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
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