The roar of the engine. The touch of the steering wheel. The way the sun reflects off of the bends and creases in the sheet-metal. These are the things every car enthusiast remembers about that first car that led to the discovery of oil in their blood. The over stimulation of every sense sticks with us through the years, and we find ourselves, perhaps subconsciously, trying to recreate those moments with every car that we drive.

For me, that extraordinary vehicle was a Ford Mustang GT. To this day, I remember the moment I dumped the clutch and flew out of the driveway, adrenaline pumping and a stream of expletives from my lips as I experienced a power the likes of which I had never been in control before. The thought still gives me goosebumps. And to this day, I find myself absent-mindedly browsing the car classifieds in an effort to satiate my deep-seeded desire for another dose of Motor City muscle.

Although it has been several years since that first drive, the Ford Mustang GT has never disappointed through all of its refreshes and redesigns. I was as giddy as a schoolboy on the last day of class before summer vacation when I found myself holding the keys to a 2013 Mustang GT "California Special." I hoped more than anything at that moment that this vehicle could bring all of those great memories back.

So, with a refreshed exterior design, more power, new technology and new bells and whistles, does the 2013 Mustang GT still resonate with this car reviewer? Does it have an edge over its competition--Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger and Hyundai Genesis Coupe? Read on to see the verdict.

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How Much?

How Much?

MSRP: $30,300 - $39,300
Invoice: $27,952 - $36,254

As Tested: $42,075

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Key Stats

Key Stats

-5.0L V8 engine
-420 hp, 390 lb-ft of torque
-6-speed manual or optional 6-speed automatic transmission
-15 mpg City, 26 mpg Highway
-Seats 4
-13.4 cubic feet max cargo capacity

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What We Like

What We Like

Michael: I'd really like to highlight how much this car has come along in its driving dynamics. There was a time when the Mustang was good for little more than driving in a straight line, but with a great suspension, effective traction control system and a lighter weight than its competition, this pony can tear up the curves with the best of them.

In addition, Ford did a great job at refreshing the exterior design. Not that the Mustang has been an ugly vehicle in recent years, but the new front fascia with its larger, more aggressive grille, HID headlights, LED fog lights and LED accent strips make it even meaner and unique on the road. This is a great looking car, period. Coast to coast.

All in all, the 2013 GT stimulates every sense. It has a comfortable and sporty interior with a solid sound system, a mean and aggressive poise and stance, enough torque and power to push your teeth back and, of course, that incredible engine rumble and exhaust note.

Autoblog: The Mustang is now within whiffing distance of the 426 horsepower available in the 6.2-liter Chevrolet Camaro SS while toting around significantly less weight. The Mustang tips the scales at a relatively light 3,618 pounds compared to the 3,849 pounds weighing down the Camaro.

That weight comes to bear on every measurable aspect of performance, from acceleration and braking to lateral grip. Despite its slimmer waistline, the Mustang still maintains some of its big muscle-car swagger on the road. Really dig for the throttle and you're rewarded with a nose that kicks skyward in a powerful display of weight transfer. Likewise, the car has a tendency to float its way over uncertain pavement without leaving a trail of shaken kidneys discarded on the road behind it.

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What We Don't Like

What We Don't Like

Michael: I'm as big a fan of the running pony logo as the next guy, but having it projected via LED on the ground below the mirrors is plain groan inducing. There are more than enough places on this car that remind the driver and passersby that this is, in fact, a Mustang. I think that, at best, the projection is gimmicky and, frankly, I find it simply outlandish.

Autoblog: After a solid three hours of caning the Mustang GT over hill and dale in the Pacific Northwest, the only genuine complaint we could drum up was in the car's brakes. The system simply doesn't have the crisp bite we expect from a legitimate sports car, and while we could easily push through the soft pedal to some real stopping prowess, we would certainly want a more confidence-inspiring system in a sports coupe we meant to take to the track.

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Bottom Line

Bottom Line

The reality is that no car is ever going to come close to recreating that first experience I had driving a Mustang GT. But that, of course, does not stop the 2013 from being a fantastic machine. It's utterly phenomenal to drive, has a bone-chilling sound and is comfortable in all the right places.

All in all, I think that the Mustang is winning the muscle car wars, even though it doesn't look like it on paper. While the Camaro and Challenger are both worthy of high praise, the lighter Mustang wins big in both driving dynamics and aesthetics.

If you're one of those people that looks at cars simply as a way to get from A to B, I strongly encourage you to at least take a ride in a Mustang GT. I can almost guarantee that when that engine starts up, you'll find that there's at least a little bit of a car nut within you.

AOL Autos Score:

4/5 Stars


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