By on July 24, 2017

2018 Mustang GT, Image: Ford

As evidenced by its constantly evolving truck and SUV lineup, Ford isn’t happy printing the same horsepower and torque figures year after year. Fuel economy and cargo volume are all nice and good, and God knows American consumers love space for unnecessary, child-related crap, but performance cars aren’t dead yet. Nor is the desire for ever more rubber-shredding power.

In the hopes of satisfying those not waiting lustily for the upcoming 1.0-liter EcoSport, engineers at the Blue Oval cranked the power output of its facelifted EcoBoost and GT Mustang variants a few notches higher for 2018. The company’s also making noise about speed. Specifically, the time it takes to reach 60 mph in the 2018 Mustang GT.

Ford claims a 0-60 figure of less than four seconds when equipped with newly available Drag Strip mode — a stunning, if vague, figure that should garner bragging rights if owners are capable of replicating the feat themselves. With no exact 0-60 time given, the 2018 Mustang’s 13.5 cubic-foot trunk provides ample room for those grains of salt.

Until Ford dishes more about the GT’s sprinting ability, we’re left wondering whether it simply made the run in 3.99 seconds once or twice. If it’s not a fluke, Ford’s perennial pony car joins a very exclusive club. The 707-horsepower Dodge Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcats complete the run in 3.6 seconds when equipped with an automatic transmission and 3.9 seconds in three-pedal variants. Even the Shelby GT350’s best time comes in at 3.9 seconds.

(Of course, Ford would prefer you hear about its trouncing of the exotic Porsche 911 Carrera, not its encroachment on a Detroit rival.)

Ford’s previous Mustang GT, outfitted with a six-speed manual and a lower-output 5.0-liter V8, clocked in at 4.3 seconds in a Car and Driver test of a 2016 model. Other instrumented tests of the same powertrain from the likes of Motor Trend and Road & Track saw 0-60 times of 4.6 and 4.7 seconds.

What makes the 2018 GT so fast? Several things, Ford claims. First and foremost, there’s more power on tap — 460 horses and 420 lb-ft of torque, up from this year’s 435 hp and 400 lb-ft. It’s made possible by a dual port and direct injection setup. That’s 5 hp more than Chevrolet’s Camaro SS, which still beats the smaller Ford mill in terms of twist, and 85 hp more than Dodge’s 5.7-liter Challenger (though 25 less than 392 Hemi-equipped Mopars).

Joining the GT for 2018 is Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission, replacing a six-speed in that role. To claim that vaunted sub-four-second sprint time, Mustang GT buyers must first opt for the Performance Pack, which arrives with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tires. Drag Strip mode also joins the list of drive modes. The system works with the faster-shifting 10-speed for maximum straight-line acceleration.

“Typically, when you shift gears, you give up time,” said Carl Widmann, Mustang chief engineer, in a release. “In Drag Strip mode, the engine torque doesn’t drop when you’re shifting. You get peak engine torque and horsepower straight through thanks to our new Ford-built 10-speed transmission.”

Entry-level Mustangs aren’t excluded from the fun, either. With the 3.7-liter V6 dropped from the lineup, the newly base 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder underwent massaging, resulting in 30 extra lb-ft of torque. Expect 310 hp and a healthy 350 lb-ft now. The same goodies Ford offers on the GT —  10-speed, Performance Pack and Drag Strip mode — are also available on the EcoBoost model.

So equipped, the four-cylinder Stang becomes capable of sub-five-second 0-60 times. Compare that to the 1988 LX you drove when you were 19.

Ford plans to release pricing tomorrow, well ahead of the 2018 Mustang’s arrival at dealers this fall.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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27 Comments on “Ford Bumps 2018 Mustang’s Power, Claims Sub-four-second 0-60 Time for GT...”

  • avatar

    “In Drag Strip mode, the engine torque doesn’t drop when you’re shifting. You get peak engine torque and horsepower straight through thanks to our new Ford-built 10-speed transmission.”

    If that is saying what I think it is, that means full on throttle “power shifting”.

    There has to be some break in torque transfer to change gears or does this come with the disclaimer, ” If you use Drag Strip Mode, you forfeit your right to any warranty claims!”

    • 0 avatar

      Or they learned what GM did…

      “1 in 10,000 customers will race it. Those 1 / 10k customers are the most vocal and help lead the brand. Even if we lose money making warranty repairs on those 1/10k, its in our best interest to maintain the brand for the other 9,999”

      I think they should, and will, fulfill the warranty with Drag Strip Mode. that doesn’t mean it won’t fail.

  • avatar

    So they’re truly going to offer the Performance Package with the automatic now? They must really have faith in this new 10-speed, though I wouldn’t want to be a first-year guinea pig like anyone who bought an early Powershift car.

    I wish they’d offer something more substantive than numbers I can’t really use though. 435 vs 460, whatever. Either way I’m riding the tail of some cockroach Corolla long before I hit 60. Offer me a sunroof option, and the Tremec manual transmission from the Shelby, rather than that Chinese Getrag junk they currently stick in there, and I’d consider swapping my ’16 GT for a new one.

    • 0 avatar

      GM already did the high horsepower testing. Remember the ZL1 comes with the same transmission and it’s rated for 650 horsepower not to mention the heavier EB Raptor is 500 horsepower. In both cases the Mustang GT is lighter with less horsepower.

      Although I can understand your skepticism since the internals may not be the same as the ZL1 or Raptor the foxbody Mustangs for example used the down graded DOA with an A or B servo instead of the C unit used in the 4WD trucks and later supercharged Thunderbirds and failed often unless it was an 90 year old Grandma putting to the end of the driveway to grab the mail and putting back up the driveway.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m not so much worried about the transmission handling the power. I just hope it doesn’t get release upon the public and then end up grenading on early adopters the way the Powershift cars did. Ford has a bad habit of letting buyers pay for the privilege of being beta-testers (see also: MyFord Touch).

        I don’t think there’s a real reason Ford limited the PP to the manual on the previous GT cars. The previous 6-speed auto is known to be able to handle more power than the Getrag manuals. And they allowed the automatic to be selected with Ecoboost PP cars. Just seems kind of arbitrary to me, but at least they’re giving all buyers a choice now.

        Unrelated: the login system is still totally broken.

  • avatar

    Man missed peak power by 10 horsepower! When early reports talked about going to the double disc clutch I knew torque would be over 400 and when it was rumored that the rev limit was being pushed to 7500 rpm ( torque on the previous coyote at peak horsepower was 350 or so ) just shifting peak power by a like amount would yield a 35 horsepower increase and give Mustang a,more favorable power to weight ratio compared to its Camaro rival.

    Also thought I heard they were going to a variation of the PTA block used in the GT350. All things equal the increased bore would yield improved airflow at all RPM.

  • avatar

    Doesn’t matter what one thinks of the looks (I personally like the new look better that cat fish 2015-2017), the enhancements to Mustang are noteworthy. The 5.0 improvements, the 10 speed automatic, the interior gauge cluster, the available magna ride shocks (or whatever Ford calls it), the exhaust with flaps that open and make great noise, incredible. Great job Ford. Why would one buy the GT 350 now?

    • 0 avatar

      The GT350 is still a more track capable car. It comes with the diff, trans, and oil coolers plus the brakes are a magnitude better. The extra rubber on the GT350 will provide a slight difference in braking distance but you can pound on the GT350’s and they won’t fade where the GT might have an issue.

      Also you get 66 more horsepower and exclusivity if it matters.

      • 0 avatar

        But on the street it seems like the regular GT is now faster. Sure for track you can have the special edition 350R, but for the street, for the money, I just don’t see the value add of GT 350 compared to a regular Mustang GT any longer.

        • 0 avatar

          I agree. The GT350 is a “halo car” that has more of a marketing mission than anything else. Much is written about it, it gets lots of views and clicks and gets people talking, but almost no one actually buys one and fewer still daily drive it.

          • 0 avatar

            @ tnk479 probably more than you think and less than my anecdata indicates which is to say the truth is probably closer to 50/50.

            Many people going in on a GT350 are looking for a track capable car (the folks mainly interested in a street car went with the tech pack cars in 2016 and Convenience Pack cars for the 2017+ models).

            I belong to two GT350 communities and the majority of people on there track their cars periodically and there are a few that run successive events during the season. A few bought them as weekend cars and a few bought them for drag racing. Garage queens tend toward the extreme minority probably equal to or less than the daily driver crowd.

        • 0 avatar

          You can track the standard GT350 as well – fun fact: when you buy a GT350 or GT350R and take advantage of the track day included in the price of the Shelby the fleet at the Ford Performance School is composed entirely of standard GT350s and not an R in sight. Modifications are limited to a roll bar and racing harness.

          However agreed, if you never plan to track the car then the GT is probably a better proposition especially if your an autotragic trans fan.

  • avatar

    As a Ford stockholder, great news if it makes lots of money for Ford. However, my personal feelings are Ford should be redirecting its efforts elsewhere besides engaging in a HP/torque war. Reliability sells more vehicles for greater profits most of the time. Paying off some debt would help immensely.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Soooo…CUV article gets 35 posts. Midsize trucks always go into tripple digits. Sub 4 second to 60 Mustang and, 10. In a few years we’ll have self driving crossovers and everyone will be on here wondering what happened. I thought this was an enthusiast site.

    Having said that back when I was a kid one had to buy an exotic to get this sort of performs.ance that would be well into six figures. Now we gripe about a lack of soft touch materials in the interior. We live in the golden era for sure. One day my eyes will glaze over as I tell the grandkids about the performance of this era before I put them in the self driving pid to send them home.

    • 0 avatar


      I love this news. This gen Mustang is the first ever that I’ve actually been interested in buying.

    • 0 avatar

      I remember when anything under 10 seconds to 60 was considered fast. But now when everything from minivans to pickups to budget family sedans can do under 6 seconds, many of us have become jaded by new models that are .1 faster than the already super fast earlier versions. 3.8, 4.1, 3.6 seconds – does it really matter on your morning commute in heavy traffic? I’m glad they exist, but the appeal isn’t what it used to be because it is now so common.

      • 0 avatar

        Thats what is killing the “sports car”. If my truck can do 0-60 in 7 seconds, thats faster than sports cars could do it when growing up. Most DDs today have so much more performance than even sports cars did in the 70s and 80s, I don’t feel like I “need” anything else for daily driving to work.

    • 0 avatar

      To be fair, I had to trying logging in about eight times to leave my two comments above. Lots of comments have gone unsaid this past week.

  • avatar

    Eh, for about 98% of the time in normal driving conditions, 0-60 times are largely immaterial. In my tiny Escape S, I’m rarely ever “dusted” by anybody leaving a stoplight. I’m looking hard at a very nicely maintained 2008 128i manual, and quoted 0-60 of 5.7 seconds is faster than any car I’ve ever owned and I simply can’t imagine that the metric would become useful in my daily drive. Heck, I owned a 1985 318i with all of 101 HP (ok, it had a few more due to some slight mods, but let’s say it had maybe 115 HP). And I rarely felt it was underpowered. It was set up for backroads and switchbacks. I guess for bragging rights saying that your car can do 0-60 in 4 seconds or under matters somewhere, but I just don’t feel as compelled as I once did to overly pay attention to that specific specification anymore.

  • avatar

    I can’t ever forgive them for how the refreshed front end looks.

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