By on March 31, 2010

Powered By Ford. There’s something special about those words, something iconic, something that evokes a grand American scope, from the first cross-country trips in a Model T to a majestic GT40 hammering down the rain-soaked Mulsanne straight. Powered by Ford. It’s the logo stamped into the cam covers of the five-liter Mustang, but you won’t need to raise the hood to understand what it means. The first time this majestic engine swallows through its thirty-two adjustably timed valves and bellows a crescendo through its twin exhaust, it will be more than crystal clear.

Down Topanga Canyon Road, I can see the road is clear several switchbacks below. I loaf along, watching and timing, waiting for the moment when I have seen everything before me. Then I drop to third gear and let this new 2011 Mustang sing to seven thousand revs. The acceleration is shocking, as is the maddened “whoop” which fills the cabin. In no time my co-driver and I have swallowed seas of traffic, fast-forwarding the windshield view to a blur, an F-15 in a sky of Cessnas. I could go on, but this is TTAC and therefore convention requires that I discuss price and value.

The price is pretty good. Under thirty grand puts you into a 5.0. Equip the car with the bare necessities — Brembo front brakes, 3.73 axle, and a deleted rear spoiler — and the cash register rings to the tune of $32,980. This is the equivalent of Frank Bullit’s old 390GT, but make no mistake: with a conservatively-rated 412 horsepower, this car would rip the lungs from the Highland Green hubcap-eater. E92 M3 owners should worry. C5 Z06 pilots will need to find a twisty road lest they be run nose-to-tail down long freeway sprints.

Not that this revamped Mustang is helpless or hopeless on those twisty roads. As with the Mercedes SL, the faster variants are increasingly numb at the helm due to greater engine weight. Consider this the SL63 of the range; strong enough for virtually any fast-road duty but without the extra weight and ponderousness of the forced-induction version. Turn-in is light but feedback through the EPAS is surprisingly good, no doubt aided by the 19-inch P-Zero Neros. Nineteens are standard on Brembo-package cars and the California Specials. I’d prefer to combine the lighter eighteen-inch wheels with the Brembos, even at the sacrifice of 235-width tires against the 245-width big-wheels, but Ford does not offer that particular combination.

Once in the turn, the five-liter is torquey enough to adjust the cornering attitude at will. I suspect that the stability control intervenes when brakes are applied, even when it’s supposedly turned all the way off. With that said, I’m not a newspaper journo and it’s not really in my bag of tricks to stomp the brake in mid-corner. Left-foot braking into the corner is dicey enough; the Brembos are nice but they are still two sizes too small for a car of this performance potential.

It is nearly impossible to overstate the sheer charisma of this engine. Dyed-in-the-wool import snobs will simply adore the way it builds power along the rev range. It feels like the big-money four-or-five-liter engines from Audi, BMW, and Jaguar, but there’s an American helping of torque thanks to the Ti-VCT clever cams.

While the original Fox GT 5.0 was in many ways simply a flexible platform for a sterling engine, however, this Mustang continues Ford’s march of refinement. NVH is down. Interior quality is up, measurably so in these pre-production cars compared to the GT 4.6 I drove last year. SYNC is available and recommended to all but the most feverish of Luddites. The “MyKey” electronic nanny is available as well, but no amount of technology will keep teenagers from dying in this car if the conditions are wrong. It’s simply too quick to be entrusted to the inexperienced.

The rest of the car is a Mustang, and more or less as we know it: shiny metal interior, vaguely retro styling laid atop decidedly retro packaging, low seating position, decent visibility, and stronger-than-Corolla inputs required at all controls. As with the V-6, there’s a bit of a fuel-economy story here: twenty-six miles per gallon for a stick-shift with the standard rear axle.

There are few things about this car that will not be apparent during a casual test drive, and it is worth passing them along to TTAC readers. These Mustangs don’t feel natural to those of us used to perching over transverse motors in a cab-forward arrangement, but after a few dozen miles one adjusts very well and begins to enjoy being in the longitudinal center of the car. This is a fast, competent, well-sorted performance car that delivers M3-level performance at half the price. That will seal the deal for many drivers, even initially skeptical ones, but I cannot lie: they had me at “Powered”.

[Jack Baruth attended the launch for the Mustang, which was paid for by Ford]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

92 Comments on “Review: 2011 Ford Mustang GT...”


  • avatar
    relton

    This is why people will still buy the V8 Mustangs, no matter how much sense the V6 makes.

    Bob

  • avatar

    Kudos to Ford for developing a new V8 rather than using an EcoBoost V6. The V6 could no doubt have been tuned to produce at least as much power–I suspect its output is limited to preserve the transaxle in current applications–but the sound and feel would have been far different. And enough people still realize that numbers aren’t everything.

    Now if only they’d managed to remove a couple of inches from the rear overhang.

    The 2005 and up Mustangs have continued to do well in TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey, so there should be few worries about reliability:

    http://www.truedelta.com/car-reliability.php?stage=pt&bd=Ford&mc=92

    The engine is new, but it’s not often that a manufacturer mucks up an engine these days.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The Mustang does need to offer a V8.

      However, I’m still holding out a small hope that Ford eventually offers an Ecoboost 3.5L or 3.7L for the car.

      Currently, the Ecoboost does come up way short in sound department, but if GM could make 3.8L turbos sound good in the 80s, I hope Ford could do same thing today in a Mustang application.

    • 0 avatar
      thenenini

      so long as there is a mustang, it will have a v-8. If not, the world most assuredly must be coming to an end. come on, an eco boost v-6 instead of a v-8. are you mad?

  • avatar
    Z72_Silvy

    Nice engine improvement for Ford over the never-should-have-been-implemented, large, heavy, underpowered boat anchor Modular series motors.

    However, how does Ford justify the cost of the Coyote engine which will only be used in the Mustang GT which is an extremely low seller?

    As a Z06 owner, I wouldn’t be worried about the ’11 Mustang GT. Ridiculous in even mentioning the two vehicles in the same paragraph.

    • 0 avatar

      You gotta be kidding – “never-should-have-been-implemented, large, heavy, underpowered boat anchor Modular series motors” – where do you think Ford got the knowledge and experience to build the brilliant new 5.0 and 6.2 liter engines? Perhaps from 15 years of modular motor experience. No, they weren’t ever as powerful as the die-hards like us wanted but they sold millions of vehicles equipped with them. Lots of those sold lead hard lives in the hands of cops, taxi drivers and people who use their trucks for a living, and there have never been quality or reliability big issues, that I know of.

      The Z06 comment was referring to the C5 versions that had 385 and 405 HP – I would wager the new GT could keep up pretty well with those Vettes.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      I was under the impression that the Coyote will be in the F-series as well, in 5.0l and 6.2l guise.

      Why wouldn’t this new Mustang keep up with a C5 Z06 prior to lots of turns? It may be heavier, but it’s putting out more power (and according to Edmunds.com is underrated from the factory).

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      “What is a Z72 Silverado?”

      A troll with way to much time on it’s hands.

      ————————

      Ford finally has a competent V8…now they need to fix the rest of the Mustang. It’s overpriced (in GT form), the look are Toyota bland, and the interior is a big snooze and looks about as nice as the current Focus interior.

      I do like that it has LED rear lighting. Interesting that Ford could figure out how to put LEDs on a Mustang but not a $45K Taurus…

    • 0 avatar

      Z72_Silvy said:
      “As a Z06 owner, I wouldn’t be worried about the ‘11 Mustang GT. Ridiculous in even mentioning the two vehicles in the same paragraph.”

      Car and Driver lists 1/4 mile time for a C5 Z06 of 13.0 sec at 112 mph and roadholding of .93g
      They have the new Mustang GT at 13.2 sec at 109 mph with roadholding of .94g.

      Well, there I go, mentioning them in the same paragraph again.

      Sorry.

    • 0 avatar

      If I were a Z06 owner, I’d be starting to worry about resale value. 400+ horsepower for $30k — with a real interior and chassis, from a company that is on a huge quality-improvement rampage — is going to make a lot of used cars look a lot less interesting.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      Fair enough Z71_Silvy… sorry for any implications thinking it was you. I disagree with alot of your comments, but at least they weren’t as asinine as Z72′s. Still, you gotta admit, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

    • 0 avatar
      Z72_Silvy

      “What is a Z72 Silverado?”

      A troll with way to much time on it’s hands.

      Oh c’mon Matt, when we were at lunch the other day, you said you weren’t going to throw me under the bus :)

    • 0 avatar
      h82w8

      Ok, let’s do an apple-to-apples motor comparison. I’ll even humor you and not mention the Z*# version of the plastic fantastic car-that-shall-not-be-mentioned-in-the-same-breath as the lowly “Mustang”.

      Let’s compare this new 5.0 liter Mustang GT to the standard 2009/2010 ‘Vette with the 430 HP 6.2L motor. The only apples-to-apples way to do this is to compare horsepower per liter of displacement, since the Mustang is “only” 5.0 liters, and the ‘Vette is 1.2 liters larger displacement, at 6.2 liters (both naturally aspirated, of course):

      ‘Vette: 430 HP / 6.2 L = 69.35 HP per liter
      ‘Stang: 412 HP / 5.0 L = 82.4 HP per liter

      This implies that a similarly tuned 6.2 Ford ‘Coyote’ motor would make about 510 HP, which is about what the 2009 7.0 Liter Z06 makes in absolute HP, but which is only 72.1 HP per liter…Oops! My bad for mentioning that Z*# name and Mustang together.

      But really, the standard Vette is a better comparison because we’re talking standard GT Mustang, not some hopped-up Shelby version or whatever. Speaking of which, I read somewhere that the new Shelby GT350 is expected to make around 500 supercharged HP from its 5.0 liters, which implies about 100 HP per liter; by comparison the ‘Vette ZR1 7.0 Liter supercharged motor makes 636 HP, or “only” 90.8 HP per liter.

      OMG! I just mentioned a ZR1 Corvette and a Mustang in the same sentence! Send me to ‘Vette disser’s Gitmo…

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Dorri,
      http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/car/01q4/2002_chevrolet_corvette_z06-short_take_road_test

      12.7 for the 2001 and 12.4 for the 2002. .5 seconds is a lot to make up in the 1/4 mile. The Mustang has a huge weight disadvantage and a small HP advantage.

      The Mustang GT won’t be coming up on any C5 Z06′s and running them down as the article suggests. It is closer to running down a regular C5. It isn’t in the C5 Z06 range at all.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      @h82w8:

      I don’t see the need for the HP/L argument.

      The Corvette uses OHV engines, the Mustang gets DOHC engines. The OHV design always gives a lower HP/L number. The engines both weigh about the same: The Coyote 5.0L weighs 430 pounds, while The LS3 weighs 424 pounds.

      If you look at GM’s DOHC engines, the supercharged Northstar gets 469hp out of 4.4L or 106.5 HP/L. The LLT gets 304hp out of 3.6L or 84.4 HP/L. Hell, the crummy 3.0L makes 90 HP/L in CTS trim.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      While I realize styling is subjective, there is nothing bland or camry-esque about the Mustang. The 2010 styling update was minor compared to the previous one, but all in all the changes work and do make the car look better, more athletic, and more modern. I’ve had people say they don’t like how the tail-lights turn at an angle, but to me that is one of the best parts of the new design, it makes the car look more refined and less brutish than before.

      As far as the interior goes, you can actually get a pretty decent interior in the right Focus, at least for the class. An SES or SEL with the charcoal black interior looks pretty slick for an economy car. The Mustang is a far cry from the Focus though. The only area where it feels a bit cheap is on the tops of the interior lower door portion (the part just bedlow the window on the inside), and the only reason I notice is because I like to drive with the driver’s side window down and my arm resting there, everything else is very high quality, soft touch material with good graining and nice tight panel gaps. If you spec the right color combination it is also far from boring, the contrast stitching really makes it looks upscale, and the interior upgrade package with the highlight color stripes is very sharp. (although again, there are a few wackos out there who don’t think the contrasting stitching looks good, but no matter what you do there are going to be a few idiots you can’t please).

      I’ll take mine in Red Candy Metallic with the Brick Red interior leather with cashmere piping please.

    • 0 avatar

      “Ok, let’s do an apple-to-apples motor comparison. I’ll even humor you and not mention the Z*# version of the plastic fantastic car-that-shall-not-be-mentioned-in-the-same-breath as the lowly “Mustang”.

      Let’s compare this new 5.0 liter Mustang GT to the standard 2009/2010 ‘Vette with the 430 HP 6.2L motor. The only apples-to-apples way to do this is to compare horsepower per liter of displacement, since the Mustang is “only” 5.0 liters, and the ‘Vette is 1.2 liters larger displacement, at 6.2 liters (both naturally aspirated, of course):

      ‘Vette: 430 HP / 6.2 L = 69.35 HP per liter
      ‘Stang: 412 HP / 5.0 L = 82.4 HP per liter

      This implies that a similarly tuned 6.2 Ford ‘Coyote’ motor would make about 510 HP, which is about what the 2009 7.0 Liter Z06 makes in absolute HP, but which is only 72.1 HP per liter…Oops! My bad for mentioning that Z*# name and Mustang together.

      But really, the standard Vette is a better comparison because we’re talking standard GT Mustang, not some hopped-up Shelby version or whatever. Speaking of which, I read somewhere that the new Shelby GT350 is expected to make around 500 supercharged HP from its 5.0 liters, which implies about 100 HP per liter; by comparison the ‘Vette ZR1 7.0 Liter supercharged motor makes 636 HP, or “only” 90.8 HP per liter.

      OMG! I just mentioned a ZR1 Corvette and a Mustang in the same sentence! Send me to ‘Vette disser’s Gitmo…”

      Hate to wait,

      Your reply to Z72′s post is so full of errors, I actually thought I was reading a Motor Trend article for a moment!

      Others have already pointed out the fallacy of your HP/L argument….the new Ford 5.0 motor is spectacular, no doubt, but it weighs approximately the same amount as a 6.2 or 7 L LS3/LS7.

      Anyway, extrapolating power output from the 4V 5.0 to the upcoming 6.2L Ford truck motor is completely lacking in logic. One is a DOHC revver, the other a SOHC 2V torquer. No comparison there, unless Ford surprises us and makes a 6.2HO….now that would be HOT!

      Finally, the new ZR1 has a supercharged 6.2L LS9, not a 7 liter. The 7.0L LS7 is in the naturally aspirated LS7.

      OK…fact check off….cya!

  • avatar
    PeregrineFalcon

    I demand video.

    Okay, audio is really what I’m after. Let’s hear that soundtrack.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    Really enjoyed the review Jack. Makes me want to give the wife the Outback, screw utility needs (which the Outback does well with), screw the kid’s college funds (they’re toddlers, we can save later), and get this Mustang. Oh, and screw the wife because she would ask:
    1- why not a convertible
    2- why not the leather
    3- why that color
    4- who so fast?
    5- why so fast?
    6- how do you work the radio?
    7- why so fast?
    8- can i drive it to work
    9- the kids and all their stuff doesn’t fit, we better get another subaru.

    Maybe I’ll hold off and check out the mint 98 Cobra for sale down the road. Not the same, but still a looker to me.
    Either way, time to dump the Volvo…I keep trying to make it die, damned thing won’t, it just keeps spooling up and taking off.

    • 0 avatar

      Oh, and screw the wife

      Is this TTAC or Craigslist?

      Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    • 0 avatar
      polska

      You can do plenty with your boxy volvo to get more power – check out all the engine swaps people are doing in the internet forums. Volvos are easy for engine swaps. It might not be ever be as fast as the new Mustang, but it will be a lot cheaper, more unique, and plenty fast. It might get past the wife.

  • avatar

    Hello Mustang 5.0. Maybe I’ll see you in two years on the used market. Stay sexy.

  • avatar
    FleetofWheel

    A notch back version would make the fastback version more appealing in the same way that the existence of brunettes enhances the appearance of blondes.
    Variety, contrast, variations on an already good theme.

  • avatar
    441Zuke

    I am about to graduate from college (finally) and i have thought a lot about what kind of car i would love for a second non daily driver car and i think this car would be amazing….. used.

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    26 MPG highway out of a >410 HP v8 in a heavy car? Wow…

  • avatar

    The new Mustang 5.0 actually starts at $30,495, and climbs very quickly with options (Porsche would be proud). For example to have Brembos and performance tires like the Camaro SS comes standard with will run you an additional $1,695. Edmunds also track tested a new 5.0 with popular options (Brembos, HIDS, nav) and the MSRP was a lofty $40,035. Not exactly cheap.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      Which makes a fully loaded Mustang GT then same price as a decently configured BMW 328 coupe. If you consider the import alternatives, that is still good value. Resale value, however, may or may not be an issue.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s also worth pointing out that an equivalent Camaro 2SS/RS manual comes in at an MSRP of $35,995.

      The Camaro is a much newer design from the ground-up (the Mustang is a refresh with a new V8 of the same car Ford has been selling since 2005) and the Camaro has IRS.

      To get a Camaro to $40k you would have to check off a few cheesy dealer accessories on Chevrolet’s website.

    • 0 avatar
      PennSt8

      If I’m not mistaken the Mustang comes with a lot of equipment that cannot be had on the Camaro, hence the additional price. Leave off unnecessary options and you end up with a vehicle priced in the mid 30s. If this were a Porsche there would be 1000 different options that when checked would cause the sticker price to swell some 20-30K over the base MSRP.

      What is it with folks expecting everything for peanuts. A 370z Touring/Sport optioned to the hilt clears 40K.

      And really who cares how “new” the Camaro is? New doesn’t necessarily mean better…

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The problem with the Camaro is that you give up an awful lot of livability for chassis differences that most people don’t notice. The same was the case with the Fox-body Mustang versus the F-Bodies: the Camaro was always the better technical car, but the Mustang you could live with daily.

      That’s the case here: the Camaro has awful sightlines, questionable ergonomics, the worlds most useless trunk and not a lot of rear-seat space. The people who will fuel the sales of these cars en masse will not appreciate the Zeta’s advantages.

      Pity you can’t get the G8 any more: it was altogether the best take on the platform.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Thanks for both of your excellent reviews of these cars (yesterday’s of the V-6 version and today’s). The first photo of this car looks especially handsome. I owned one of what you call the “Fox 5.0″ GTs — from 1987 (new) until 1992, when I traded it on a SHO. The contrasts between that car and this (as you describe it) are indeed striking. The 5-liter pushrod V-8 was “all finished” at a little over 4,000 rpm; going for the redline at 5,000 just brought more noise, not more power. That said, it was a stout engine that pulled like a tractor at any rpm below that and certainly made all of the right noises (in fact, the entire car interior throbbed at triple digit speeds). It is nice to see that Ford now has a engine that pulls just as hard and sounds just as good as the one from 25 years ago, but keeps on pulling above 4,000 rpm. The ’87 had to be driven with healthy respect. While a fundamentally understeering car, a little exuberance with the throttle in a turn broke the ’87′s rear end loose, especially if the roatd wasn’t smooth. The disc/drum brake combination in the ’87 was criminally inadequate. At speeds above 80 mph, you didn’t brake, you just slowed down . . . no matter how much pedal pressure you applied. With no ABS, I suspect the problem was the brakes were set up so that the rears did almost nothing . . . to avoid the possiblity of rear-wheel lockup and a spin.

    And I won’t even talk about the two-tone lower body cladding and the big rear spoiler on the ’87. I called it my “redneck ride.”

    Despite its flaws, the ’87 defined the term “cheap thrills” and it was stone reliable in my 5 years of ownership.

    The new car sounds like it’s better in every respect, and with the recent sterling reliability record of other newly-introduced Ford products, I’m optimistic that it will be just as reliable, too.

    Thanks to your review, I want one. Congratulations on two excellent reviews.

  • avatar
    matt

    Are the seats any better than in the 2010? I was really impressed with the 2010 GT that I drove recently, but the “sport” seats were laughable. Why can’t an American OEM put a decent pair of seats in a car?

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Why can’t an American OEM put a decent pair of seats in a car?

      Surprisingly, GM did just that with Saturn Ion Red Line: Recaros, and nice ones at that. I think the supercharged Cobalt SS had the same seats, but I don’t recall.

  • avatar
    Toyondai92

    I want one… In about five years when I’m out of college and depreciation has taken its toll. Hopefully these 5.0s are as reliable as the Modular motor they’re (loosely) based on. Until then, I’ll drool at the dealer. (And try to convince my parents that Ford isn’t a bad word.)

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Ditto on the request for a soundtrack of the engine. The V6 appears to be the better value, but if the V8 (or 5.0) is that drop dead sexy sounding, man, what a choice!

  • avatar

    Man, I can’t wait for the 5.0 direct injection motor to make it in the Stang. Or any Ford product, I guess. Land Rover and Jaguar don’t deserve all that fun. Or any of it.

    • 0 avatar
      h82w8

      Sajeev….DI (and forced induction) look to be on the horizon for the Coyote in the future, based on engineer comments. Really detailed technical review of the new Coyote 5.0 along with lots of engineer comments over on the Mustang50Magazine.com web site: http://bit.ly/cn7ECJ

      As an aside….the engineers admit that the 5.0′s weakest link are its forged powdered metal con rods – they say more than adequate for naturally aspirated duty, but not robust enough for forced induction. No doubt a calculated cost saving measure – like putting off DI into the future – to get the new 5.0 out the door at a profitable volume price point.

  • avatar
    MidLifeCelica

    Like DC Bruce, I once owned an old (’85) Mustang 5.0 GT. Also known as the ‘Widowmaker’ or ‘Death Trap’. In the summer heat it was a fun, fast car, but as a daily driver in the winter it was pure hell. Even with four winter tires and 4 sandbags in the hatch, I could never get any traction. I got stuck in a 7-11 parking lot once, unable to climb the 5% grade to the exit. When traffic lights turned green, the back end would do a greasy slide sideways rather than propel the car forward. The weight distribution felt like 80/20 with that big motor in the front. No car I’ve ever owned before or since ever hit so many things, got hit by others, or did 360′s on off ramps like that car.

    But if Jack Baruth thinks this car handles OK, maybe it’s time to stifle my Mustangophobia and visit my nearest Ford dealer.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I remember this complaint from 5.0 owners in my area and the solution is very simple:

      Snow tires!

      I’ve seen Fox-body 5.0s do reasonably well, but it’s a rare owners that put proper tires on them. I didn’t often see them on F-Bodies, either.

      It doesn’t help you in a summer rainstorm, but hey…

    • 0 avatar
      MidLifeCelica

      Umm… “Even with four winter tires and 4 sandbags in the hatch”. Calgary winters were always long and cruel. Residents there spend more time on winter tires than summer tires by a wide margin.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      At least you get the periodic chinook in Calgary, where something may actually melt. If you want long and cruel, come to Regina, or Winnipeg, for that matter.

      Long and cruel example: Regina is where it will warm up for 2 days in March, things will start to melt, and then it’ll go back down to -5 and you get to stare at the snow and say “melt, damn you!”

      Not that I’ve ever done that…

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      My bad. My only excuse is that I was reading the story on a BlackBerry while waiting for a train and wasn’t paying attention.

    • 0 avatar
      MidLifeCelica

      I would never claim Calgary could out-do winters in Regina or Winnipeg! I still remember my cross-country move from Alberta to Nova Scotia in February of ’91. My God, Manitoba is bleak that time of year. The snow blowing over the highway at 80kph and -40C made me think of those Antartic documentaries where the explorers are caught in a storm and found frozen a decade later…brrrr.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      Just some good-natured prairie ribbing, people, nothing more!

      Where’s Monty, to tell us, “aww, that’s nothin’!”

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Amen to that! When the car was new and had the stock Goodyear VR Eagle “gatorbacks” I got caught in an early November unpredicted snowstorm (it never snows before Thanksgiving in metro DC; predictions were for rain). I wasn’t prepared nor were the local highway departments, for a very wet snow that packed down quickly into greasy ice. I pride myself in getting a car — any car — moving through the slippery stuff having learned my trade on RWD sedans with bias-ply tires in the 1960s. Nevetheless, this was a real challenge. The locking rear diff locked both wheels, so the engine torque threw the back end of the car to the left. And first gear in this car (it was a manual) was so high that you could not drive the car at less than 10 mph without slipping the clutch. The result was me going down the road crabwise, pointed 45 degrees off my direction of travel. Somehow I managed to return from my business in the Va. suburbs to my office in DC, where I promptly parked the car in the garage and took public transport home.

      Chastened by the experience and with Z-rated snows unavailable at the time, I bought a set of “cable chains.” They made only a slight improvement.

      The car was basically undriveable in snow.

      In the rain, when the rear tires got worn (but certainly not down to the treadwear indicators) too much exuberance with the throttle in 3rd gear at 30 mph going up a hill could easily induce wheelspin.

      Like I said, you had to drive this car with respect. It was a challenge to drive this car fast. Although not as straight-line fast, the Taurus SHO that I replaced this car with was faster over the ground because it was more predictable and you didn’t have to protect yourself from the car that much. It’s brakes, however, were hardly better. At least I got aftermarket discs that didn’t warp.

  • avatar
    ConejoZing

    “This is a fast, competent, well-sorted performance car that delivers M3-level performance at half the price.”

    Very nice, comparatively affordable Mustang there. Soon, Fiesta time. Ford is making smart moves lately, not just bold ones.

    • 0 avatar
      Pyrium

      I live in Fairbanks, Ak. It gets to -60 F here sometimes and stays around -25 to -30 a lot. Mustangs are every where with Blizzaks on them. My fiancee is trying to convince me to get rid of the Mazda 3s and my RX-8 for one of these. I want one but not until a better brake package and an IRS. That is why I got out of my 02 GT and into my 04 RX-8.

  • avatar
    dswilly

    This car makes no sense in my now family dominated life, But I think it’s a beautiful hammer that I want in my tool box, live axle and all. And that’s exactly what Ford wants it to be.

  • avatar
    isucorvette

    Dorri732

    You are wrong on your stats, C&D rates a 2002 C5 Z06 at 12.4 @ 116. Ask any racer to drop .8 seconds in the 1/4 and it’ll cost you some dough. And the Z06 is closer to 1G not .92 like you mention, I think you are using the stock C5 stats.

    I drive an ’02 C5Z and I’m not the least bit worried of these new 5 liters on the 1/4 mile track nor the autocross course.

  • avatar
    mistrernee

    “Equip the car with the bare necessities — Brembo front brakes, 3.73 axle, and a deleted rear spoiler ”

    That is exactly the car I want, down to the colour (Kona Blue).

    I might have to make due with the V6 though, GT is too much of a premium over the 6 in Canada.

  • avatar
    NickR

    “and a deleted rear spoiler”

    Hurray. Apart from the engine itself, probably the most important option. I hate those things.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      After the death of the LX (which you could order GT type equipment in a slightly less flashy package) Ford had a “GT delete” package in the early part of the ’00. You would get a GT but the only external clue that it was a GT was the dual exhast tips.

    • 0 avatar
      Ion

      I believe you’re thinking of the GTS, which was 95-96. It wasn’t a popular option but I suspect that dealers may have had a hand in that since it credited people who selected it.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      while I actually think the Mustang spoilers are attractive, give me an option like that today. None of the unnecessary bull, just the big engine, good suspension, and manual transmission. If I’m hot I’ll roll down the windows. I know it wouldn’t be popular, hell, make people special order it and wait 6 weeks to get it. If it gives you a nice fat discount on the car, I’ll take it!

  • avatar
    BMWfan

    “delivers M3-level performance at half the price.”

    In a straight line, perhaps. In reality, it is like comparing a machete to a scalpel. I really do appreciate that an American manufacturer is getting closer to manufacturing a truly great car, but they still have a looong way to go to get to the precision of a BMW. Before I purchased my BMW, I would never have thought that a car could feel so right. I must say though that Ford has really surprised me. I have no doubt that they will survive the current slump in sales, and that cars like this will finally, mercifully, put the final nail in GM’s coffin

    • 0 avatar
      PennSt8

      “In a straight line, perhaps. In reality, it is like comparing a machete to a scalpel.”

      How are you so sure about that? Don’t get me wrong I am by no means advocating that the Mustang GT is a M3 “killer”, but from the reviews that I’ve read: it stops just as good as the M3, goes just as fast as a the M3 and just comes short of handling the twisties as well as the M3.

      I’d rather pocket the 25K difference…..

    • 0 avatar

      Reviewers have been writing these kinds of things about every new American car for years, that’s never really the case. The Mustang 5.0 is no different. German cars have that precision feel and exude engineering quality throughout, something that American manufacturers (or any really) have never aped.

      Yes, the Mustang can put up some good numbers. But what you don’t get in print (and what often isn’t written about a car when it’s new and the manufacturer paid you to be there) is how a car feels when hustled. The Mustang is not a poor man’s M3, not even close. The Mustang isn’t anywhere in the same universe as an M3 in the twisties. It can handle, but it’s a completely different sensation through the wheel. The machete vs scalpel comparison is a good one.

      For whatever it’s worth the 5.0 is also over 1mph slower through the slalom than the new Camaro SS, another car that is a handler and it feels a bit more teutonic due to it’s steering feel, well-tuned IRS suspension and extremely rigid and new body structure. But you still wouldn’t mistake it for anything German. Same with the CTS-V and so fourth.

      That’s not a bad thing either. Being German or Germanic is not the stuff of which all great cars are made. American cars can be just as epic being themselves and proudly American, like the Mustang, or Corvette, or CTS-V, or Ford GT, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        SRTCRUZIN

        Okay… I’ll go out and say it… YES, with the 28k I save on a GT Premium Mustang Vs an M3 BMW… that yes it is an M3 Killer.

        And my choices are…

        with the money saved, buy a second Mustang or

        put it into the owned Mustang and wind up with a Z06 killer too.

        Think about it… that’s 28k. … A whipple supercharger runs about 8k. SKS Turbos about the same… so you could create a frankenstang with double boosting then ramp up the suspension or even for another 8k get a complete IRS package for those who make that a sticking point.. those who know better find it a moot point. But still…. revise the exhaust and add a really sticky set of wheels….

        Bye bye M3 and Hello Z06.

        And it’s still less than a Z06… So if you want to keep going until you’ve matched price again then I suppose you could make a freakin super stang.

        As a foundation for something really awesome…this new stang is the perfect launching pad for so many things. Or a budget class american sports car with muscle, too.

    • 0 avatar
      PennSt8

      And you’ve had hours behind the wheel to confirm that?

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Very nice upgrades on the Stang. To have so much more power and better mileage too is having your cake and eating it too. Kudos to Ford for pulling this off so effectively!

  • avatar
    h82w8

    This and Jack’s V6 2011 ‘Stang review are typical Baruth: Well written, entertaining reviews by a driver’s driver posing as auto journo (and a damned fine one at that) vs. the other way around.

    Now, back to work so’s I can (maybe someday) afford to put one of these in my garage.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    The numbers I have read suggest that this car is no where near C5 Z06 territory in a straight line. With a minimal HP advantage and a large weight disadvantage, it isn’t close to those marks yet.

  • avatar
    narshadda

    I currently own a 2008 Mustang GT and the comments about a Stang coming up on a C6 z06 are rediculous. The only time I ever even came close to keeping up with a Z06 in my car was when the car had a 150 shot of Nitrous with full bolt ons(430/512 RWHP/RWTQ).
    The big thing about the mustang is how many aftermarket parts are available and how much bang for the buck you get on performance.

    A moderately modified mustang with 4.10 gears can put down consistant mid 12 second 1/4 mile times which bests both the C6 corvette and the c5 z06. And this is in humid SFL weather on street tires. With that being said, 1/4 mile isn’t everything and the mustang will require quite a bit of suspension modifications to get it there.

    What people fail to realize is that you take your $32k mustang and add $3k in performance goodies and you’ll be smoking vettes left and right.

    Stock for stock though, its not a fair comparison and the Mustang is a car for mustang owners. Once you drive a mustang for the first time, you’ll understand why all us mustang owners become die hard fanatics. The 2011 model is no exception.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    These 2011 Mustang reviews have been nothing but good news. Considering how cynical these reviewer normally are, I have to admit that even I am excited about this new car after reading them.

    Who is the market here, or is this a halo car?

  • avatar
    pb35

    Like others have posted here, my first new car was a Scarlet Red 87 GT. Now, in middle age, this will be my midlife crisis car.

    You can’t compare a Mustang to any other car. I’ll probably drive the Camaro, I grew up in a Mopar family so owning a Challenger (‘Cuda, actually) has always been a dream of mine.

    The Mustang wins. Grabber blue.

    Oh, and when I had my 87 and it snowed…I stayed home.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    Did you get a chance to put the car on scales? I have heard many rumors about curb weights, but no facts.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    My biggest complaint is my previous lease expired in December so I had to settle for the 2010 Mustang GT. Maybe I’ll get lucky and it’ll get stolen so I can get a 2011!!!

    Good job Ford on both the V6 and the V8.

  • avatar
    Yuppie

    This and other online reviews of the GT make me consider buying an American brand car for the first time, especially since I now have a very short commute. However, as the V6 review pointed out, the insurance bill will be a killer. So what I really need is this motor in a tidy four door sedan. Perhaps Jack would be so kind as to see if this motor can be shoehorned into his S5. I have an A4, which should have similar hard points.

  • avatar
    Juniper

    Great review, great car.
    I can’t afford the car, but would love to put that engine in my living room just to stare at it, Beautiful!

  • avatar
    BMWfan

    @PennSt8

    “it stops just as good as the M3″

    The first time perhaps. You seriously need to test drive an M3, and then get back to me. I had and have driven many cars, and even though the reviews may be great, this will not even be close to a BMW. It will look good on paper, get great reviews, and please most of the masses, but there really is no comparison. The cars are built for two different markets. Do not misunderstand, I WANT Ford to do well. I am an American, and want the best for the domestic manufacturers, but the engineering approach is totally different. Now the maintenance costs, there I would take the Musteng every time. My BMW bends me over and never buys me dinner.

    • 0 avatar
      stationwagon

      the number one thing I hate about BMW, is the maintenance cost. The rest I hate about BMW is run-flat tires(Oh why Oh why) reliability and brand image(rich, upperclass, status symbol) and design language. I’d love to buy a base 3-series coupe with a red leather interior, but I don’t think that is available. actually it is, I went to BMW’s website and was making one, I hadn’t added any options yet(except for the red leather interior, I don’t know if the paint color I chose added to the price) and the price was already at $39,000. that is a total ripoff. To me a good priced car is under $30,000

    • 0 avatar
      PennSt8

      I think you’ve missed my point entirely…..

      I’ve had the opportunity to drive plenty of BMWs, and have lived with a vehicle that my other half thought was just as good as a BMW but in reality isn’t. So I get what your saying. Which is why I said this:

      “I am by no means advocating that the Mustang GT is a M3 “killer””

      Having said that, stating that the Mustang GT won’t even come close is a bit absurd. Does BMW have some sort of pixie dust that I am unaware of?

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      You can get a decent CPO BMW for ~ $30K.

      Stick to non-turbo, RWD, 6 speeds. Keep up with BMW forums regarding inexpensive fixes to minor bugs. The most important part (if you’re going to keep the car post-warranty) is finding a good indy repair shop.

  • avatar
    BMWfan

    @TriShield

    Well said!

  • avatar
    BMWfan

    @stationwagon

    I agree on the red leather. It looks good in pictures, but looks even better in person. I think if you order the car, you can pretty much get whatever you want. I bought mine off the lot, so it came with a lot of crap that I really did not want, or need. Next time, I will order just what I want. I may even try for European delivery. I really miss Germany, as I have not been there for 20 years. My reflexes ain’t what they used to be, but I still think I can handle the autobahn. Then again, I thought I could still ride dirt bikes too, and when I tried that again recently, it didn’t go so well. I sure can’t pull a wheelie like I used too. If you buy the BMW, ditch the runflat tires as soon as you can. I don’t know what they were thinking when they went with those. Good luck!

  • avatar
    detlump

    The Mustang will be economical to operate, and there is and will be a lot of aftermarket support due to the volume of sales and the likelihood that owners are interested in parts, upgrades, etc. A BMW gets really expensive to operate over time, like other Euro cars. Most people in Europe don’t drive as much as we do, and gas here is not 6-7 bucks a gallon yet.

    The current Mustang is more livable day to day, with a good sized trunk, and is much easier to see out of than Camaro. There won’t be any deals on the 2011s though, but a good CPO Mustang in a couple years would be a good buy.

  • avatar

    Jack drives better than me. He may write better than me too. And his lady friend worships the ground he walks on.

    It must be good to be Baruth.

  • avatar
    N Number

    I would sure hope it’s not swallowing through all thirty two valves. Any more than sixteen would be a problem.

    That’s enough smart-ass for now.

  • avatar
    Morea

    What’s up with Brembo brakes? They seem to have become de rigueur on American performance cars. What, is there no US brake manufacturer up to the task? Or do the poseurs just want to be able to say blithely “Sure, it’s got Brembos.” (Noting that Jack said the brakes could use some help. Remember as the saying goes, your car is only as fast (around the track) as its brakes.)

    • 0 avatar

      Brembos are currently considered the best of the best in Europe. Most of their stuff is made in China.

    • 0 avatar

      Besides Corvettes, American cars have never traditionally known for having good brakes. The Fox-body Mustang GTs had drum brakes in the rear.

      FWIW, Brembo brakes are also de rigeur on Japanese and European performance cars. It’s more about marketing these days, similar to how Bose sound systems were de rigeur among luxury automakers in the 80s and 90s.

  • avatar
    sticklr

    What is it with people complaining about the Fox Mustangs in the snow? I had an ’85 5.0 GT with the 5-speed stick. It wasn’t that bad (in Eastern Washington, where we actually get snow).

    Of course, I upgraded to the Mustang from a hand-me-down 1970 Ranchero GT with the 351 Cleveland. An excellent training sled for snow driving, even with the cement-filled spare tire in the cargo zone.

  • avatar

    This 2011’ Mustang GT is great! The engine is actually quite a bit under rated, according to several sources it’s actually pushing more towards 440-450hp! It’s also been tested around a few race tracks (Gingerman is one of them) and ran better times than the E92 M3.

    It’s just as quick / faster in a straight line (4.3 0-60, 12.8@111-112 in the ¼) as the E92 M3 and has a hell of a lot more torque (+100ft-lbs!). Skip pad, slalom, braking numbers are again in the range of the M3.

    How in the hell can someone complain about this car when it has M3 performance for ½ the price is beyond me! The SS Camaro doesn’t stand a chance in hell, but then again several reviewers thought even the 10’GT was the better car.

  • avatar
    Durwood

    The local chevy dealer had a new camaro ss that was factory listed at just a snickers bar under 45 grand , and i didn’t see anything special about it. Not even a dollars worth of dealer add ons were on it. It had some ugly black factory wheels that were 4 grand. And Autoblog didn’t like the camaros irs as good as the mustangs rear end. Mustang orders are at three times the pace then they were last year ford says. Sorry gm fan boys , but ur day in the sun was short lived.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      Durwood….Only reasons stop me from buying a Mustang convertible.

      The first one is the GM logo on my pension statement. The second reason would be the figures on my GM pension statement.

      Pesonally, I believe there is room for both cars in the market.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Sorry… Durwood, March 2010,sale figures….. 8904 Camaros, 5829 Mustangs. Hey! I’m a big fan of Mustangs, but the facts are the facts.

    • 0 avatar
      Durwood

      “Sorry… Durwood, March 2010,sale figures….. 8904 Camaros, 5829 Mustangs. Hey! I’m a big fan of Mustangs, but the facts are the facts.”

      Yes the facts are the facts and in fact i said that Ford said “ORDERS’ were up 3 to 1 over last years model. They have been ordered but not at the dealers yet. I think Mays sales will be a good indication of how the mustang is selling once they are plentiful on the lots.

  • avatar

    I believe Ford has done everything right on this car, they’ve now officially said that they’ll be putting IRS on them come 2014, but I’m not waiting. I’ve not had a problem with the solid axle for some time now. Ford has taken a leadership position in the US and around the world with the 5.0 engine, mark my words GM will have something similar out within 3 years.
    While styling is subjective, I think Ford is dead-on with the Mustangs. I am one of the apparently few that like the Mustang and Camaro. I love the look of the 67-69 Camaro, and think GM should have stuck closer to the original with this edition.
    I don’t look for the Mustang to be a Corvette hunter, after all decently optioned Corvette runs around $55k. All things being equal (including driver ability) I doubt a 5.0 Mustang would run down a Z06, I see no reason for Jack to make something like this up, though. His point seems to be last year any yahoo in a vette could smoke a Mustang, now this isn’t the case, which no matter how you look at it is a testament to the 5.0.

  • avatar

    Have the 2011 Mustang GT right now as a rental car. What a glorious machine!!!! This morning at 6 am with no traffic, I was nearly launched into orbit… and I don’t think I even had it floored.

  • avatar
    THKPIC

    I’ve driven the Challenger R/T and the Camaro SS. I also own a GTO. hate to admit it, but this car is better. I love the pushrod V8′s and still think GM makes the best V8. I can’t get over the excellent styling of the Challengers but it’s an SUV with a subpar interior. The Camaro just isn’t ergonomical enouph and the interior is two steps behind. Are they good cars with lots of potential…heck yeah. But out of the bag boarder line all-out-performance coupe…Mustang 11′ destroys them. Nimble handling, high quality interior, better performance and the best ergonomics. I just wish the styling wasn’t so vanilla. I think this is my next ride.

  • avatar
    iwasgointo

    I have a 2009 Infiniti G37S Coupe with the manual trans. I’m seriously thinking about getting a 2012 Mustang GT, also with manual trans. I haven’t had a chance to test drive the Stang because the ones on hand had Auto trans.

    On paper, the Mustang has nearly 100hp over the G37S and a lot more torque. The Mustang gets about the same gas mileage and runs on regular.

    I drive on twisty roads fairly often with the Infiniti and it is a real joy. I wonder what the Mustang driving experience would be like in comparison to the Infiniti? I’m sure the power would be intoxicating, but I’m not sure about the handling.

    Both cars have nearly useless back seats which I don’t use anyway.

    The lower quality of interior bits in the Mustang wouldn’t bother me as long as it doesn’t rattle, and buzz, and scream “cheap” on every bump.

    I’m high on the Mustang now, but I wonder if it would be foolish to trade-in my near perfect and very low mileage Infiniti to get one and then regret it later?

    Like the Infiniti, the Mustang would only be driven on weekends in good weather.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India