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2011 Ford Mustang GT – Click above for high-res image gallery

Well, this certainly didn't take long. Only a few weeks after Ford let the 2011 Mustang GT loose on the road, the boys at Motor Trend have done what we've all been waiting for, putting the new 5.0-liter V8 model up against the Chevrolet Camaro SS and Dodge Challenger SRT8 in a head-to-head muscle car throwdown. In our first drive, we were very impressed with the new GT's antics, and apparently, we aren't the only ones. Sorry, Camaro and Challenger – the Mustang takes top honors in this comparison.

Motor Trend points out that, at the end of the day, the Mustang 5.0 is the closest representation of what a modern day muscle car should be. It stands true to the original concept of a lightweight coupe with a nimble body and chassis that's stocked to the brim with rumbling V8 power, and they say that there's no doubt that it's dynamically better than the Chevy and Dodge. What's more, the interior offers better tech and refinement – something that's key in the year 2010. Be sure to click over to MT's comparison test for the full details.

Photos by Drew Phillips / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: Motor Trend]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago

      Opinions are like a-holes. You're a-hole stinks.

      • 5 Years Ago
      "Motor Trend points out that, at the end of the day, the Mustang 5.0 is the closest representation of what a modern day muscle car should be. It stands true to the original concept of a lightweight coupe with a nimble body and chassis that's stocked to the brim with rumbling V8 power"

      Ummm... that defines pony car, perhaps, or some of the small muscle-cars that came after Mustang...

      But GTO, Chevelle, Cougar Eliminator, Charger, etc... the genesis of the "Muscle" car... started out being very big cars, and lightweight or nimble was not part of their vocabulary.

      The Mustang and Camaro in the late 60s and early 70s may have been lighter than their full-size brethren, just barely, but they were bigger and heavier than the first Mustangs were, until they got chopped way down for the 70s energy crisis, and government regs, which kyboshed the essence of the Muscle cars and pony cars of that time.

      But they weren't sports cars like the growing T-bird, the Corvette, or the Jag E-type and other smaller european sports cars.

      The Big V8 power was the prime characteristic, followed by their mean appearance and design. Handling and weight took a major back seat.

      But at least Ford is learning the lesson of how weight can make the difference in their favor, by being lighter than Camaro or Challenger now.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ EXP Jawa:
        Well said. I was thinking the exact same thing while reading his post.
        In his defense, the line between pony-car and muscle-car has been hazy at times.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This war belongs to Ford because the smallest and lightest in the group is the Mustang and no matter what GM or Chrysler do to their cars, the Mustang will always come out on top because of that.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Incredible to think a bone stock GT is running 12's!!!!!!!
      Unbelievable. Ford FTW!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        3:59PM (4/05/2010)
        But it is only 0.5mph faster.

        But the Camaro takes almost half a second slower than the Mustang to get there.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If, if, if. Bench-racers are all the same. Bottom line, the Mustang WAS better in all ways BESIDES straight-line acceleration. That wasn't good enough for everyone. Odd considering it's pretty hard to find a "stock" Mustang GT on the road, so therefore even a slightly modded GT would at least level the playing field. So, now, Ford puts the final piece of the puzzle together for everyone, and of course now the non-Ford fans are doing the "yeah but" shuffle. Give it a rest, will you? It's been said by so many professionals, that the Mustang GT is THE BEST in it's class, and now it's also the quickest as well.
        Any other whiney little details you non-Ford fans want to point out, or complain about?
        (Let the IRS discussion begin)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Again Mike W knows exactly the accelleration numbers on these cars without testing them. Pretty convenient.

        You'll also note that the Mustang's 4 cam engine makes much better use of taller gears by making power higher in the rev range so a higher numerical axle will suit it better.

        For every Camaro owner sticking a 3.73 in theirs, a Mustang owner will stick a 4.11 in theirs, and so on and so on.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Except Mike, you wouldn't go any shorter in the Mustang unless you have found some way to raise the redline from 6800, limiter from 7000.
        With the 3.73 the limiter is roughly 112mph.
        It is as perfect for drag racing as you can get. Unless you want to start changing things. Then you would opt for the 3.55, because the limiter would be roughly 117mph (12.5@115)

        If you were going to supercharge your 5.0, you'd leave the stock 3.31 alone.
        The limiter being circa 126mph (12@120 is a good target)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, so the Camaro is as quick, if not quicker, than the Mustang optional 3.55 axle. and is faster
        The Camaro is quicker & faster than the standard axle Mustang

        Were all other things equal?
        • 5 Years Ago
        But it is only 0.5mph faster.
      • 5 Years Ago
      My dad can beat up your dad.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I agree that the Mustang is the best of the three. But I would give up a little HP for even more reduction of weight.

      • 5 Years Ago
      @boxerfanatic - really? I love the IRS comment. Ford has put a ton of money into developing this new mustang. Have you driven one? The interior finish and fit is the best it's ever been. The quality of the ride and the over all feel of the car is light years beyond just a "retro" hotrod. With all said improvements to the mustang, to help keep the costs down, they opted to keep the IRS out. Simply because developing an IRS system will increase the final costs of the car, and put it out of reach. From a reality stand point, that final performance figures on cars at this price level, the car's performance is unmatch. Look at the skid pad numbers, the live axel does very well, and it's not your "old" live axel. It is one of the best set ups in live axel, with coil over suspension and control arms. MY question would be, why do you need IRS in this scenario?

      Until you drive one, you won't know that it's more than just a "40 yr old throw back" it's much more refined. I would strongly suggest getting that mind set out of your head, as it's not the case with this car. It's got many creature comforts that would rival many luxury sports cars.

      I currently own a 2007 GT500, I almost pulled the trigger on the 2010, simply because of the interior and ride quality. But now I'm waiting on the 2011 GT500.
        • 5 Years Ago
        My take on this whole live axle vs IRS argument is that it's sort of like arguing about the engine placement in a 911. On paper, hanging the engine out behind the rear axle ought to be the worst layout that you could have for a well balanced and excellent-handling sports car. From an engineering point of view, a mid-engine or front/mid-engine layout still should be better. But Porsche made it work. Maybe it took a bit of development, but they made it work. And thousands of Porsche loyalists (which I'm not) will confirm that.

        In this case, yes, a live axle *should* be inferior to IRS. I don't think that anyone really doubts that, on paper, this is true. But in the case on this specific vehicle, enough development has been put into it that the live axle works, and apparently works well, according to anyone that's actually driven one. So who am I to argue theory with reality? As one of the previous articles stated "we'd take a well-designed live axle over a mediocre IRS any day", or something like that.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @boxerfanatic as well... he states:

        "Here and I thought diversity was a good thing... evidently folks think that product diversity isn't..."

        hmmm...Ford is the only one out of the three cars tested to have a solid rear axle. That would mean that Ford is creating diversity by being the only one in the group to be different. He is actually trying to get Ford to conform to the group.

        Kudos to Ford for making a great overall package!
      • 5 Years Ago
      plus in the video they said the camaro made them feel small???????? wtf type issues must this editor have. i thought you werent supposed too get a car because you lacked something down-under. hell its about the experience and for the enjoyabe badd-ass style that is the camaro and good handling how does it come behind the awesome sounding cool looking undoubtedly car that is the challenger. it has way better handling shouldn't that alone with 10000 dollar less price bring it at-least too second compared too the mustang.

      a comparison should be fair and balanced (excuse the pun)

      (by the way i want all 3 in my garage)
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think the point is that the steering wheel and shifter are too big and aren't very ergonomically pleasing. The last gen Camaro had a similar issue on the shifter ball, the thing was huge, and not very fun to shift because it really didn't fit into the palm of your hand very well. Luckily, the same gen Firebirds had a smaller, better feeling shifter, even if the leather stitching seemed in the wrong place.
      • 5 Years Ago
      11.5 MPG is nothing to get excited about.

      No wonder American cars still leave a lot to be desired.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Oh calm down. We're talking observed fuel economy during a road test where they are pushing the cars as hard as they possibly can. It doesn't mean the EPA numbers are wrong or inachievable. In fact, most people can beat EPA numbers just by driving their car like their Grandma would. In this case having the lowest MPG in the test probably just means they were able to push the Mustang that much harder:)
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't understand your point. What does it have to do with the car being American? I'll almost guarantee that my R32 (a German car that is lighter and much less powerful (and also gets about 27 hwy)) wouldn't do any better than the 'Stang if I were to flog the crap out of it like they do in these tests. Hell, if I am in slow traffic, it doesn't do better than about 16.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Even though I've owned Fords, never been a fan. Even of Mustangs.
      When Boss 302 was reintroduced, I remember my Chevy truck could smoke it with a full load of camping gear, on deserted logging roads with both pedals to the floor.
      (anecdotal, for sure)

      The Challenger and Camaro look great. The Mustang looks bad. Bad as in bad, the English word, not Michael Jackson-speak.
      • 5 Years Ago
      OK. While I love all three cars, this is hardly a real comparison unless both the Camaro and the Challenger will not be doing ANY updates for 2011. Don't know if this is the case. I was surprised there was no mention that this in the video. So basically what we have here is the same comparison as last year with the only difference being Mustang finally getting into the gym and then asking for a rematch with the same guys that bullied him last year.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Now Mike W has access the 2011 Mustang GT in all different axle configurations and has compared them to the Camaro SS and Challenger himself.

        Mind providing a link to the accelleration comparisons of all 3 axled Mustangs and the Camaro and Challenger?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Last year Motor Trend (or it could have been Car & Driver... can't remember) did a comparison on the 2009 Mustang Gt, Challenger R/T, and the Camaro SS. Same problem there; comparing apples and oranges because the Camaro and Challenger had the larger displacement and horsepower compared to the Mustang. The best part about the comparo was that even though the Mustang had less under the hood, it still rated high with those doing the test, coming in on par with the Camaro in terms of handling and styling. The Challenger didn't rate as high because it needs to go on a diet.
        Now, the playing field is level, so far anyway.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Last year the Mustang was mostly a styling refresh and some chassis tweaks and the brand new Camaro (with over 400hp) barely beat it in the same comparo.

        Now the Mustang has new engines and few more tweaks and it takes 1st in the comparo.

        To me the difference is the comments about how much more they like the Mustang than the others. Everything from interior to ride and drivability. Sounds to me like the Camaro needs to go back to the drawing board and try again. Oh, and by then the Boss will be out...Camaro Z28 will lose then.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well, then the L99 needs to upgrade from VCT to VVT (cam in cam) ditching the cylinder shutoff-allowing higher revs. Then shorten the axle ratio from 3.27 to 3.45 (highway mileage unchanged, city mileage improved slightly)

        and the LS3 needs VCT.
        • 5 Years Ago
        My comment was more about the year of the car. If I am not mistaken, the Challenger and Camaro are 2010 models, not 2011 models. From what I have found online, there have been no official word on the specs for a 2011 model for either one. So, MT should run this test again with all 2011 models to get a true comparison.

        I understand the real reason for this comparison though. Ratings. Most people are rabid fans of one are the other and this creates more viewers, readers and commenters. So I am not going to hate on MT for doing this a bit prematurely.

        I really like all three cars. I prefer the Camaro, if I am allowed a bias, but honestly, if someone gave me the keys to either car, I would still have a big ass smile on my face while cruising or removing miles of rubber on the tires.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nope, L99 has cylinder shutoff.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Just so you know - the 2011 Challenger SRT8 [Along with SRT8 versions of the 300C and Charger] will come with a 500+ hp 6.4 litre HEMI.

        That said.... I'm a mopar guy. I own a 300C SRT8. But of the three - I'd go for the Mustang. It's the winner by a mile.
        • 5 Years Ago
        L99 has variable timing already if I recall correctly. LS3 does not.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Unless the other fatties drop a couple hundred pounds or get a significant boost in hp, they're going to have trouble making up 4 tenths in the quarter. I doubt either is going to happen for 2011.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That is always the way it works. Comparos between competitors when some are newer than others.

        That doesn't invalidate the comparison. In a year or two, Camaro and/or Challenger will update, and Mustang will be on the non-refresh line.

        Last year, those two were new, Mustang had an appearance update, but not the new engines...
        • 5 Years Ago
        GM can add VCT to the LS3/L99.
        Change the gearing to the taller (3.27 from 3.45) for the manual transmission, thus extending 3rd gear to 115mph.
        GM then has parity with shortest optional axle ratio in the Mustang, 3.73
        The Camaro is already faster than stock 3.31 axle ratio, and runs as quick as 3.55 (other optional Mustang r/p)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow, a newly revised car beats it's competitors that haven't been revised yet?


      Seriously, if Ford redid the Mustang and it DIDN'T beat the Camaro SS/Challenger SRT they probably need to fire some engineers. It's easy to hit the target when the target is already there. Are we going to run a huge piece on how the next update to the Camaro makes it better than the Mustang? If you weren't expecting this, you should probably just go back to bed.
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