The Mustang GT has always been a real kick in the pants. Powerful, classically understated, well priced and packed full of amazing exhaust notes. It has and always will represent a true performer for the masses. But much like Harley’s old tech Evo motors, Mustang GT’s 4.6 L SOHC V8 is more than a little long in the tooth and, alongside newer entrants like Chevy Camaro SS and Dodge Challenger SRT-8, was beginning to lack big time in the horsepower department. Even the V6 powered engine that debuted in the new-for-2009 Camaro nearly matched the 2010 Mustang GT’s 315 ponies. That is until Ford dusted off the celebrated 5.0 engine nameplate for another go around in the 2011 model year.
I put a couple of hundred miles on a Kona Blue tester last weekend, and take it from me folks, it doesn’t get a whole lot more muscular than this. In route to Shelter Island, my girlfriend, taken aback by the heavenly symphony of exhaust reverberations, asked me if it was supposed to be that loud. I think you can guess what I told her. With a whopping 412 horsepower and 390 lb·ft of torque, the high-tech mill makes good on any power deficits that may have previously existed. More importantly, the GT now bites as loudly as it barks and hangs tight with cross town muscle from Chevy and Dodge. I found it pretty easy to chirp the rear tires in the first 3 gears (by the way, there are 6 of them now) as I worked my way up to the revised 7,000 RPM redline. As one eloquent reviewer from Car & Driver described the new engine, “…It’s utterly fabulous, a 7000-rpm cavalry charge that generates incredibly smooth, linear thrust across its broad rev band. Were you to paint the cam lids red and stick on a chrome trident, most Maserati owners would never know the difference. Yes, it’s that good.”
From a visual standpoint, this GT is a real sleeper and sports handsome, understated styling reminiscent of the fastbacks of yesteryear. A chrome 5.0 badge adorns the front fenders to let everyone know that you mean business. For the track rats among us, there is an optional Brembo brake package, borrowed from the almighty GT500, that includes 14-inch vented front discs and unique 19-inch alloy wheels and summer performance tires. I didn’t have too much opportunity to put all that stopping power to proper use, but let’s just say the brakes are more than capable of slowing down all that muscle in a hurry if the need arises.
The 2011 Mustang GT hit dealerships earlier this month and starts just under $30k with the close ratio manual tranny – that works out to about $73 dollars per pony. For comparisons sake, consider that the 2010 Porsche 911 Turbo will run you about $266/pony. Not too shabby.
Enjoy the weekend
[See more →]
With CTS Coupe, which hit dealers earlier this month, Cadillac has once again put ze Germans on notice. Jim Vurpillat, VP of Marketing at Cadillac, tells me that the chiseled 2-door represents the most dramatic expression of the brand’s Art & Science design language to date. I can’t really disagree with him based on the extreme proportions and razor sharp surface transitions scattered throughout this modern day shooting brake. Talk about form meeting function, the edgy rear brake light doubles as a spoiler and actually adds downforce at speed. Love it or hate it, this thing turns a lot of heads. I got all varieties of oohs and ahs driving my sleek black tester in and around Manhattan.
The new coupe rounds out the CTS line-up, adding an unabashed sense of sport and grand touring to sedan and wagon variants already in showrooms. Most importantly, the CTS family cadence now more closely mirrors that of Audi, BMW and Mercedes with their A4/A5, 3-Series and C-Class body style offerings. All that’s missing now is a drop top. Note to Cadillac…get on that.
In typical Cadillac fashion, the absurdly powerful and track-happy CTS-V Coupe is not far behind the V6-powered base model and should be trickling into dealerships right about the time you read this. Like the CTS-V Sedan, the coupe is an absolute beast with 556 horsepower and 551 lb-ft. of torque coming from the 6.2-liter supercharged V8 found under hood. Other goodies like GM’s road-scanning Magnetic Ride Control, Performance Traction Management and racing-bred Brembo brakes keep this American hot rod well between the apexes. And I’m not just saying that…GM was good enough to have us out to Monticello Motorclub to sample CTS-V Coupe on the track. Aside from the staggering power (0-60 in 3.9 seconds) keeping you firmly planted to the available Recaro racing seats, you have never seen or felt 4,200 pounds rip around corners quite like this.
Lots of pictures and video after the jump. Also check out our CTS-V Coupe featured gallery.
[See more →]
Pictured: Jim Campbell, VP Chevrolet Marketing, sitting proudly in front of his brand’s all-new Civic-fighter, the 2011 Chevy Cruze.
Chevy gave us an advance preview of their new Cruze last week in mid town. The global compact sedan will replace Cobalt in Chevy’s U.S. lineup when it hits dealerships at a base price of $16,995 this September. The athletic stance and clean lines wrap up a handsome little package and bear more than a passing resemblance to big brother Malibu. With its first rate materials and optional two-tone leather surfaces, the spacious interior is also a big part of the story in a segment that is shopped more for its low cost of entry than lavish interior textures and upscale passenger accommodations. Stand out cabin aside, Cruze will need all the help it can get if its fixin to do battle against perennial best sellers like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. Both nameplates have spent many decades and mucho marketing dollars convincing Americans that Japanese quality and compact cars go together like peas and carrots. Chevy hopes 40 MPG, class leading interior room and the most standard safety features in the segment will help to open their minds to new alternatives.
[See more →]
I love spotting new product – its akin to a rookie actor’s first appearance on a well known TV show. You are watching to see how good (or bad) they look on camera and what the dynamic is with other cast members. Do they add something to the show? Detract from it? It’s no different for new cars. BMW, in this case, is the well known, award winning show and 5-Series GT is the unknown player greeting customers in showrooms. I have seen pictures and renderings of the wagon/crossover mash up in various auto mags, that’s like Page 6 for car guys, and I must say it looks much larger in person. Chalk that up to the tall roofline and XL chassis shared with BMW’s flagship 7-Series. That might translate well inside with ample head and legroom but it makes for some awkward proportions outside. 5-Series GT’s intention also seems a bit confused next to other BMW models like X5 and X6. After all, how many 4-5 passenger crossovers can one manufacturer make? This particular example is fitted with the company’s 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8, good for 400hp and 450 ft-lbs of torque. In a puzzling move, BMW released this nearly $64,000 rear wheel drive V8 ahead of the six-cylinder and AWD versions that are hitting dealerships as you read this. The only overly positive thing I can say at this point is that I would take one over a Mercedes R-Class – itself a confused station wagon.
[See more →]
GM was good enough to give us an advance preview of the CTS-V Sport Wagon before its big debut at the New York International Auto Show. The venue was chic, the drinks were flowing and there was nearly 1,700 horsepower worth of Cadillac V-series models parked where the art used to be. Just like coupe and sedan variants, CTS-V Sport Wagon utilizes a supercharged 6.2L V8, Magnetic Ride Control, Brembo Brakes and tasteful aesthetic tweaks like 19-inch forged aluminum wheels, dual exhaust, menacing black mesh grille and lower fascia and a big ol’ buldge in the hood thanks to the Eaton supercharger bolted onto the engine. A quick walk around will tell you that this tasteful, 556 hp road rocket is neither your grandpa’s Cadillac or your parent’s station wagon. Weigh in below on which V-Series model you like best.
[See more →]