There is no car so loved by Americans, make that ‘Murrrricans, as the Ford Mustang. And for 2015, just as the perennial pony car celebrated its 50th birthday, it has been redesigned and reengineered into the best damn pony car in history, or at least the best damn pony car with Bluetooth, navigation, and other nods to modernity that the car’s father, Lee Iacocca, could never have conceived of back in 1964.

The view over its long, phallic hood can be, um, arousing, and it’s more than a little fun to watch it rise as the back end squats under full throttle, to say nothing of the formidable thrust that accompanies it when all 435 horses are galloping at full speed. It can hit 60 mph in just four and a half seconds (according to my other employer, Car and Driver), and the action of its gearshift, which looks like a leather-wrapped cue ball, is nice and notchy. Even better, the clutch won’t brutalize your left calf after leg day. And the sound that accompanies a full-tilt launch is utterly inebriating.

Just as nice as all that is the fact that, now more than ever, the Mustang is a genuinely nice car. Not a car that looks good and goes fast and therefore helps you overlook flaws like crappy seats or shoddy quality; it’s a seriously nice car, whether you choose the coupe or the convertible. Ford’s SYNC infotainment system works well once you learn it, and the quality is right up there with some of the best American, ahem, ‘Murrrrrican cars you around. The price has crept up to Audi levels if you want the gutsy V-8, which, frankly, I can’t imagine owning a Mustang without. And for the first time, it comes with an automatic transmission that doesn’t suck the life out of the car. But if it was my car, I’d choose the big fat stick.

2015 Ford Mustang
Base Price: $32,925
Power: 5.0-liter V-8 (435 hp, 400 lb-ft of torque)
Transmission: 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic
Fuel Economy, city/hwy mpg (EPA est): 15/25

Or you could buy:
Chevrolet Camaro SS
Dodge Challenger R/T
BMW M235i

Renowned automotive journalist Steve Siler pioneered automotive writing for the GLBT community in 1998 and currently contributes auto news and reviews to Car and Driver Magazine, Yahoo Autos, The New York Daily News, Autoblog, Details, and many more. You can follow his adventures on Twitter/Instagram: @silerroad.