Performance Pack 1 Mustang GT Manual: Budget GT350 in Hibernation?

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Ford’s S550 platform is extremely durable and modular, which is why the PP1 Mustang GT manual is your gateway to Shelby greatness.

The 10R80 transmission may be a testament to how far the automatic Mustang GT has come over the years, but no true Ford enthusiast can stay away from manual gearbox. Which is why the Kona Blue 2018 Mustang GT Manual with the Performance Pack 1 put a wide smile on our faces upon delivery. However, the PP1 on the manual GT differs from the automatic version in only one very crucial way: the differential.

The automatic version uses the 3.53 Torsen diff while the manual uses 3.73. Naturally, the 3.73 is reserved for the manual gearbox because it needs more power to the wheels, and putting it in the automatic would essentially be a waste. Before we get into performance talk however, let’s talk about how gorgeous this bruiser is.

2018 Mustang GT Manual w/ Performance Pack 1

Almost Naked

The manual Mustang GT has a spoiler delete, similar to the PP1 equipped EcoBoost we reviewed some time ago. This is listed under “Optional Equipment” on the Maroni, though we’re not exactly sure why. The spoiler itself is an option, so we don’t quite understand why this is even a thing. Shoulder shrugging aside, the Mustang GT posterior looks just as good naked as does dressed with a fancy decklid adornment.

2018 Mustang GT Manual w/ Performance Pack 1

As with the other PP1 equipped Mustangs, it’s got the same large front splitter and black 19-inch wheels with summer Pirellis. Admittedly, the black wheels on this Kona Blue Stang look better than any of the others we’ve been sent so far. They are especially complimentary to the deeper-toned blue paint, making it shadowy and nigh mysterious.

2018 Mustang GT Manual w/ Performance Pack 1

The interior is, well, as you’d expect: Black with white stitching. While we’d prefer the Grabber Blue stitching of the EcoBoost we reviewed, the color scheme still works nicely on this GT. As with the automatic Mustang GT and the EcoBoost, the dashboard has the same gorgeous brushed metal look, however the instrument cluster is digital like the EcoBoost. The shifter is nice and shiny, and it reflects sunlight onto the leather seats with a blissful gleam in an otherwise stoic-looking interior.

The shifter, however, is where driving takes on a whole new meaning for the S550 Mustang.


Derin Richardson is a seasoned editor who's worked in print and digital media since 2008. He earned his Bachelor of Arts at California State University, Fullerton, and is an avid fan of American muscle. He oversees content for The Mustang Source, Mustang Forums, Dodge Forum, MB World, JK-Forum and 5Series.

As the grandson of a former L.A. Fire Department mechanic, he's grown up around cars and trucks most of his life. Some of his fondest memories are the times he helped wrench on his grandfather's 1941 Ford Pickup, which he endearingly nicknamed "High Yeller."

He currently drives a Red Hot 2018 Chevrolet Camaro SS but appreciates anything with four wheels and a little rumble.

Derin can be reached at [email protected]

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