in Dark Highland Green or Shadow Black.   Recaro seats are available, but ours didn't have them.  It did have the Bullitt Electronics Package (navigation, memory seats and mirrors, an upgraded sound system and blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert) for $2,100 and the Magne-Ride dampening system for $1,695.

With $900 destination and delivery, the bottom line was $51,290.  That's $4,320 more than the 2018 Mustang GT we reviewed in April, and in my book, the extra 20 horsepower and the Brembo brakes justify the extra expense.  The Bullitt appearance is just icing on the cake.   I'll take mine in Dark Highland Green.