Wednesday, June 30, 2010

2011 Ford Mustang GT: It's Got Its Mojo Back!

What’s New:

Although Ford reworked the Mustang inside and out for the 2010 model year, it didn’t take long for their engineers to realize that the vehicle was severely underpowered, as the new kid on the block, the Camaro, began to spank them in the new-vehicle sales race, month after month.

After Ford continued to be whipped by Chevy in sales and horsepower, the engineers got a mandate from the executive team to take the pony back to the stable to add a few more horses under the hood. The engineers put the 2010 model to rest, returning with a fast and furious 2011 Mustang earlier this spring.

Under the hood, the engineers dropped the Ford Mustang GT 4.6-liter for an all-new, kick-ass, aluminum 5.0-liter V-8 engine. Yes, the 5.0-liter was back! The new-engine now kicked out a whopping 412 horses, as opposed to the 315 it replaced. With the new engine also came, improved fuel-economy and a new 6-speed manual and automatic transmission, which now provides the flexibility for aggressive launches from the stop light.  Yes, trust us. We smoked everything around us, when pulling away from a stop light, with our highly optioned Mustang GT premium package.

And for the true Mustang enthusiasts, they’ll be glad to know that new 5.0 badges adorn the front side fenders of this upgraded pony.

Must Have Goodies:

When Ford re-tuned the 2011 Mustang, it also meant extra stopping power needed to be added to stop this monster. Ford addressed this issue, offering a Brembo brake package upgrade that’s available for serious enthusiasts. This package, which was on the vehicle we reviewed, included 14-inch vented front discs from the Shelby GT500, unique 19-inch alloy wheels and summer performance tires.

Also our super-fast sports car was outfitted with a few comfort features, too: dual zone temperature control air conditioning, a power passenger seat, heated front seats, a voice activated navigational system with a SIRIUS travel link and HD radio.

And, to protect the pony now that it included more horses flowing from underneath the hood, our vehicle was also equipped with an optional security package, which activated the anti-theft system and included a locking wheel kit for our upgraded factory ordered 19-inch premium-painted aluminum wheels, too. 

What Rocked:

The smooth-shifting , fun-to-drive, 6-speed manual transmission rocked! Also the 2011 Mustang GT continuous roar coming from the dual chrome exhaust pipes, which reverberated throughout the cabin of the vehicle whether we were idling or in motion, kept a constant smile on our face.

Moreover, the Mustang designers continue to emphasize the retro theme, offering integrated blind-spot mirrors even with the side-view mirror. Yes, this definitely adds to the retro feel, while the Fusion, Taurus and F-150 offers the latest high-tech electronic Blind Spot Technology, which alerts the driver of cars in its blind spot via audible alarms and flashing lights in the side-view mirrors.

What We Hated:

It’s too bad that Ford didn’t allow us to hold on to the Mustang GT for an additional week. Yet, we were promised by Ford that we would have our hands on the super fast Shelby GT500 soon. Also while we know Ford is holding on to it retro look both inside and out, we wish they could incorporate a little more eye-appeal as GM has done with the exterior (and interior) of the Camaro.

Yes, the Camaro definitely turns more heads than the Mustang, although both incorporate the retro theme. Oh yes, where’s the sunroof? We know that an open drop-top convertible is available, but again, where’s the option for a roof?

Any Juice:

The Mustang GT proudly puts out a whopping 412 horses from underneath the hood. From a stop light, the vehicle leaves mostly everything in the dust, while zipping from 0 to 60 in about 4.4 seconds.  

The Verdict:

Until the 2011 hit the market this spring, the 2010 Mustang GT, which was also powered by a V-8, was only capable of putting out 315 horses, as compared to the V-6 Camaro, which was spitting out 304 horses.

And, we won’t talk about the 2010 6-cylinder Mustang, which could barely get out if it own way, delivering a stingy 210 horses. How embarrassing! In fact, the 2010 model 6-cylinder Camaro was giving the 2010 model 8-cylinder Mustang a run for the money, until the recent arrival of the 5.0-liter 2011 model. As one could tell, the 2010 pony was no longer living up to its name. It was definitely time for Ford’s engineers to take the pony back to the stable again for a major tune up.

Yet, once the engineers unleashed the 2011 Mustang we knew the pony was back, ready to reclaim its sales crown, which it did last month. The 2011 Mustang, with the 6-cylinder engine, now puts out one more horse than the 2010 6-cylinder Camaro, while the Mustang GT now proudly spews out over 400 horses.

As one could tell, we were now smitten with the extra horses blowing from the chrome tailpipes. The Mustang not only was as swift as a prized race horse, when handling tight curves, but now it roared like a lion, when the gas pedal was pressed. And the overall fit and finish of the vehicle was superb. In fact, the 2010 Mustang was just rated as the number one vehicle in its segment in J. D. Power latest new-vehicle Initial Quality Study.  So for those who have ever questioned the current quality of American vehicles, think again! Yes, the Mustang has got its mojo back.

So not only can one buy a fun-to-drive sports car, but an affordable well-built one, too. Pricing for the 2011 Mustang GT starts at around $33,000, which is slightly over a grand more than the 2010 model. Conversely, pricing for the 2011 base 6-cylinder Mustang is a few hundred dollars less than the 2010 model. This sports car is still available in a base and premium package, as a convertible or coupe, in either a manual or automatic. While the test vehicle we reviewed equipped with the GT’s premium package listed for approximately $40,505, the price could rise to as high as $43,000, depending on options.  


2010 Chevy Camaro SS and 2010 Dodge Challenger SRT8

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