There can’t be many cars in this price range that can turn as many heads as the Ford Mustang.

This muscular monster has a striking modern look that somehow manages to integrate recognisably retro features – a hint of the Mustang’s place in US motoring folklore.

It’s a machine that puts a smile on people’s faces, and the sheer number of positive comments as I tested it in Bradford over the past week underlined that fact.

Most memorable among them was the van driver who shouted across to me while we were stuck in traffic on the M606 to say he’d driven one down the Pacific Coast of America a few years ago and would always regard it as “an amazing car”.

And his analysis of this 5-litre V8 powered icon was spot on.

The Mustang still has a rarity value on UK roads, although it has gradually become a more common sight on these shores since the first right-hand drive version of the model went on sale here in 2015.

The meaty soundtrack from the 412bhp engine is a joy to behold.

With a price tag of £38,095 for the Fastback version, rising to £43,095 for this convertible automatic variant, there’s no cheaper V8-powered car on sale in the UK.

The car’s most potent performance can be found high up the rev counter, so there’s no point being shy with the accelerator pedal if you’re looking for peak power.

However, a heavy right foot will inevitably result in an unpalatable number of trips to the petrol station, as there’s no escaping the fact that the engine is a fuel-swigging thirsty beast. The best economy I achieved was 24mpg, but the average was more like 22mpg.

This car also does a lot to disprove the theory that American muscle cars are fast so long as they’re going in a straight line, but pretty lousy if you want to steer them round a corner at pace.

Indeed, the current Mustang offers great handling capabilities and a comfortable ride, due to attention-to-detail in the engineering process that includes, crucially, independent suspension at all four corners.

It all amounts to a car that’s engaging to drive, not least when you put a large slice of that power down on the road through the rear wheels when you’re not going in a straight line. It takes a high degree of alertness to ‘catch’ the motion of the back end kicking out before it becomes irreversible.

Engine-wise, there’s a more sensible 313bhp 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder unit on offer to UK buyers, although the majority will surely be drawn towards the raucous rumble of the 5-litre option.

The standard transmission is a six-speed manual, but the automatic box, tested here, is a slick-shifting piece of kit.

Once inside, the cabin feels like a special place to be.

I’ve heard it said that some of the materials used in the cabin appear cheap, but that wasn’t something that occurred to me. Instead, I found an interior that was unfussy for the most part, but with touches of class interwoven.

Like, for example, the silver-coloured badge on the left hand side of the dash saying ‘Mustang since 1964’.

Or even the easy-to-use central display screen, which lights up in bright blue when you first get in to highlight a pony symbol.

The Ford SYNC 3.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system is the means for controlling the nine-speaker stereo with DAB and Bluetooth. There are also powered seats, a rear view camera, keyless entry and dual zone climate control.

The convertible version of the Mustang really came into its own in the type of sunny weather seen in Bradford throughout May, with the open-air option allowing for full appreciation of the engine note.

With its sumptuous silhouette and potent performance, the Mustang delivers a quite superb driving and lifestyle experience for anyone who sets foot inside one.

Ford Mustang GT convertible

PRICE: £43,095 on the road

ENGINE: 5-litre V8 petrol

ECONOMY: 22.1mpg combined

EMISSIONS: 289g/km

TOP SPEED: 155mph

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed auto with manual mode

Insurance group: 46E