The King of cool was Steve McQueen. The Hollywood star made a number of movies that have become iconic snapshots in time like WW2 classic The Great Escape and of course the 1968 hit Bullitt. Frank Bullitt a detective tasked with a witness protection job finds his team dropped in to a political conspiracy.
The backdrop are the stunning streets of San Francisco. The hilly location was used to great affect and delivered one of the most thrilling car chases in cinematic history. McQueen was a true petrol head and a mature racer so he had no problem letting his Mustang and the bad guy’s GTO do the talking on screen.
Ford has paid homage to the car used in the movie with a limited edition version of its V8 GT, badged Bullitt. The car comes in the famous deep Highland green from the movie but is also available in Shadow black… eh, why! Pricing in Ireland starts from €73,092 and while that is a lump of cash the car delivers much more value than that.
Power comes from a brutish 5 litre V8 that pushes out 460 horsepower and 529nm of torque through its rear wheels. The engine features blip technology so as you shift down the throttle blips to ensure a smooth shift. You can make it blip with out engaging the gear and if your childish – a queue of people at a bus stop makes a prime target. The Bullitt delivers that most primal V8 burble that is just additive.
A number of drive modes allows the electronics to either contain or release as much power as you think you can handle. Apart from Normal and MyMode there is Sport+, Track and Drag Strip modes that deliver ascending levels of fun. Launch control is present as is a Line Lock mode that allows big kids to literally burn rubber from a standing very fast start… “Don’t do it kids!” An active exhaust allows you be as childish as you want. In ‘MyMode’ I set the steering to comfort and the exhaust to Track (the loudest setting) and giggled nearly every minute. There is a ‘good neighbour’ exhaust mode that you can set to be active between certain times. This closes the active flap exhaust and only gently shakes the car’s surroundings on start up.
A fast car is only as good as it anchors and the Bullitt gets Brembo six piston clippers up front with larger rotors. To add class (cough) the calipers are visible through the special 19 inch black ‘Heritage’ alloys and coloured bright red. The chassis has been tuned specifically for the Bullitt which is more than just a badge on a GT. There is a gauge pack and unique setting for the power steering, ABS and stability control.
Inside Bullitt gets a limited edition run number plate in front of the passenger where a mustang ‘Since 1964’ plate would normally be. A Bullitt badge in the centre of the steering wheel mirrors the rear’s badge with a cue ball gear shift knob the finishing touch that is just ridiculously cool.
Options on our test car included the impressive MagneRide adaptive suspension (€3,030) and sumptuous Recaro leather trimmed sports seats (€2,720). There is a great 1,000 watt B&O sound system with a boot mounted subwoofer. In total my test car weighed in at €78,842.
So what is the downside? The Bullitt is a petrol V8 (that’s also an upside!) and it is very thirsty. I averaged a little over 10 litres per 100 kilometres (28mpg) so a full tank of juice will last about 500km in mixed driving – in fact I beat the official figure of 12.4/100km (22mpg). CO2 emissions are 277g (band G – I forgot there was a band this high) and best left out of casual conversation.