HD Road Test Review – 2016 Ford Mustang GT California Special (w/ Videos!)



The Mustang GT Convertible had a hell of a week here at Car-Revs-Daily.com!

First we shot photos of the pony-car icon alongside a LaFerrari, then took an epic road trip down to Botany Bay for yet more photos.  And some very exciting full-throttle videos, too!

You would do the same when presented with a dream-car, right?

This Mustang GT Cali Special is a life-changing vehicle.  One that is so outstandingly fun, sexy and playful that you gladly forgive its autobox spec and slight cowl shake over big bumps.

Wind in your hair, V8 bellow in your ears…… is there any finer combination?!

Let’s detail this fantastic new-for-2016 California Special option package via the standard Exterior, Interior, Performance, Pricing and Summary section headings.  Three terrific top-down drive videos accompany these words — and they’re worth a brief watch.  If only to set the mood music to “Throbbing V8.”  Who needs a playlist or 12-speaker audio with harmonics like this Mustang GT on full throttle?!





This American Dream on wheels?  Race Red and wearing gorgeous upgraded 19-inch Mach alloy wheels, special graphics and even a contrast-black decklid spoiler.

The $1995 California Special package is a deep upgrades pack outside — for the cost of an alloy-wheel upgrade alone.  Our favorite detail?  Easily the giant 5.0 badges on both fenders!  They make clear that this is the Mustang GT versus its V6 and EcoBoost siblings.  That is not instantly clear from the front of the Cali Special.  A unique Mustang badge in the side of the intake up front is different from the GT grille on other V8 Mustangs.  This is a bit touchy, as all Mustangs for 2016 look pretty sleek and sporty.  But among gearheads, it is the V8 Mustang that elicits the most respect on the road.

The giant fender badges and GT California Special plate on the back, luckily, confirm loud and clear that this is no V6 or turbo four.

But in truth, you would need to be pretty hard of hearing not to recognize this V8 burble, even without the badges!

The Cali Special’s exterior has a few more tricks up its sleeve, too.  Those are the extended chin splitter from the Performance Pack Mustangs, plus CS-exclusive reverse hood vents with integrated LED blinkers.  These are rear-facing and are fairly subtle from the driver’s seat. But are extra visible to cars beside you on the road.



The LED goodness is deep with this Mustang GT.  LED DRLs, of course, but also LED fogs and sequential LED brake lights/indicators.  HID main beams round out a perfectly matched white lighting signature up front.  Only the old-fashioned blinker lights in amber on the front bumper let down the ultra-modern appeal of the car.  Those are an easy DIY swap for LED bulbs on the aftermarket, though.

Overall, the Mustang GT CS is one of the coolest and most stylish cars on the road. It looks so good, in fact, that it is pretty chic and sporty even with the black soft-top up.



The Mustang GT CS comes with nearly everything standard for 2016. Leather-trimmed sport buckets with custom GT/CS stitching set the mood nicely.  These are not the race seats that are optional, but are still extremely comfortable, adjustable and supportive.  The 8-inch SYNC3 touchscreen audio in the dash of the Mustang is upgraded here with the $800 navigation option and $1800 Shaker Pro audio system with 12 speakers and a thumping subwoofer.  The new Sync 3 generation is easier than ever to use, with quick reactions and intuitive controls.

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