Ford’s latest special-edition Mustang is the car of your California dreams

The 2019 Ford Mustang lineup is heavy on nostalgia. In addition to a special model commemorating the 50th anniversary of Bullitt, Ford is dredging up another name from the Mustang’s past. The Mustang GT California Special (or GT/CS for short) is making a return for the new model year after a one-year hiatus.

The California Special name dates back to 1968, when it was popular for dealers to create region-specific special editions. The first California Special borrowed styling cues from the 1967 Shelby GT notchback coupe prototype and became something of a cult classic. Ford revived the California Special in 2007 and has offered the model near continuously over the past decade.

Like previous California Specials, the 2019 model gets cosmetic changes for a sportier look. The changes include a fading stripe along the body sides, blacked-out grille, a new front splitter, and model-specific five-spoke wheels. On the inside, the California Special gets new Miko suede-trimmed seats. Naturally for a special edition, there is plenty of badging inside and out announcing the car’s identity.

The California Special is based on the Mustang GT, so it uses a 5.0-liter V8 with 460 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. That is the same output as the non-California Special Mustang GT. Buyers looking for more power can check out the 2019 Mustang Bullitt, which boasts 475 hp with the same torque output.

The Mustang got a major overhaul for the 2018 model year but, in addition to the California Special and Bullitt special editions, Ford is making a few more changes across the lineup for 2019.

Mustang GT models with the six-speed manual transmission (a 10-speed automatic is also available) and Performance Package get active rev matching, which automatically blips the throttle to make gear changes a bit easier. Mustangs equipped with the 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder engine get an active exhaust system like the one already offered on the GT. A new 12-speaker B&O Play audio system is also available on all Mustang variants, as well as three new colors: Velocity Blue, Need for Green, and Dark Highland Green — the same color worn by the 1968 Mustang that starred in Bullitt.

The 2019 Ford Mustang goes on sale this summer. Pricing for the California Special and other variants will be announced closer to launch. Looking further ahead, a new Shelby GT500 Mustang will launch next year with more than 700 hp, making it the most powerful Ford production car ever.


2020 Acura TLX PMC Edition is an ordinary sedan built in a supercar factory

What's so special about the 2020 Acura TLX PMC Edition? It's built at the Acura Performance Manufacturing Center, the Ohio factory that makes the NSX supercar. The TLX PMC Edition debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show.

Ford Mustang EcoBoost upgrade pulls serious performance from just four cylinders

The 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost gets a new "High Performance Package" that boosts output from the 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine to 330 horsepower, and adds suspension and brake upgrades.

2020 Nissan 370Z Special Edition celebrates 50 Years of the Z car

Nissan is celebrating 50 years of its iconic "Z car" with a special edition of the 2020 370Z. The 50th-anniversary model is dressed to look like a 1970s race car, but remains technically unchanged.

Dodge gets patriotic with Stars & Stripes Editions of Challenger and Charger

Dodge is waving the flag with military-themed special editions of the Challenger and Charger. The Stars & Stripes Editions debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show and will be available to order in May.

The 2020 Subaru Outback wants to take you to (and teach you about) the outdoors

The Outback is one of Subaru's most significant models, so the Japanese firm couldn't afford to make a mistake when it overhauled the model. The sixth-generation Outback is still rugged but more user-friendly than ever before.

2019 Audi TT RS gets subtle cosmetic surgery ahead of its trip to the Big Apple

The 2019 Audi TT RS gets a minor face-lift, but it keeps its signature turbocharged inline-five engine. The updated TT RS makes its United States debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show.

2020 Cadillac CT5 luxury sedan gets turbocharged power, chiseled looks

The 2020 Cadillac CT5 proves the General Motors luxury brand still cares about sedans. Debuting at the 2019 New York Auto Show, it features Cadillac's Super Cruise tech and a lineup of turbocharged engines.

The 2020 Toyota Yaris offers big car tech in a small, Mazda-flavored package

Toyota resurrected the Yaris nameplate with a little bit of help from Mazda. Closely related to the Mazda2, the hatchback now stands out with a sharper design than before, and tech features normally found on bigger, more expensive cars.

Drywall or kayaks? The 2020 Toyota Highlander is ready for your weekend plans

Toyota introduced the 2020 Highlander ahead of its public debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The fourth-generation Highlander is bigger than its predecessor, and it comes with more tech features, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

With drift mode, Kia’s Stinger GTS lets you unleash your inner hooligan

Debuting at the 2019 New York Auto Show, the limited-edition Kia Stinger GTS gets a trick all-wheel drive system that should enable plenty of sideways action. But only 800 buyers will get to try it.

Technology trickles down from above to make the new 2019 Audi Q3 smarter

The redesigned 2019 Audi Q3 makes its U.S. debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The firm's smallest SUV receives tech features like a virtual cockpit and a single screen variant of MMI Touch Response from bigger models.

Kia’s HabaNiro concept is an autonomous electric car that knows when you’re sad

Debuting at the 2019 New York Auto Show, the Kia HabaNiro concept is supposed to preview the future of the everyday car. That future will include artificial intelligence tech that can read the driver's emotions, according to Kia.

Mercedes-Benz will give the tech-savvy 2020 CLA more power at New York Auto Show

Mercedes-Benz introduced the second-generation CLA during CES 2019, and it will expand the lineup when it unveils a midrange model named CLA 35 at the upcoming 2019 New York Auto Show.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe gets a tech upgrade, keeps quirky styling

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show with an upgraded infotainment system that incorporates Mercedes' digital assistant. The SUV launches later this year with turbocharged four-cylinder power.