It’s back. Now, those people not familiar or fans of Mustangs over the years will have no idea what I am referring to, but for those faithful fans…. It’s back! The 5.0, the 5, the 5 liter, etc, etc. The engine that spawned an enormous aftermarket for mustangs during the 80’s and 90’s. 15 years ago I owned the last of the 5.0. A beautiful black, 1995 Mustang GT (yes technically it was a 4.9 liter but generous rounding meant all the badges said 5.0 on the engine and paperwork). Now, the 2011 Ford Mustang GT brings back the magic, and by all accounts the magic is working!
The 2011 Mustang GT starts at $30,495 and can go, if choosing some of the specialty models, up to the $50ks! However, the base GT model still packs a lot into the price with a 412hp 5.0 liter V8 being the biggest asset. Some other great features are air conditioning, MP3 auxiliary jack, floor mats, spoiler, halogen headlights, 18inch wheels, and a 6 speed manual (finally). There are plenty of options that can raise the luxury and performance envelope for those so inclined such as voice activated SYNC system, chrome wheels, navigations system, etc.
Pros: Without a doubt the biggest pro is the new 5.0 liter engine in the FY11 Ford Mustang GT. With over 400 horsepower and a shockingly good MPG rating of 26 highway miles per gallon, this car has all the assets to make it a winner. After years of waiting the 5 speed manual transmission has finally been upgraded to a proper 6 speed, matching its competition. What Ford has been able to do with the 2011 Mustang GT is keep its weight in check while adding all this power. This has allowed the Mustang to remain smallest and, arguably, best handling of the new pony cars. While looks are always subjective there are few, if any, that would find issue with the 2011 Mustang Gt’s looks. The new sheetmetal is clean and sleek and looks like it will be the kind of design that should age well.
Cons: Some will say the Mustang’s retention of a solid rear axle is a major issue. However, Ford has been able to virtually eliminate the hopping and shuddering that used to go along with a rear axle. What is left is a strong, dependable, set up that should be able to weather the inevitable upgrades that the aftermarket will produce. While the interior is a pleasant place to spend time in, at the price point, it can feel a bit cheap and plasticky. Luckily, a quick turn of the ignition will make these issues disappear.
Overall: The 2011 Ford Mustang GT has truly grown up in the last few years. Gone are all the small issues that you had to live with to get the power of a pony car. This Mustang is powerful, confident, smooth, and amazingly refined in its latest iteration. This car can truly be considered a sports car vs. just a pony car.