The naturally aspirated 5.0-Liter Coyote V8 in the 2018 Ford Mustang may seem like an already familiar engine, but Ford has improved upon it for the current model year. The cylinders have been bored out to 93.0 mm, up from 92.2 mm., The V8 now combines low-pressure port and high-pressure direct injection, has two new anti-knock sensors, redesigned cylinder heads and new crankshaft and connecting rod bearings. It revs higher — up to 7,500 rpm — and it's more powerful than before, providing up to a peak 460 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, up from the previous 435 hp and 400 lb-ft.

That extra power comes without sacrificing fuel economy. The 2017 Mustang GT saw fuel economy figures of 15 city/25 highway/18 combined with the manual transmission, and 15/24/18 with the automatic. For 2018, the manual-equipped Mustang GT remains the same, while the automatic is slightly more efficient than the model it replaces at 16 city/25 highway/19 combined.

The first thing you'll notice about the Mustang GT's 5.0-liter V8 engine when you fire it up is the sound. It's loud and proud. It's got a smoother, more breathy and organic note than the mechanical roar of a Hemi. At cruising speed, the Ford motor does an uncanny impression of a huge dog's growl, the kind you'll know if you've ever played tug with a Great Dane. It only gets better from there, which helps to make the Mustang GT a sonically rousing car to drive at any speed.

Ford really wants you to appreciate the sound of this engine, too. For 2018, the Mustang GT is equipped with Ford's available "Active Valve Performance Exhaust System," an $895 option. This allows you to dial up or tone down the sound through various mode settings: normal, sport, track and quiet. If you don't want to piss off your neighbors, it also has a time-configurable "Quiet Start" function, so those early morning ignitions won't wake the baby.

  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts
  • Image Credit: Reese Counts


That extra torque really makes a difference at the low end, giving the V8 a broad rev range in which it always feels punchy and potent. There's an impressive amount of grunt below 3,000 rpm. You can really wring this engine out, too, as it'll happily scream and pull its way up to the red line. Across the rev range, power delivery is urgent, but it's really smooth, too. The 5.0-liter V8 is just one part of an all-around solid package, and it means that the power is not just available, but predictable and well managed all the way from the cylinder to the point of contact between rubber and asphalt.

The interesting thing is, the 10-speed automatic transmission began to sour on me over time. With such broadly available power, the Mustang's V8 just doesn't need all those gears, and I found it hunting around a lot, especially in hard driving situations. With only six gears in our manual-equipped version, it was easier to really appreciate the strengths of this engine — to feel the power and work with it. As I've gained experience, I've come to appreciate automatics more and more, but this one doesn't feel like the right fit for this car. Paired with the Mustang GT's 5.0-liter, a 10-speed autobox just doesn't quite dance as well. (You can read more about the differences between the transmissions in our earlier review, here.) If you really want to appreciate the amazing engine Ford has built, stick to the stick.

The V8 in the Ford Mustang GT never disappoints. Every time we get behind the wheel of one, it's as though we're taken to some sort of magical land of enchantment for the senses: sound and feel. The fact that Ford has made that world even better for 2018 is really impressive. This V8 really stands out not just for performance, but for the good it can do for the human soul.

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