The 1989 Mustang GT looked and felt the same as the 1988 Mustang because it was basically unchanged. That wasn’t a bad thing per se, because Ford really nailed the Mustang with the 1987 upgrades and saw no reason to change things given the strong response from consumers and motoring press alike.
The Mustang GT continued its duty in 1989 as the sport upgrade package for those Mustang buyers looking for something more special and powerful than the base Mustang. It’s biggest competition came from the new for 1989 LX 5.0L Sport package. The 1989 Mustang LX 5.0L Sport was a very interesting car. It offered much of the performance of the Mustang GT but in the LX body style for the 2-door coupe, hatchback, and convertible. It came with the awesome performance of the 5.0L GT engine and the taut handling of the GT suspension all wrapped up in the smooth styling of the LX.
The GT was made to be more aggressive than the base Mustang and the LX 5.0L Sport in the looks department. The front of the 1989 Mustang GT had the lower air-dam front valance and a grille-less nose clip and integrated round fog lamps. Air was ingested into the engine compartment through that wide intake located between the fog lights. Headlights were covered and there were small scoops on the front of each wheel well that also looked more aggressive and sporty.
Engine wise, the 5.0L stayed steady at 225 horsepower. Ford’s changes in 1987, including the following all stuck: electronic engine control module (EEC) and a change from a speed density system, which compared manifold pressure, vacuum and barometric pressure to the simpler and very accurate mass airflow system which calculated the airflow entering the engine as it passed over a heated wire. Ford also got rid of the emissions friendly high swirl heads for higher compression and better performing heads, increased the throttle body size for better breathing and reworked the exhaust system. The 5.0 liter engine saw low-end torque improve with these changes.
The changes combined with the engine improvements helped the overall driveability of the powerplant as well so Ford so no reason to change anything in 1988 as a result. We don’t blame them but we would still have loved to have seen some upgraded brakes.
In 1989, Motor Trend named the GT a “Top Ten Performance Car.”