The enduring emblem of America’s love affair with the car? It’s got to be just one motor - the Ford Mustang.

Celebrated in song (Mustang Sally) and a star of the silver screen (Bullitt) Ford’s ‘pony car’ has spanned the decades to become a true automotive icon, as desirable today as when it first hit the road in 1964.

Last year saw the ten-millionth Mustang roll off the production line – the best-selling sports car of the last 50 years in the US and the world’s best-seller of its type three years running.

This year sees the Mustang’s 55th birthday, an anniversary marked by the car reaching buyers in 146 countries. More than 500,000 sixth-generation Mustangs have been sold worldwide since 2015, including more than 45,000 in Europe.

This motoring legend went on sale in the UK in right-hand drive in that year, offered with a 2.3-litre turbocharged Ecoboost engine – with 288bhp - and a five-litre V8 with 446bhp. The very first Mustang, produced in 1964, developed 164bhp.

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But this car can’t be summed up by facts and figures – for it has an emotional appeal that soars beyond statistics.

And the latest, sleeker, faster and more technologically-advanced car delivers even more athletic styling, sophisticated engine and suspension enhancements, advanced driver assistance features and more customisation options.

Available in fastback and convertible body-styles, the instantly-recognisable, powerful profile now features more refined aerodynamics and is enhanced with LED lighting technology, a choice of 11 bold exterior colours and new 19in alloy wheel options.

The Mustang’s five-litre engine is able to sprint from 0-60mph in 4.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 154mph when combined with a new 10-speed automatic gearbox.

The 2.3-litre engine’s figures are 0-60mph in 5.1 seconds and a top speed of 121mph. The six-speed manual transmission now features rev-matching technology that delivers smoother, faster downshifts accompanied by a “blip” of the powerful engine.

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Tuned to match European driving expectations, Mustang’s drive character is optimised with sophisticated adjustable suspension and selectable drive modes, including a new customisable ‘my mode’ option. There’s even an innovative ‘good neighbour mode’ for early-morning or late-night driving!

Slip behind the wheel and you will find a contemporary interior with a premium feel.

Soft-touch materials now feature for the door linings and the door handles are finished in aluminium. The centre console features a new hand-stitched, soft-touch wrap, finished with stitching in a contrast colour, while the instrument panel surround is available in four aluminium finishes.

A new engine-start button pulses red from the moment the door is unlocked until the engine sparks into life, giving the Mustang a ‘heartbeat’ of its own. Ford says that, at a rate of 30 beats per minute, the button mirrors the resting heart rate of a pony.

A Carbon Sport interior package is also available, including Alcantara door and seat inserts, plus a carbon fibre instrument panel surround. Leather-trimmed, heated and cooled seats, and a heated steering wheel are also offered across the line-up for the first time.

Customisation options have grown with three bold new metallic paint colours among the 11offered– kona blue, orange fury and royal crimson, – while you can stand out even more by adding racing stripes. 
However you choose to specify your Mustang, you will be tapping into a motoring DNA like no other.

Price: From £36,325

Local dealer: Ford Bolton, 54-56, Higher Bridge Street, Bolton, BL1 2HQ. Tel: 01204 271386.