The 2019 Mustang Bullitt is the coolest way to spend $50,000 on a car that's guaranteed to turn heads

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The 2019 Mustang Bullitt is the coolest way to spend $50,000 on a car that's guaranteed to turn heads

  • The Bullitt is a special edition Mustang, introduced to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the classic Steve McQueen movie.
  • Mustan Bullitts come with a six-speed manual, 5.0-liter V-8 and a bundle of performance goodies that make it a total riot to drive.
  • If you can live with a harsh ride, it’s one of the best ways to spend $50,000.
2019 Mustang Bullitt
Mack Hogan | CNBC
2019 Mustang Bullitt

This year, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the famed Steve McQueen movie "Bullitt," Ford launched a revised Bullitt Edition Mustang. Featuring green or black paint, a six-speed manual and a suite of performance goodies, the Bullitt is the best Mustang you can get without a Shelby badge.

But with a price that can easily crest $50,000, the Mustang Bullitt isn't the cheap muscle car it once was. Still, with 475 horsepower and fantastic driving dynamics, it's hard to say you're not getting your money's worth.

The Good

2019 Mustang Bullitt
Mack Hogan | CNBC
2019 Mustang Bullitt

Since the 1968 release of the movie Bullitt, Ford has had a excuse to launch a new Mustang every 5-10 years with the dials cranked up to 11. The Mustang Bullitt is an homage to the film's police officer, Frank Bullitt, who famously drove a 1968 Ford Mustang GT. This year, the Mustang Bullitt has a 475-horsepower engine capable of hitting 163 mph. It's enough to make you feel like the cool police officer Frank was.

To sell the image, the Mustang ditches some of its pony logos in favor of Bullitt badges. The lovely Dark Highland Green paint is part of the package So, too, are the slick black wheels and the pool-ball shifter for the six-speed manual transmission.

2019 Mustang Bullitt
Mack Hogan | CNBC
2019 Mustang Bullitt

The Mustang Bullitt also offers magnetic suspension, equipped on our $51,385 tester. Using iron filings in the dampers that respond to electromagnets coiled around them, the suspension can adjust its stiffness 1,000 times per second as you go around corners to keep the car flat and stable. That, combined with direct and quick steering, make the modern Mustang Bullitt an incredibly rewarding car to drive.

If the driving dynamics didn't sell you, the sound certainly will. The Bullitt comes with an active exhaust system, able to switch seamlessly between "don't wake the neighbors" mode and "holy hell, the world is ending and this is its last cry" mode. The deep, guttural bellow of this V-8 made me grin like a 12-year-old whenever I let it rip.

2019 Mustang Bullitt
Mack Hogan | CNBC
2019 Mustang Bullitt

You'll also enjoy the interior. I don't like some of the cheap plastics inside, but the metal toggle switches and a top-rate infotainment system help justify the $51,385 price. So, too, do the looks. "That's a Mustang?" was a common question I received when I drove it around town, and nobody seemed shocked or offended when I told them it costs more than $50,000. If nothing else, it looks the part.

The Bad

2019 Mustang Bullitt
Mack Hogan | CNBC
2019 Mustang Bullitt

Despite the magnetic dampers being capable of softening the suspension for more compliant road manners, they seem dead-set on keeping things firm. As a result, the Bullitt heaves and crashes through bumps in the road, and you definitely feel it while riding in the cabin.

2019 Mustang Bullitt
Mack Hogan | CNBC
2019 Mustang Bullitt

It also tramlines. Tramlining, for the unfamiliar, is the tendency of a car to follow imperfections in the road. Common among cars with large front wheels, tramlining can yank the steering wheel out of your hands if the front tires find a rut. It's not a huge deal, but you should be aware of it.

Oh, and while the Mustang legally has four seats, don't plan any long-haul rides with adults in the back. It's best for kids or cargo, as adults will be banging their heads and their knees.

How you should configure it

2019 Mustang Bullitt
Mack Hogan | CNBC
2019 Mustang Bullitt

A base Mustang Bullitt starts at $47,590. For what it's worth, you can get a similar driving experience from the Mustang GT with the Performance Pack 2, but the Bullitt is significantly cooler and rarer. Because the equipment varies between them, the real price difference between Bullitts and GT PP2s is small.

I recommend you skip the Electronics Group and probably forego the Recaro seats. I haven't had the chance to sample a non-MagneRide Bullitt, so you'll need to decide for yourself if the $1,695 cost is worth it. If you do go for it, the total cost will be $49,285.

Final Thoughts

2019 Mustang Bullitt
Mack Hogan | CNBC
2019 Mustang Bullitt

I've never driven a car that got this much attention. Through $165,000 Teslas and six-figure super coupes from Lexus, nothing has drawn as many thumbs ups or "nice ride" comments. Especially driving around a college campus, the Bullitt gave me hope that the next generation of buyers will still be excited about cars.

2019 Mustang Bullitt
Mack Hogan | CNBC
2019 Mustang Bullitt

But remember, you're already getting a driving experience and equipment level that justifies spending $50,000. It sounds fantastic, drives well (if a bit harsh at times) and pretty much guarantees you'll turn heads.

Rating:

Exterior: 5

Interior: 3.5

Driving Experience: 5

Value: 4.5

Overall: 4.5

Price as tested: $51,385