2017 Ford GT First drive impressions

To tell the story of the new 2017 Ford GT, one has to go back 12 years ago when the automaker crafted a mid-engine sports car in honor of its Le Mans conquest in the 60s. This time round, Ford wanted to bring back the GT memories and unlike 12 years ago when it was released just for celebratory purposes, the new GT is focused on one thing only, to emulate its ancestor at the race tracks and not just any race track but at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Well, it did that last year on its first attempt, in a day that marked 50 years after the GT40 had three podium finishes at the same venue. For a car carrying a price tag of almost $0.5 million, Ford had to do something really enticing to sway customers; the automaker did just that, its designers managed to hook up the car with an excellent blend of cutting-edge design, superior performance and advanced technology. This makes the new 2017 Ford GT a darling to watch on the tracks while still ensuring it is as exotic as they get off the tracks and into civilian streets.

2017 Ford GT

Drivetrain

To really experience the legend of the GT, I had to get my hands into one and take it to the tracks. The fact that the GT has already proven its worth in the tracks made me more anxious. As I sat behind the wheels, I was aware of the immense power of the 3.5 L, twin-turbocharged V6 behind me, 647 hp and 550 lb-ft of torque to be precise.  I could not help but wonder why Ford had to wait for this long to revive this legendary racer. The unit sends its “juice” to all four wheels via a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission system.

Although I would have loved a V-8 in this model, I must say Ford has done great to ensure the V-6 does the job just right. I soon found out that the engine provides awesome peak power and with an EcoBoost engine controller, it was easy to keep the beast in Sport, Track or V-Max modes. This as I found means the modes start producing the needed boost even before the throttle comes into play. When the throttle sets in, well, the result can rival a V-8. Although the vehicle is rumored to hit 60 mph from a standstill position in 3 seconds, as much as I tried, I could only do it in 3.5 seconds. I did a quarter mile in 12.5 seconds but the vehicle is rated to need only 10.5 seconds to do a quarter mile. Although V-8 enthusiasts still feel upset, I must say I loved the sound of the V-6 engine.

Unlike the original GTs, controlling this beast is much easy, courtesy of Ford’s precise steering system and its pushrod suspension. Specifically, the car’s suspension system enables one to change the ride height according to the driving mode one is in. A ride of 4.7 inches is ideal in the streets to protect the vehicle belly but stepping on the tracks, you will need to put its height at 2.75 inches in Track and V-Max modes to enhance its stability.  Considering it is a performance dedicated supercar, I found its ride quality mostly in the “Normal”, “Wet” and “Sport” modes particularly impressive even when you decide to take your beast across the country. The suspension system is so crafted that it has a front-end lift feature which raises the model’s ground clearance when approaching steep inclines and driveways. In essence, the GT transforms from a dedicated track race to an exotic car with much ease enabling you to drive home after spending time on the tracks.

2017 Ford GT Interior Impressions

The model is not functional though. You won’t have to carry along much of your luggage as the trunk accommodates only 0.4 cu ft of cargo. The space is not even a conventional cargo space but rather a pocket of space left behind the engine. The fixed driver’s seat was particularly well executed as it gives one consistent sight line while still ensuring easy reach of controls and excellent weight distribution. There is no need to worry if you will fit in the driver’s seat as Ford thought of that and hooked up the model with movable pedals and a tilt-telescopic steering wheel. The supercar, however, lacks sound deadening and the engine’s note dominates the cabin particularly in Sport, Track and V-Max modes.

To share your exploits at the tracks, Ford has hooked up the model with an advanced Ford Performance application that enables the driver to store his/her perspective and telemetry video. Pairing this app with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto enables the driver to review his/her driving as well as share such video on mobile devices. There is even a SYNC 3 and an audio system in there to ensure you are not bored when you go for long distances.

PRICE: around $450,000
DRIVETRAIN: 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 engine; RWD, seven-speed dual-clutch transmission
OUTPUT: 647 horsepowers at 6,250 rpm; 550 lb-ft at 5,900 rpm
FUEL ECONOMY: 11/18/14 mpg (EPA City/Highway/Combined)
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