Ever since Steve McQueen chased a hubcap-shedding Charger through the streets of San Francisco as Lieutenant Frank Bullitt in the 1968 movie named for the title character, Highland Green Mustang fastbacks have been just a little bit cooler than the rest. With the 50th anniversary of Bullitt approaching, Mustang fans have been expecting a new homage to the movie car based on the current, S550-chassis pony car. There were rumors and there were red herrings, but now the real 2018 Bullitt Mustang has been unveiled and it’s gorgeous.
First seen in 2001 and followed up in the 2008–09 model years, each iteration of the special-edition Mustang Bullitt has followed a similar formula: start with the GT, give it a noticeable performance boost, add five-spoke Torq-Thrust-inspired wheels, and keep the flash to a minimum. The 2019 Bullitt does all that, including at least 15 additional horsepower compared to the 5.0-liter’s 460 hp.
By combining the GT Premium and Performance Package into the Bullitt, a lot of must-have options are already bundled in, including an active valve performance exhaust with black tips, heated leather steering wheel, limited-slip differential, performance suspension, and a 12-inch, all-digital LCD instrument cluster. Unlike the standard GT, that LCD screen has a Bullitt-exclusive start-up sequence that opens with signature Highland Green and an image of the car.
Visually, the Mustang Bullitt remains understated with minimal exterior badging. There’s no galloping pony to be found in the grille or anywhere else on the body. Instead the Bullitt logo adorns the center rear faux gas cap. There’s no spoiler, just the 19-inch, five-spoke black wheels, red brake calipers, and the Bullitt-exclusive black grille. Inside, the steering wheel features the Bullitt logo in place of the pony, and the seats, dash, center console, and door panels are highlighted with green stitching.
If, for some strange reason, you’d like to order your Bullitt in a color other than Dark Highland Green, you may select any current Mustang color. As long as it’s Shadow Black. Because it comes packed with features, in addition to the two color choices, the Bullitt will be available with only three additional options: black-trimmed Recaro seats, MagneRide semi-active suspension, and the Bullitt Electronics Package that includes blind spot warning, Cross-Traffic Alert, memory driver seat and mirrors, an upgraded audio system, and navigation.
All 2018 Mustang GTs benefit from direct injection in addition to revised port injection locations, a new cylinder head casting, and a bump in displacement, thanks to a 0.8mm-larger bore. That brings total displacement up to 307 cubic inches, and output in the standard GT is increased to 460 hp. However, the Bullitt borrows the GT350’s intake, with its slightly taller runners and an 87mm throttle body for increased airflow. Ford hasn’t released final power numbers yet, but the intake and Bullitt-exclusive tune is good for at least an additional 15 hp on the top end for at least 475 peak hp and the larger-volume runners didn’t put a damper on the torque output, as it remains at 420 lb-ft.
A comparably-equipped Mustang GT with Premium and Performance package costs about $46,000. The Bullitt has extras, plus a degree of exclusivity, which makes it difficult to guess the to-be-announced sticker price. We figure it will end up around $48,000, or possibly lower. Because current Mustang model years are one ahead of the calendar, the 2019 models, including the Bullitt, will be in dealerships later this year.