'11 Ford Mustang GT
The 5.0 is back. Every car guy in the world knows that by now, so we're not breaking new ground here. What we can give you is firsthand testimony on just how good the car is. CC doesn't normally review new cars, so we were totally surprised to receive an invitation from Ford to spend a couple of days driving the V-6 and V-8 versions through the Malibu canyons, arguably the best drivers' roads in the world. We can attest that the new Mustang is more than just a straight-line performer. It can straighten the curves with the best that Europe has to offer. In addition, the Ford engineers were proud to point to the multitude of improvements they made to the chassis, improving the rigidity and reducing road noise in the process. Audi was in its crosshairs when Ford designed the interior. As a result, the new Mustang's cabin is the nicest ever and a great place to spend time tearing up the road.
Don't worry-we aren't going all Motor Trend on you. The most important factor here is power. The '11 Mustang makes nearly 100 hp more than the '10 cars in V-6 and V-8 configurations. The eight-cylinder engine is finally a full 5 liters.
Though based on the existing modular architecture, this is a completely new engine-it's all aluminum and assembled at the Windsor, Ontario, engine plant. Bore and stroke measure 3.63 and 3.65 inches, respectively. With an 11.0:1 compression ratio and a 7,000-rpm redline, Ford rates the 5.0L engine at 412 hp and 390 lb-ft. It turns out the company fudged the numbers a bit: Motor Trend and Edmunds.com put new GTs on a chassis dyno, and the results show that these cars are putting nearly 400 hp at the wheels. With a 3,600-pound curb weight, it has a better power-to-weight ratio than the Challenger or Camaro.
The new 5.0 makes power so effortlessly, you won't notice just how badly you're exceeding the speed limit until you are going more than 100 mph (guess how we know). Just hope the other Five-0 aren't nearby when this happens.
What: '11 Ford Mustang GT
Engine: Aluminum block and heads, 4,951 cc/302 ci DOHC four valves per cylinder, variable cam timing on intake and exhaust cams, 412 hp at 6,500 rpm, 390 lb-ft at 4,250 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic or six-speed manual, limited-slip differential standard on all models.
Performance: According to Motor Trend, the manual transmission Mustang GT will reach 60 mph in a scant 4.4 seconds and conquer the quarter-mile in 12.7 seconds at 110.8. Compare that with 4.7/13.1 for the Camaro SS or 4.8/13.3 for the SRT8 Challenger (both also equipped with manual transmissions). So it's lighter and quicker, and with a base price of $30,495, the '11 Mustang GT is cheaper than the Camaro and Challenger. We can't wait to see how Dodge and Chevrolet respond.