2011 Ford Mustang

Base RWD 2-Dr Coupe V6 man trans

2011 ford mustang Reviews and News

BMW M3 Honda Civic SI Hp
Desire isn't the only factor that dictates the cars we own
Our most vivid, gasoline-fueled dreams are often sidetracked by more practical realities-financial, familial, and otherwise. Take heart, though, because there has never been a better selection of prodigious yet pragmatic performers. To suggest the way an enthusiast might ascend the automotive ladder in life, from his (or her) twenties to his thirties to his forties, we gathered three pairs of cars with increasing price tags and increasing capabilities. Then we turned the keys over to a gearhead who fits the target demographic and is ready to climb the ladder.
Ford Mustang GT Nissan 370Z Rear Front
STAGE 1: The kids are alright
Even cheap compacts can let it all hang out on race weekend.
Honda Civic SI Volkswagen GTI Rear
The Participants
Tom Forst: White-collar wage slave during the week, take-no-prisoners racer on Sunday.
Honda Civic Si: A bit long-in-the-tooth but still provides great value -- and an awesome sound track.
Volkswagen GTI: Luxury-car refinement and German sports car performance in compact-car clothing.
For longer than just about anyone else, Volkswagen and Honda have been filling the gap for the twenty-something enthusiast. Starting with an eminently affordable small car, each automaker then drops in a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine good for about 200 hp, swaps in a heap of suspension goodies, and adds a smattering of spoilers and badges. Just like that, the ubiquitous Civic and Golf are transformed into the legendary Si and GTI. Fun to drive, cheap to run, and tasteful enough to take to a job-a real job-both cars perfectly suit the up-and-coming, car-crazy young adult. But which is better?
To find out, we headed to Belle Isle in Detroit, where the Michigan Sports Car Club had turned a parking lot into a sprawling autocross course. Requiring little investment from the driver aside from a helmet, and posing little risk to the car, autocrossing is an ideal gateway to racing for a cash-strapped young person (although regulars find plenty of ways to invest obscene amounts of money). It also happens to be the perfect venue for sorting out two compact cars that post nearly identical performance numbers. To keep everything consistent and to get some real-world input, we brought along our own twenty-eight-year-old racing driver, Tom Forst. An industrial engineer from Ortonville, Michigan, during the week, Forst spends his weekends tearing up Waterford Hills raceway in a four-cylinder Fox-body Ford Mustang.
Much like war and J. R. R. Tolkien novels, autocrossing features a few moments of heart-pounding action separated by hours of boredom -- meaning we have a long time to wait. At least this gives Forst plenty of time to familiarize himself with his two steeds. He immediately takes to the GTI's mature, refined interior over the Honda's more utilitarian (read: cheaper-looking) cabin. He does, however, appreciate the Civic's thickly bolstered driver's seat. "It's really firm and holds you in place," he says.
We also get a chance to scope out the competition, who have parked in various demographic and automotive cliques. There are the mostly gray-haired men easing Chevy Corvettes off trailers in the center and a few young guns in heavily modified Dodge/Plymouth Neons near the Porta-John. There are also plenty of VWs like ours, including a 2010 GTI piloted by, surprise, an engineer in his mid-twenties. The Civic guys, for their part, are sequestered in a far corner, smoking and looking tough. The bumper sticker on one late-model Si reads, "I love hatrs." They also seem slightly younger than their German-loving peers, with one owner identifying himself as a twenty-two-year-old med student.
Finally, after about an hour of crawling toward the starting position in the ninety-degree heat, Forst gets his chance in the Civic. He looks pretty smooth and, unlike some of the other drivers, doesn't take out half the cones on his first go-round. His times, though, are a bit slow. Fourteen seconds off the lead in the first run, a few ticks better in the second. Like any good racer, Forst blames the car. "The Civic pushes like a truck," he grouses. And although the Civic comes with a limited-slip differential, not enough of its 197 hp makes it to the pavement, as the inner wheel squeals out of every turn (with the standard all-season Michelin tires, at least). Maybe this is why Mr. Hatr Lover is sticking to the parking lot.
Honda Civic SI Side 2
After some more waiting, Forst gets to take a run in the GTI. His times immediately improve by about two seconds. Then four seconds. More telling is the smile on his face when he finds his way over to our spot in the shade. "There's a clear difference in the handling and feel of the car," he says. "You can feel when the back end is rotating and where it is." Clearly, the VW's fat rear antiroll bar and clever use of ABS to control wheel spin exiting corners -- the big advancements on the sixth-gen model -- are paying off.
However, it's not all grim news for the Civic, which, it must be noted, is about $2500 cheaper than our GTI despite coming equipped with a navigation system. For one, it can be the more engaging of the two cars on the street, where its quick steering and howling 2.0-liter squeeze out more adrenaline than the more relaxed GTI and its lower-revving turbo engine. "The Civic is a fun car to drive -- it just wouldn't be the one I'd bring out here," concludes Forst. The Si also showcases Honda's continuing devotion to, and mastery of, the manual gearbox. The VW's six-speed manual, by comparison, feels a bit rubbery and gives Forst considerable trouble on one run.
At the end of the day, though, the Civic's charm simply cannot overcome the German hatch's unyielding superiority. There's little doubt, in Forst's mind or ours, that the GTI is the better choice for the up-and-coming twenty-year-old, both as comfortable, upscale transportation to work during the week and as a cone-slicing weapon on the weekends.
Engine (Base/As Tested) : $22,955/$24,805
Engine: 2.0L I-4, 197 hp, 139 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Drive: Front-wheel
Honda Civic SI Volkswagen GTI Rear
Engine (base/as tested) : $23,990/$27,255
Engine: 2.0L turbo I-4, 200 hp, 207 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Drive: Front-wheel
Bargain Bin
Comfortable and in control. Bionic driving gloves, $40 at www.bionicgloves.com/
Snug yet flexible for precise pedal inputs. Oakley Race Low 2, $90 at www.oakley.com/
Record your on-track antics in high-def. Flip ultra HD, $200 at theflip.com and panavise 809-PG mount, $43 at www.panavise.com
Hot Import Nights events transform major cities into motor cities with car shows, tuner parts, and fast driving. www.hotimportnights.com
STAGE 2: Dad's night out
A sexy sports car is just the trick for escaping the responsibilities of one's thirties.
Nissan 370Z Ford Mustang GT Front End
The Participants
Jay Caldwell: Divides his time among his business, his family, and his 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle convertible. Ford Mustang GT: The pony car has grown up but can still lay down the rubber, thanks to its fabulous 5.0-liter V-8. Nissan 370Z: The Z is celebrating its fortieth birthday but doesn't rest on its laurels.
If you've read thirty-two-year-old Ezra Dyer's column this month, you're fully aware of how the thirties can change the priorities of even the most devout car nut. (If you haven't, he's on page 26. Go ahead, we'll wait.) The house, the kids, the job. They don't seem to leave much time for indulging in cool cars. This, however, is precisely why vehicles like the Ford Mustang GT and the Nissan 370Z thrive. Priced beyond the means of all but the most spoiled of youths, they serve as perfect getaway vehicles from the crushing responsibilities of adulthood.
The desire for just such an escape takes us to Detroit's annual Woodward Dream Cruise in a grabber blue Mustang GT premium and a fortieth-anniversary-edition Nissan 370Z. With us is a real, live thirty-eight-year-old, Jay Caldwell of Shelby Township, Michigan. As the owner of both a local Meineke Car Care and a pristinely restored 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle convertible, Caldwell certainly fits the bill as a car guy. But he's also a busy family man with a two-year-old daughter and a car-crazy nine-year-old son. Racing? Forget it. "I'm too old for that. I'd rather go out for ice cream with my kids," he says with a laugh.
Good thing. Because not much racing is happening as we pull onto Woodward Avenue in Ferndale, just north of Detroit. Instead, clumps of Corvettes, Chargers, and Trans Ams are creeping along at no more than 20 mph, the air shimmering with big-block heat and unfiltered exhaust fumes. Even among this impressive crowd, our two rides stand out. The 370Z's distinctly modern and, yes, Japanese lines provide a refreshing contrast to the vintage American muscle car overload around us. Even our model, which marks four decades since the 240Z's arrival on our shores with special gray paint and unique interior touches, has few overtly retro touches. "The Z has a ton of history, but it doesn't try to relive the old days," comments Caldwell. And yet he's also drawn to the Mustang, which recalls the 1960s with every crease in its sheetmetal. He particularly admires Ford's attention to detail, such as the sequential rear turn signals. The 5.0 badges don't hurt, either, and drivers of lesser Mustangs nod in deference as we pass.
The glorified traffic jam also gives Caldwell a chance to take in how the interiors of the Mustang and the 370Z have matured with their recent updates. Caldwell at first seems to prefer the Mustang for practical reasons-he finds the stereo crisper and cleaner and likes the idea of having a back seat for his kids. But he wavers when he sinks into the Z's red leather driver's seat and settles his hands on the perfectly positioned steering wheel. "You become a part of the Nissan," he says.
Nissan 370Z Ford Mustang GT Side In Motion
Finally, as dusk descends and we edge past 8 Mile Road, which marks the dividing line between Detroit and its northern suburbs, the traffic eases up. Welcome to Mustang territory. "This one's just brute power," Caldwell says as he gives the GT a bit of throttle. The heavy police presence prevents us from submitting to spectators' calls to race, but our separate closed-course testing confirms that the 412-hp 'Stang owns the 332-hp Nissan by about a second both in the 0-to-60-mph sprint and through the quarter mile. And then there's the sound. Whereas the Z's aging VQ V-6 is all noise, vibration, and harshness, the Mustang's new V-8 is loud and menacing when it should be and nearly sewing-machine smooth the rest of the time. The Nissan wins some points for its novel manual gearbox, which not only has slightly smoother throws than the Mustang's stick but also impresses Caldwell with its ability to match revs automatically on downshifts. "I do like that," he confirms. Ride quality is mostly a wash between the two cars, save for when just the right frequency of potholes hits the Mustang's live rear axle and sets its occupants bouncing.
By 10:30 p.m., the party's over, as police are demanding that the muscle-car-loving spectators go home. Plus, Caldwell needs to get back to being a family man. But he's enjoyed the escape provided by each of these sporty cars, albeit in different ways. "I wish I could combine the best elements of both cars," he notes. He's reticent to pick a winner, but he admits that his son would have less trouble picking between the two. "I think Sam would like the Mustang." We can't help but agree. If we were going all out on a racetrack, we'd likely pick the lighter, more sophisticated Z. But here on the streets, where a real thirty-something will actually drive it, the more comfortable, more refined Mustang seems like the smarter choice. Ford's V-8-powered pony car remains visceral and brutish enough to please any testosterone-addled teenager but has evolved such that it also meets the more demanding tastes of the thirty-somethings who can actually afford one.
Price (base/as tested): $30,495/$41,830
Engine: 5.0L V-8, 412 hp, 390 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Drive: Rear-wheel
Nissan 370Z Side
Price (base/as tested): $31,160/$40,160
Engine: 3.7L V-6, 332 hp, 270 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Start Saving
More track time means you'll be wanting a lighter and cooler helmet. HJC Motorsports Si-12, $700 at www.hjc-motorsports.com
Record your times at the racetrack, and then download the results the next day. mylaps car transponder, $399 at www.mylaps.com
Go to a racing school, where a professional instructor and some time on a track will help you learn the fastest way around the pavement.
STAGE 3: Adults have all the fun.
More power, more speed, and more fun in the most unassuming packages.
The Participants
Jim Zamberlan: A fan of German metal, manual transmissions, and the occasional track day.
BMW M3: A veritable legend that has long stood atop the automotive pantheon for its effortless speed and rewarding feedback.
Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG: It makes more horsepower and torque than the M3, but the C63 is unquestionably the underdog here.
With the BMW M3 and the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, perfectly adult wrappers mask the penchant for juvenile mischief, making these sport sedans ripe for the professional who's also a speed freak. Four doors and their familiar body shapes proclaim "practical!" "upscale!" "stable!" when parked in the corporate corral. Yet the subtle styling cues are enough that anybody who knows a clutch pedal from a brake recognizes that they're looking at two credible track cars.
We're verifying that credibility at GingerMan Raceway in South Haven, Michigan, where we've laid down a mere $60 for a couple hours of open track during a Tuesday night test-and-tune session. Our driver is a serious German car fan, forty-six-year-old Jim Zamberlan. After his high-school graduation gift -- a Triumph Spitfire -- was totaled in a parking lot, Zamberlan picked up his first Teutonic machine, an '86 Volkswagen GTI. He currently owns a 2010 Audi A4 Avant and a 2004 Volkswagen R32 that he takes to the track a few times per year.
After Zamberlan runs his initial laps in the C63, we're relegated to the parking lot while a Formula Continental driver shakes down his open-wheel car for the coming weekend's race. "I've always been a manual guy," Zamberlan pronounces. "Certainly, I can see the appeal of a good automatic transmission, because you immediately feel like Michael Schumacher with the rev matching. But at the end of the day, I'd probably buy a three-pedal car." Only one car here -- the M3 -- is available with a manual transmission, and both cars we've brought to the track use automatics with seven forward gears and paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
Zamberlan takes off for another twenty-minute session, this time in the Melbourne red M3, and returns knowing he's just driven the better track car. "It's clear to me that, in the right hands, this is ultimately the more capable car," he says, acknowledging that the C63 understeers more readily than the BMW. In addition to a more nimble chassis, the BMW offers greater range in character with electronically adjustable dampers, the ability to alter shift speeds in the dual-clutch gearbox, and the convenient "M" button on the steering wheel to activate your preferred settings. The Mercedes relies on passive dampers that are tuned for a livable ride that's still confident on the track.
Mercedes-Benz's $5950 AMG Development package stretches output from 451 hp to 481 hp, and the additional 2.2 liters of displacement over the BMW gives the C63 an additional 148 lb-ft of torque. That's an absolute boon for daily driving, but on the track, we're playing at the top end of the tachometer, and the BMW keeps up while humming happily and aggressively so close to its 414-hp peak at 8300 rpm.
BMW M3 Front In Motion
The C63 tops its massive torque with an intoxicating exhaust note, something that absolutely enchants Zamberlan. "To me, it's so unexpected that the Mercedes would sound better." The M3's exhaust is decadent as well, but the graceful crescendo is more like that of a high-strung racing car than the deep, rowdy fracas of the AMG. Our M3 also emits a disappointing heat-shield rattle akin to what you'd expect from a modded mid-'90s Honda Civic every time it takes off from a stop.
Peering through the passenger window, Zamberlan calls out the BMW's nondescript cabin: "That does not look like a $60,000 interior." The Mercedes seats also provide better lateral support than those in the M3, particularly from the bottom-cushion bolsters, reminding Zamberlan of the stock König buckets in his R32.
"I just felt comfortable in the Mercedes, period," concludes Zamberlan. "I would get more out of it faster." And what about that automatic transmission? "If I'd driven an M3 with a manual, would I change my mind? I don't know, but I will grudgingly admit that the Mercedes' seven-speed auto was very, very good."
"If every day was a track day, I'd probably go with the M3 just because I'm fairly positive that, given time and familiarity with the limits of both, I could post a faster lap in the BMW," Zamberlan suggests. "But in the real world, I just connected more with the C63 than I did with the M3, and while the Mercedes' ultimate limits may be slightly lower in the hands of someone far more skilled, I enjoyed it immensely on the track."
Price (base/as tested): $57,575/$66,775
Engine: 4.0L V-8, 414 hp, 295 lb-ft
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Drive: Rear-wheel
BMW M3 Side In Motion
Price: (basae/as tested): $60,325/$77,105
Engine: 6.2L V-8, 481 hp, 443 lb-ft
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Drive: Rear-wheel
If you have to ask...
Slip into a full racing suit before sliding behind the wheel. SPARCO PROFY, $949 AT www.sparcousa.com/
Capture every turn with video, audio, vehicle data, and lap information. Race-KeepeR SE STarts at $1395, www.race-keeper.com
No race fan's life is complete without a journey to attend one of the classic races. Try skipping the ovals of NASCAR and Indy and head for the world's oldest endurance race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. www.lemans.org
2011 Ford Mustang 2010 Honda Accord Coupe Front View
Just as it was in 1967, the 2011 Ford Mustang and 2011 Chevrolet Camaro are natural rivals, not only in their design and performance, but also in showroom sales. So we didn't need Ford to tell us that the Camaro is the most cross-shopped vehicle for Mustang buyers. We were surprised, however, when Ford revealed the second most cross-shopped vehicle. We suspected -- as you may -- either the Dodge Challenger, the Hyundai Genesis coupe, or the Nissan 370Z. After the Camaro, though, Ford says shoppers are most likely to compare the Mustang with the Honda Accord coupe. So we gathered the two coupes for head-to-head comparison.
2011 Ford Mustang 2010 Honda Accord Coupe Front View
Ford's emotive pony car stands in dramatic contrast to the conservative styling, family-sedan roots, and front-wheel drive of the Honda. The pairing, though, starts to look more natural once we have keys and window stickers in hand. Both cars offer the sporty image of a coupe with high-output V-6 engines and six-speed manual transmissions and just $600 separates the two cars we're driving. The Accord -- an EX-L with navigation and no other options -- is the more expensive at $32,055. Standard equipment includes leather, heated seats, a ten-way power driver's seat, automatic climate control, and a seven-speaker audio system.
The premium-trim Mustang starts at $26,695 but is priced at $31,445 here. Upgrading from a base car to the premium package is worth it simply for the meatier leather stitched steering wheel that replaces the wimpy, cheap molded plastic wheel. You'll also get leather seats, a partial power driver's seat, and Ford's Sync system that connects cell phones and portable audio devices. Our options included the cosmetic Mustang Club of America package ($995), security package ($395), backup camera ($385), a shorter 3.31:1 rear axle ($395), and heated seats with a partial power passenger's seat ($595). Our test car also boasted the $1995 performance package, which is a must-have in our opinion. It adds a firmer suspension similar to that in the Mustang GT, 19-inch wheels, Pirelli PZero tires, upgraded brakes, and a sport mode for the stability control. Navigation, while not here, can be had in combination with automatic climate control and HD radio for $2350.
It doesn't take a perfectionist or experienced critic to identify several poor fits among the Mustang's interior panels. The center stack in particular shows several uneven gaps and panels that aren't flush where they meet. Honda wins hands down if you are picky about such details. Beyond that minor caveat, the Ford interior is smart, fashionable, and rich. The materials, style, and ergonomics are far more appealing than the cluttered spread of controls on the Accord's center stack. The cabin and seats are more confining in the Mustang, but comfort in the two cars is similar. Ford can also tout extra touches like the convex blind spot mirrors and customizable colors for the gauges and ambient lighting.
2011 Ford Mustang 2010 Honda Accord Coupe Front Three Quarters
The Mustang does have one fatal flaw, though. The steering wheel doesn't telescope. Senior web editor Phil Floraday was so bothered by the long reach that he deemed it a deal-breaker. The Honda buyer also gains the convenience of a power seat recliner and the comfort of adjustable lumbar support. The Accord also offers more utility if you intend to regularly use the back seat. With an extra 3.3 inches of legroom for third and fourth passengers, adults might last an hour in the back of the Honda. By contrast, rear-seat passengers in the Mustang are typically ready to get out the moment you slide the front seat back into position. There's even a fifth seatbelt in the Honda should you dare to use it.
The Mustang's new engine boasts 95 more horsepower than last year's V-6. The long overdue powetrain upgrade, though, is initially underwhelming. Despite output of 305 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, the engine is slow to rev and breathes like a shot-put thrower running the steeple chase. From the cabin, the sounds and vibrations deliver the feel of a beefy 4.0-liter unit that belongs in a truck like Toyota's FJ Cruiser rather than a dynamic sports car. There's also the feel of a massive flywheel bolted to Ford's V-6, causing revs to hang when changing gears. In contrast, Honda's 3.5-liter zings to redline eagerly and feels just as smooth at 6500 rpm as it does at idle. Rated at 271 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque, the Honda engine doesn't pull as strongly from low rpms, but it's able to keep up with the Mustang.
Of course, we'd be misleading you if we didn't tell you the objective truth about this revitalized V-6 Mustang. It's fast. As in 5.3 seconds to 60 mph. And that starts to influence our subjective opinion. Like an addicting narcotic, you quickly become blind to the V-6's undesirable qualities and find yourself dipping into blissful gratification without thought or concern. Qualms about coarseness and engine attributes evaporate and it becomes difficult to accelerate at less than 70 percent throttle. Such performance does more move the Mustang quickly down the road. Dipping into the fun pedal quickly kills Ford's excellent EPA rating of 19/29 mpg city/highway. Our Mustang mileage couldn't even match the city number of the Accord's 17/25 mpg rating.
2011 Ford Mustang 2010 Honda Accord Coupe Front View 2
While the Accord's engine is entirely satisfying, the clutch and transmission work to detach the driver from the enjoyment provided by the Mustang. Light effort and long travel for both the clutch and stick make for slower, less direct gear changes. The six-speed stick is also somewhat sloppy compared to the excellent shift action we've come to expect from Honda products like the Civic Si and Acura TSX. Ford hits on the other end of the spectrum with a tight, stiff shifter and shorter, more linear clutch travel. When you're hustling the car, the Mustang's gearbox allows for quicker shifts that add to the visceral thrill of acceleration, and yet it's no less friendly in relaxed driving. Honda's approach may appeal to a few commuters, but we're guessing those people all buy automatic transmissions.
In steady-state cornering -- staying off the throttle in corners -- the two cars handle at the same level. Both coupes are equally willing to turn in, though the Accord has slightly more substantial steering feel and feedback than the Mustang. Assistant editor David Zenlea was surprised that the cars felt so similar in their capability. "I'd take the Mustang," he declared. "But it'd be more of a style decision than the performance advantage that I expected from the Mustang." Of course, if you ask the cars to accelerate midcorner, the Accord's front wheels quickly becomes overwhelmed and squeal for mercy. The Mustang is much happier to oblige, following the line without any rear-wheel-drive, oversteering antics. Breaking traction from the Pirelli rubber in a turn takes concerted effort. With its multilink rear suspension and softer tuning, the Accord rides better over all surfaces, but the Mustang's live rear axle truly only feels like a liability on the roughest roads. The stiffer performance package suspension proves to be tolerable in relaxed driving and is only jarring over large bumps at low speeds.
2011 Ford Mustang Front Three Quarters Ground Shot
In picking a winner, we have to admit that we fall for the smoke and mirrors of the Mustang, both literally and figuratively. A burnout just looks silly coming from the front wheels and we're rather fond of Ford's blind-spot mirrors. Then there's the classic shape that equates to instant street cred and frequent compliments. You'd never get that in a Honda Accord coupe, even if it was slathered in Ford's ostentatious grabber blue paint. However, the Mustang also earns enough merits in its performance to make it the rational choice. It offers better fuel economy (on paper), a more engaging gearbox, rear-wheel-drive, and the new V-6 is seriously fast, even if it's not seductive in character. Not only does the 2011 Ford Mustang make the Honda Accord coupe look pedestrian, it also moves the needle on what we expect from an affordable sports car, both in terms of performance and interior comfort.
1006 02+2011 Ford Mustang 5 0+front Three Quarter View
God bless the Chevrolet Camaro. If it weren't for the 2009 revival of the General's muscle car, we might still be driving Mustangs saddled with old, underpowered engines. But last year, the Camaro's V-6 was just 11 hp shy of matching the Mustang's V-8 output. Ford had to respond, because Chevrolet hadn't simply won the spec-sheet battle; both six- and eight-cylinder Ford engines were unreasonably crude for duty in anything claiming to be a sports car.
1006 02+2011 Ford Mustang 5 0+front Three Quarter View
Action comes in the form of two new engines for the 2011 Mustang that pit Blue Oval versus Bowtie as never before. The new 305-hp V-6 rings in exactly one horsepower stronger than the Chevy six-cylinder. It also produces 95 hp more than the outgoing V-6 Mustang. The headliner, however, is a new V-8 that brings back Ford's famous 5.0 badge.

Rollin' in the 5.0
At 412 hp, the 5.0-liter falls short of the 426 hp in a Camaro SS but the Mustang GT also has a 244-pound advantage over the Chevy. Once we are behind the wheel, though, we aren't really inspired to draw comparisons with the Camaro. Rather, we're content to revel in the new mill's flexibility. As a distant relative of the 315-hp 4.6-liter, the 5.0-liter V-8 feels smooth and unrestricted at low rpm and willingly nips the 7000-rpm redline when it's pressed. And pressing it is exactly what you'll want to do, whether you're trying to get somewhere quickly or just destroy your rear tires with smoky burnouts. Tight canyon roads outside Los Angeles highlight the V-8's wide torque band; we leave the stick in second gear while we run from 2000 to 6000 rpm and back repeatedly. Inside the cabin, the exhaust note is a bit soft but the low wub-wub-wub warble has been piped into the cabin with an induction tube and sounds spot on. A sport exhaust, though, would complete the package.

A new V-6, too
While the 5.0 is the big news, the base Mustang actually receives a greater number of significant updates. In addition to the new 3.7-liter engine, the V-6 car now includes a limited-slip differential, a cold-air intake, and dual exhaust as standard equipment. There's also a new performance package, which Ford hopes will appease young enthusiasts who can't afford insurance on a GT. Upgrades include a numerically higher 3.31:1 rear axle, the Mustang GT suspension, a strut-tower brace, nineteen-inch wheels, Pirelli summer tires, and a stability control sport mode. Our V-6 tester didn't have the performance package, but it was equipped with the 3.31:1 final drive as a stand-alone option to deliver more eager acceleration. Yet within a few miles of driving the V-6, we were underwhelmed by the power delivery. The engine is slow to rev and acceleration feels more anemic than you'd expect from 305 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Still, it's a much better feel than the crass truck-engine character of the old 4.0-liter. The new engine is better described as a passionless, mainstream wheel-turner. Perhaps that's a function of the 3.7-liter's other duties in the Ford Edge crossover and Lincoln MKS and MKT. Whereas the Camaro led many to say that a V-6 needn't play second fiddle to a V-8, our recommendation for the Mustang is quite the opposite: find a way to get into the V-8.
The transmissions in both base and GT Mustangs have an additional cog over last year's gearbox, totaling six forward gears for automatic and manual units. The experience, though, is largely unchanged from last year's car. The short stick topped with a ball-shaped shifter requires firm throws to move through a tight and notchy pattern that's fitting for a muscle car. The more efficient engines and wider gear spreads result in fuel economy increases across the range. The most frugal V-6, an automatic coupe, returns 19/31 mpg. GTs are rated at 18/25 with the automatic and 17/26 with a manual.
Chassis changes
The switch from hydraulic steering assist to an electromechanical setup also improves fuel economy. Ford uses five different steering calibrations for the Mustang, depending on whether the car is a coupe or convertible, V-6 or V-8, or if it's a GT with the Brembo brake package. We weren't able to sample all five flavors, but we did detect a noticeable difference between a Brembo-equipped GT and the V-6 coupe. In our GT, the steering was so good - so even, precise, and communicative - that it drummed up thoughts of BMWs. The Brembo-package calibration isn't as heavy as the Bavarians would require, but it's just as consistent. The V-6 coupe's steering is also quite good, but it feels marginally overboosted and just slightly vague off center around 30 mph.
1006 01+2011 Ford Mustang 5 0+burning Out
With new engines - and the resulting weight changes - engineers had to retune the spring and damper rates. Additionally, they've stiffened the front end with a Z-brace, tweaked anti-roll-bar diameters, and mounted firmer and grippier bushings front and rear. Relocating the mounts for the upper control arms also reduces axle hop during smoky launches. Of course, the Mustang stubbornly continues with its live rear axle, and Ford's best efforts will never conquer physics. The V-6 we drove transitioned between a jarringly stiff ride at low speeds and loose control at higher velocities. The GT, however, was much more constant in its responses and was composed over all but the harshest roads. If the wheels find a calm surface, handling is exceptional, with quick turn-in and flat body control.
Last year's looks
The Mustang received a significant face-lift for the 2010 model year, so the few subtle changes for 2011 (a brighter pony emblem on the GT, for example) are trivial and difficult to spot. Ambitiously - and somewhat oddly - Ford displayed an Audi A5 as the company's chief benchmark for interior quality. The GT features a wide span of genuine aluminum on the dash and attractive leather seating options. However, the Audi bogey is still a bit of a stretch for Ford's utilitarian radio and climate controls and dash plastics. Seat time in the Mustang did reconfirm, though, that the Mustang is the most comfortable and natural of the muscle car trio, with unparalleled visibility and a sporty feeling of compactness.
Mustang prices see modest increases for 2011, but the latest pony is well worth the extra cost. A V-6 coupe now starts at $22,995 including destination. That's up $750 from last year, but still $535 cheaper than a Camaro. V-8-powered GT models start from $30,495 to the Camaro's $31,795.
The good war
The 2011 Mustang delivers quicker acceleration, sharper handling, and a better driving character, yet its best quality may be that it's an agitator. By taking such a direct shot at the Camaro, Ford has forced Chevrolet to return fire. A mild power increase that will put V-6 Camaro output ahead of the Mustang should come soon, and you can bet that's not all Chevy is working on. The war is on, and it's shaping up to be a good one.
2011 Ford Mustang
1006 05+2011 Ford Mustang 5 0+shifter
PRICE RANGE: $22,995–$30,495
As Tested: $35,390 (GT)
Engine: 32-valve DOHC V-8 (GT)
Displacement: 5.0 liters (302 cu in)
Horsepower: 412 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 390 lb-ft @ 4250 rpm
Engine: 24-valve DOHC V-6 (base)
Displacement: 3.7 liters (228 cu in)
Horsepower: 305 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 280 lb-ft @ 4250 rpm
Transmission Type: 6-speed manual
Drive: Rear-wheel
Steering: Power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Suspension, front: Strut-type, coil springs
Suspension, rear: Live axle, coil springs
Brakes: Vented discs, ABS
Tires: Pirelli PZero
  (Brembo brake package coupe)
Tire size: 255/40WR-19
L x W x H: 188.1 x 73.9 x 55.8 in
Wheelbase: 107.1 in
Track F/R: 62.3/62.9 in (coupe)
Cargo capacity: 13.4 cu ft (coupe)
Curb weight: 3463–3621 lb
Weight dist. F/R: 53.9/46.1%, 55.0/45.0%
  (V-6, V-8)
EPA Mileage: 17–19/25–31 mpg
Test Results
  V-6 V-8
0–60 mph (sec) 5.3 4.6
0–100 mph (sec) 13.1 10.4
1/4–mile (sec @ mph) 13.8 @ 103 12.9 @ 112
30–70 mph passing (sec) 6.9 4.6
70–0 mph (ft) 156 164
Cornering L/R (g) 0.94/0.91 0.98/0.99
Techtonics: Mustang Spooked by Coyote
Don Sherman
1006 07+2011 Ford Mustang 5 0+rear Three Quarter View
Rumors of the V-8's demise were exaggerated. To add kick to the 2011 Mustang GT's gallop, Ford has revived the 5.0-liter badge for a new 412-hp V-8 called Coyote.
The first 5.0-liter V-8s earned Ford the 1966 manufacturer's championship in the SCCA's over-2.0-liter Trans-Am class. Since America was still struggling with the metric system, the street edition was called Boss 302 (as in 302 cubic inches) when it was added to the 1969 Mustang lineup.
The new 5.0-liter engine, which descends from Ford's twenty-year-old modular V-8, keeps long-standing bore-spacing and deck-height dimensions to shorten the development process and to permit use of existing manufacturing tools. Like the 4.6-liter V-8 it succeeds, this engine has a nearly equal bore (92.2 mm) and stroke (92.7 mm).
The new aluminum block has six-bolt main-bearing caps securing a forged-steel crankshaft. Cast-aluminum pistons cooled by oil jets squeeze the fuel/air mixture with an 11.0:1 compression ratio. The aluminum heads have high-flow ports and four valves per cylinder opened by dual overhead camshafts via finger followers. Both the intake and the exhaust cams provide variable valve timing as reflected in this engine's Ti-VCT (twin independent variable cam timing) official designation. A single 80-mm-diameter throttle meters air into the molded-plastic intake manifold.
Direct fuel injection did not make the cut, but according to program manager Mike Harrison, space is reserved for both that upgrade and a supercharger. Premium fuel is required to achieve the full 412 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque; skinflints who fill their tanks with regular will suffer losses of 10 hp and 13 lb-ft.
To throw a bone to Mustang V-6 customers, the previous 4.0-liter base powerplant has been ditched in favor of Ford's more modern DOHC 3.7-liter engine. Weight-saving features include a die-cast aluminum block and oil pan and a molded-plastic intake manifold and cylinder-head cover. The DOHC heads feature four valves per cylinder and variable valve timing on both intake and exhaust tracts. Regular fuel is permissible with the 10.5:1 compression ratio. The 305 hp at 6500 rpm that the new V-6 produces is a satisfying 95-hp jump over the outgoing engine. Ford proudly notes that the 2011 Mustang is the first 300-plus-hp car to top 30 mpg in EPA highway mileage tests.
5-liter Fame
1006 04+2011 Ford Mustang 5 0+emblem
The 5.0 Mustangs of the 1980s can't match the iconic status of the 1960s and 1970s 'Stangs. Dodgy looks are the likely reason that the 1979-1993 car has made so few television and movie appearances. However, 157 hp in 1982 was serious power, and drag racers have formed a cult around raising output, with complete engine builds making more than 600 hp.
After a year on the market, the third-generation Mustang, commonly known as the Fox body, drops the vintage 302-cubic-inch (5.0-liter) V-8 in favor of a 119-hp, 4.2-liter V-8.
Ford replaces the 4.2-liter with an updated "5.0." Although the actual displacement was only 4942 cubic centimeters, Ford liberally rounds up.
At the request of the California Highway Patrol, Ford produces the Special Service Package with more durable hardware and the 5.0 under the hood. The SSP becomes a popular alternative to slow, heavy cruisers, particularly with state police agencies. Some 15,000 units are sold through 1993.
Rapper Vanilla Ice celebrates his own V-8 'Stang (a white convertible) in "Ice Ice Baby," rhyming, "I'm on a roll/It's time to go solo/Rollin' in my five-point-oh/With my ragtop down so my hair can blow."
Vanilla Ice shows his creative range when he releases a single called "Rollin' in my 5.0" that is complemented by a music video full of spinning tires and bad green-screen effects. Ice's claim of "Zero to sixty/Four seconds/No play" was pure creative license.
The fourth-generation Mustang arrives, featuring a contemporary, softer shape.
Ford kills the pushrod 5.0 and replaces it with a single-overhead-cam 4.6-liter V-8.
Ford reintroduces the 5.0-liter V-8 in the 2011 Mustang GT at the Detroit auto show with the help of Grammy Award-winner and hip-hop star Nelly.
2011 Ford Mustang
2011 Ford Mustang
The Ford Mustang is a classic car that has been offered since the early 1960's and these muscle cars have been though an amazing amount of changes. In constant competition with the Chevrolet Camaro, these 2 door hot rods are an American icon that will always be remembered. The newest addition to the Mustang family brings some the older features and styling that Mustang lover expect, but there are also some new features that will surely be warmly accepted too.

Much of the 2010 features carry over to the 2011 model, there has been some updates to the sheet metal used on the body and some new interior design changes. The same platform that has being used since 2005 is still being implemented and this new generation Mustang. The powerful engine options and independent rear suspension make the Mustang a very fun to drive and fast street car. As usual, the Mustang comes equipped with seating for four, but only the front seats are really useable due to the lack of leg room in the back.
Mustang Dyno Blowout
Strapping your car to a dyno is a great way to get a glimpse at how the car is operating and how much power the engine produces. Usually, the car is run up to top rpm in a single gear, and then let return to idle from redline, with the dynamometer calculating horsepower and torque put down to the wheels. While usually safe and low-risk, a new video highlights precisely what can go wrong on a dyno run.
2015 Ford Mustang Front Three Quarter Illustration
With the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang just two years away, the American automaker is putting the pedal to the metal on the next-gen car’s final design details. J Mays, Ford’s design director, was at the Frankfurt Motor Show and spoke with Automotive News on how the 2015 Mustang is shaping up.
2011 Jeep Wrangler Front Three Quarter Yellow V2
Ah, Labor Day. As the unofficial end to summer, the holiday -- and the associated three-day weekend -- marks the line between trips to Dairy Queen for ice cream and going to Staples for school supplies, between beach days and foliage tours. For vacationers, it’s the last hurrah for bathing suits and flip-flops before it’s time to break out the cardigans and fuzzy boots.
2012 Shelby Gts Mustang Front View
Production of Shelby American’s 2012 models has begun, according to the Las Vegas-based company. With construction of the last 2011 models nearly complete, Shelby says that the all-new GTS package for the 2012 Ford Mustang can enter production a little ahead of schedule.
Ford Mustang SPX Galpin Auto Sports Special Edtion
Driving a supercharged 700-hp Ford Mustang can make almost anyone feel invincible, but knowing buying the beast also helps children could make the driver of this muscle machine feel like a superhero. Galpin Auto Sports is building a customized Mustang for SPX Corporation, who will auction the special car off at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., with proceeds going to St. Jude Children’s hospital.

Change Vehicle

Research Now

Certified Pre-Owned 2011 Ford Mustang Pricing

Certified Pre Owned Price

Used 2011 Ford Mustang Values / Pricing

Suggested Retail Price

Free Price Quote

Compare dealer clearance prices and save.
Select this Vehicle

Compare The 2011 Ford Mustang

Click Circles to Compare

Your Selected Vehicle's Ranking

2011 Ford Mustang
2011 Ford Mustang
Base RWD 2-Dr Coupe V6
19 MPG City | 29 MPG Hwy
Top Ranking Vehicles - MPG
2011 Ford Mustang
2011 Ford Mustang
Base RWD 2-Dr Coupe V6
19 MPG City | 29 MPG Hwy
2011 Ford Mustang
2011 Ford Mustang
Base RWD 2-Dr Coupe V6
Top Ranking Vehicles - Price
2011 Ford Mustang
2011 Ford Mustang
Base RWD 2-Dr Coupe V6
2011 Ford Mustang
2011 Ford Mustang
Base RWD 2-Dr Coupe V6
Top Ranking Vehicles - Horsepower
2011 Ford Mustang
2011 Ford Mustang
Base RWD 2-Dr Coupe V6

2011 Ford Mustang Specifications

Quick Glance:
3.7L V6Engine
Fuel economy City:
19 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
29 MPG
305 hp @ 6500rpm
280 ft lb of torque @ 4250rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats (optional)
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer Rear (optional)
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
36,000 miles / 36 months
60,000 miles / 60 months
Unlimited miles / 60 months
60,000 miles / 60 months
Recall Date
Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain model year 2005-2014 Mustang vehicles manufactured April 6, 2004, to June 21, 2014, and 2005-2006 GT vehicles manufactured February 20, 2004, to September 22, 2006. The affected vehicles are equipped with a dual-stage driver frontal air bag that may be susceptible to moisture intrusion which, over time, could cause the inflator to rupture.
In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the driver's frontal air bag, the inflator could rupture with metal fragments striking the driver or other occupants resulting in serious injury or death.
Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace the front driver side air bag inflator, free of charge. Ford issued an interim notification to owners on July 20, 2015. Owners will receive a second notice when remedy parts become available. Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford's number for this recall is 15S21. Note: This recall supersedes recall 14V802 in its entirety. Additionally, vehicles that have had their driver side frontal air bag replaced previously as part of a recall remedy need to have their air bag replaced under this recall as well.
Potential Units Affected
Ford Motor Company

NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rollover
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
IIHS Overall Side Crash
IIHS Rear Crash
IIHS Roof Strength

Find Used Ford Mustangs For Sale

Search through millions of listings in the Automobile Magazine classifieds