Eight hundred and twenty five horsepower. That’s more than eight typical Ford Fiestas, a McLaren 720S, Ferrari 812 Superfast or Lamborghini Aventador S. More than anything this side of a seven-figure hypercar, in fact. Hell, it’s even more than a 62-seat London Routemaster bus. Lucky the winter roads aren’t damp, then. Oh.
Meet the Ford Mustang Sutton CS800. This Frankenstang started life as a standard V8 GT coupe (say it “coop”) with a mere 416hp. Then Clive Sutton got involved, bolting on a stage-two Whipple supercharger, high-flow fuel injectors and a larger throttle body. The result squares up to anything from downtown Detroit, yet is right-hand-drive, UK spec and priced from £66,942. In terms of ponies per pound, that’s pretty much unbeatable.
If you spot any supersized pick-ups or US muscle cars rumbling through the City, there’s a good chance they’ve been supplied by Clive Sutton. I used to jog past his former showroom (on the corner of Regents Park, opposite Lord’s cricket ground), ogling the exotic imports wedged onto the forecourt. The site now belongs to Range Rover modifiers, Overfinch, but Clive remains London-based, and has expanded his business into a homegrown rival for Shelby and Saleen.
There are milder, saner options, but the CS800 is Sutton’s flagship. As well as that Top Trumps-trouncing 825hp, it boasts 640lb ft of torque (again, more than any of the thoroughbreds mentioned above) and an estimated top speed of 195mph. The 0-60mph sprint takes 3.8 seconds – but only on dry tarmac, obviously. And fuel economy? Reckon on 12mpg: about the same as that double-decker bus.
I can’t resist: I allow the V8 a few minutes to warm up, then bury my right size-eight. Woah! The wide rear tyres break traction and the CS800 steps sharply sideways. Lesson duly learned. Restrain your inner schoolboy, however, and the mega-Mustang proves surprisingly easy to drive. With so much low-down grunt, you can cruise around all day and never exceed 3,000 revs. Still, where’s the fun in that?
In truth, the Ford never feels as fast as its prodigious power output suggests; long gearing and a hefty kerb weight mean it takes time to get into its stride. You’ll hardly care, though – not when you’re rollin’ in your five-point-oh and it sounds this goddamn good. A pulsating rumble at idle swells to a deep-chested snarl, followed by a thunderous, surround-sound bellow. The noise of a hard-charging CS800 will bounce around your skull for hours.
The car comes as standard with coilover suspension and heated/cooled Recaro sports seats, although Sutton’s demonstrator is fully-loaded with a whopping £35,000 of extras. I’d pass on the stick-on rear window vents (which aren’t functional) and the underbody neons (a bit ‘McDonald’s drive-thru’), but would be sorely tempted by the £5,820 XForce exhaust. This is connected to a smartphone app, allowing you to alter the volume of the tailpipes according to throttle opening, engine rpm, speed and location. Want to make your Mustang louder within a mile-radius of your mother-in-law’s house? Swipe and it shall be done
The leafy lanes of Hertfordshire aren’t the Ford’s natural habitat and, with slightly woolly steering and an unsettled ride, it’s never going to match a McLaren on a British B-road. Yet that hardly matters: the CS800 is all about theatre. It’s the over-engined, muscle car experience in XXXL, a working-class hero that throws sand in the face of supercars. A BMW M4 is better in almost every respect, yet it won’t make you grin like the Sutton ’Stang. Oscar Wilde said that “nothing succeeds like excess”. He may have been right.