2011 Mustang New Car Test Drive
The Ford Mustang just keeps getting better. After a redesign for 2010, the 2011 Mustang gets two new engines, as well as new transmissions and improvements to ride, handling, and noise. So the 2011 Mustang represents a significant improvement over the superb 2010 edition of America's pony car, which was a large improvement over the 2004-2009 models, which was a major improvement over what came before that.
The Mustang has been in continuous production for 46 straight years, and more than 9 million Mustangs have been built and sold to date. That gives the Mustang the longest production run of any single model in Ford history.
The 2011 Ford Mustang comes in three body styles: coupe, convertible, and a glass-roof coupe. Each is available in both the traditional V6 model and the V8-powered Mustang GT. Both engines are much more powerful this year.
The 3.7-liter V6 replaces the old 4.0-liter V6, the new one producing 305 horsepower versus just 210 horses from the older, bigger engine. The new V8 marks the return of the 5.0. An new all-aluminum engine, the 5.0-liter V8 in the Mustang GT produces 412 horsepower, which is far more than the 315 horsepower of the outgoing 4.6-liter V8. Both new engines for 2011 get new six-speed manual and automatic transmissions versus the five-speeds of 2010.
The Ford Shelby GT500 gains power for 2011, with a new aluminum version of the 5.4-liter V8 producing 550 horsepower instead of the 500 ponies from the 2010 iron-block engine. We have not driven the new Shelby GT500. Yet.
The 2011 engines transform the Mustang, providing the type of willing power pony car fans will love while improving fuel economy at the same time. The engines are lighter and the car has more rigidity, so the already impressive handling is that much better.
The 2011 Mustang is also quieter and more refined than ever, and, more importantly, it's an absolute blast to drive. It is quick off the mark with a brawny sound, crisp handling, a tight suspension, and much improved brakes. Put simply, this is the best Mustang ever, and it is the model that other pony car makers should follow.
In addition to the new engines and transmissions, the 2011 Mustang gets an additional front Z brace and a revised suspension to improve ride quality while also improving handling; new safety features including Ford's MyKey system, power side mirrors with integral blind spot mirrors, and fold-down rear headrests; electric power steering meant to improve fuel economy while also aiding steering feel; and new features, such as a Performance Package for V6 models and available Brembo brakes for the GT.
The 2011 Mustang is offered in V6 Base and Premium models, V8-powered GT Base and Premium models, and the supercharged V8-powered GT500, each in coupe and convertible body styles. V6 models use a new 3.7-liter V6 that makes 305 horsepower. GT models have a new 5.0-liter V8 that produces 412 horsepower. The GT500s have an updated 5.4-liter V8 that produces 550 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional ($995) on all but the GT500.
The Mustang V6 coupe ($22,145) comes standard with cloth upholstery, air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, split folding rear seat, power mirrors, power windows, power door locks, remote keyless entry, AM/FM/CD player, auxiliary input jack, compass, outside-temperature indicator, theft-deterrent system, limited-slip differential, and P215/60R17 tires on alloy wheels.
The Mustang V6 convertible ($27,145) features a power convertible top and deletes the split-folding rear seat, but it is otherwise equipped the same as the coupe.
The Mustang GT coupe ($29,645) and Mustang GT convertible ($34,645) get everything above plus aluminum interior trim, automatic headlights, rear spoiler, fog lights, and P235/50WR18 front and 245/45WR18 rear tires. A Brembo Brake package ($1,695) adds Brembo brake calipers, reprogrammed electronic stability control that allows more leeway for performance driving, a tire mobility kit, and P255/40R19 tires.
Premium versions of the V6 coupe ($25,845) and V6 convertible ($30,845) and GT coupe ($32,845) and GT convertible ($37,845) upgrade to leather upholstery, six-way power driver seat w/lumbar adjustment, aluminum interior trim, leather-wrapped steering wheel, Shaker 500 AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio, Sirius Satellite Radio, Ford Sync entertainment and communications system, iPod adapter, wireless cell phone link, MyColor adjustable gauges, ambient lighting, and an automatic day/night rearview mirror.
The Shelby GT500 coupe ($48,645) and convertible ($53,645) come with leather/alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, leather/alcantara upholstery, xenon headlights, sport suspension, Brembo brakes, and P255/40ZR19 front and 285/35ZR19 rear tires. The GT500 does not have a split-folding rear seat. An SVT Performance Package ($3,495) for the Shelby includes a 3.73 rear axle ratio, unique shift knob, special exterior stripes, rear spoiler with Gurney flap, performance suspension with unique springs and rear shocks, P265/40ZR19 front and P285/35ZR20 rear tires on painted forged aluminum wheels.
The V6 Performance Package adds a 3.31 rear axle ratio; the front and rear stabilizer bars, front struts, and rear shocks and springs from the GT coupe; the rear lower control arm from the Shelby GT500; 19-inch wheels with Pirelli performance tires; the brake calipers from the Mustang GT with Performance Friction pads; a strut tower brace; and electronic stability control calibration with a Sport mode for performance driving. There's a Sport Appearance package ($295) that just has the rear spoiler and body stripes.
The Mustang Club of America Special Edition ($995) for the V6 Premium adds P235/50ZR18 tires on sterling gray metallic-painted alloy wheels, dark stainless painted billet grille with tri-bar pony badge, side tape stripes, decklid tape, rear spoiler, carpeted floormats with pony logo, and automatic headlights.
The California Special ($1,995) edition for the GT Premium adds 19-inch painted alloy wheels, a chrome billet grille with tri-bar pony badge, unique lower front fascia with foglamps, pedestal spoiler, decklid badge with faux gas cap, instrument panel applique, carbon door panel inserts, carbon inserts for leather seating surfaces, carpeted floormats with logo, rear diffuser-style fascia, decklid tape and side scoops.
A navigation system with voice recognition and real-time traffic information, and dual-zone automatic climate control come with the Electronics Group ($2,340). The Comfort Group ($595) adds heated front seats and a six-way power-adjustable front passenger seat. Other options include remote engine starting ($345), a rearview camera ($385), xenon headlights ($525), a convertible top boot ($160), Shaker 1000 audio ($1,295), polished alloy wheels ($495), hood and side stripes ($395), racing stripes ($475), 19-inch alloy wheels ($995), and a glass panel roof ($1,995).
Safety equipment includes dual front airbags, front side airbags, tire-pressure monitor, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, and Ford's SOS post-crash alert system that unlocks the doors, turns on the four-way flashers and sounds the horn if an air bag is deployed.