2011 Ford Mustang
2011 Ford Mustang. Click image to enlarge

Manufacturer’s web site
Ford Motor Company of Canada

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Review and photos by Paul Williams

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2011 Ford Mustang

Los Angeles, California – Hot on the heels of the all-new 2010 Ford Mustang, the 2011 version ups the ante by significantly increasing horsepower in both its V6 and V8 GT models. 2010 Mustang owners may feel they should have waited, but there is a price increase over the 2010 models, so there may be some solace for them in this.

Still, with an all-new aluminum 3.7-litre V6 now generating 305 horsepower at 6,500 r.p.m. and 280 pound-feet of torque at 4,250 r.p.m. (up 45 per cent and 16.6 per cent respectively over the 2010 4.0-litre V6), and the new 5.0-litre all-aluminum V8 making 412 hp at 7,000 r.p.m. and 390 lb-ft torque at 4,250 r.p.m. (up 31 per cent and 20 per cent respectively over the 2010 4.6-litre V8), the sheer grunt and sophistication of these engines is a major enhancement to this model.

2011 Ford Mustang
2011 Ford Mustang
2011 Ford Mustang. Click image to enlarge

Both engines feature dual-overhead camshafts and Twin-Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT), which, according to Ford, allows variable control of valve operation across the rev’ range, producing better fuel economy and more power. Both models now feature a standard limited slip differential and revised suspension and brakes.

As well as strutting its higher horsepower numbers, Ford is also crowing about Mustang’s fuel consumption, and rightly so. The automatic V6 gets 10.7/6.4 L/100 km city/highway from the automatic model, and 11.1/6.9 L/100 km from the manual version. In comparison, the automatic 2010 model returned 12.9/8.5 L/100 km, city/highway and the manual achieved 11.7/7.6. The new GT manages 11.8/7.8 (automatic) and 12.2/7.6 (manual), while the outgoing automatic Mustang GT consumed 12.3/8.7 L/100 km, city/highway, and the manual returned 13.0/8.4.

The new Mustang also stays trim, weighing less than 50 kilograms more than the 2010 cars.

The overall point, of course, is to bring the power of the Mustang in line with its natural competitors, the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger. Both those cars raised the horsepower bar when they were introduced (the Camaro offering 304 hp from its V6 and 400/426 hp from the V8, and the Challenger 240 hp from its V6 and 372/375 hp from the V8), making the Mustang – on paper at least – appear far too conservatively specified for its image. (I say, “on paper” because the Mustang was and still is lighter than both those cars).

2011 Ford Mustang
2011 Ford Mustang
2011 Ford Mustang
2011 Ford Mustang. Click image to enlarge

But image is important in this “modern muscle” category of vehicles, and although welterweights may be entertaining, the big boys are kings of the ring.

As I say, pricing is generally higher for the 2011 models, compared with the equivalent outgoing line-up. There is a “Value Leader” Mustang Coupe V6 available for $22,999, but most will opt for the standard version which starts at $26,999 (2010 equivalent $24,499). The V6 Convertible starts at $31,399 (2010: $30,199).

The GT Coupe now enters at $38,499 (2010: $37,499) and the GT Convertible is now $42,899 (2010: $41,699). Both V6 and GT Mustangs arrive with six-speed manual transmissions as opposed to last year’s five-speed, with a six-speed automatic available for an extra $1,400.

True to Mustang tradition, there are numerous options and upgrades; some available on both the V6 and GT models, some on one, but not the other. Notable options include DVD Navigation ($2,300), 19-inch wheels ($1,200), interior upgrade packages, glass roof (Mustangs have no power sunroof option) ($2,200), remote start ($300), HID headlamps ($600), rear camera ($300), GT Brembo Brake Performance Package ($1,700), 3.73 limited slip rear axle ratio for manual transmission models ($500), and leather seating surfaces ($1,500).

An interesting new standard feature is the “spotter” outside mirrors that virtually eliminate blind spots via a small, concave surface into the top outside corner of each reflecting surface. This is common on European cars, and has been a long time coming to North America. Other new standard features for 2011 are a message centre, MyKey programmable vehicle key and Universal Garage Door Opener.

We had occasion to drive the new Mustangs on a variety of roads and surfaces, including stop-and-go city driving, winding canyon roads, multi-lane highways, a timed slalom run with a gravel section, and, in the case of the GT, a one-eighth mile “dragstrip.”

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