First Look: 2011 Ford Mustang GT

A new 5.0-liter V-8 will endow the 2011 Ford Mustang GT with a dose of history and the performance to stand up to the Chevrolet Camaro. Making 412 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque, the new V-8 will lend a serious performance boost to the pony car that was significantly refreshed for 2010, but didn’t offer many powertrain improvements. With the new engine, the speedometer now reads up to 160 mph and the tachometer’s redline is marked 500 rpm higher at 7000 rpm.

The new V-8 follows Ford’s November announcement that the Mustang will receive a more powerful and more efficient 3.7-liter V-6 for 2011. Both new engines seem to have a lock on the Chevrolet Camaro. The Ford’s V-6 out-specs the Chevy 305 hp to 304 hp and 280 lb-ft to 273 lb-ft. The new Ford V-8, however, does yield power and torque to the Camaro SS, rated at 426 hp and 420 lb-ft. The old 4.6-liter V-8 of the 2010 Mustang GT made 315 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque.

In addition to the new 5.0-liter, the GT will receive fresh transmissions, offering six gears in both automatic and manual form. Fuel economy is expected to check in at 17/25 mpg city/highway for the automatic and 16/24 for the manual-equipped GT.

All 2011 Mustangs will be equipped with Ford’s new electric steering setup, commonly referred to as EPAS. For the GT, there has also been mild retuning of spring rates, dampers, and anti-roll bars. A strut brace now crosses the engine compartment and the rear anti-roll bar has been stiffened. An optional Brembo brake package includes larger discs (14 inches in front) and calipers borrowed from the Shelby GT500 and 19-inch wheels covered with summer tires.

Also new for 2011 are blind spot mirrors, illuminated visors, a universal garage door opener, Ford’s programmable MyKey, and three new colors: yellow blaze tri-coat, race red, and ingot silver.

As shipped from the assembly plant, Ford says the engine weighs 430 pounds. The block and head are made of aluminum, while the intake manifold and cam covers are formed from composites. During development, engineers benchmarked the heads from the Shelby GT500, but created their own design. New twin independent cam timing allows the hollow camshafts to be phased separately to maximize performance and efficiency. Ford engineers confirmed that the engine can accommodate direct injection, but a short development time didn’t allow them to integrate the feature. For now fuel is sprayed into the intake runners. Those runners are virtually vertical as they feed into the cylinders, optimizing geometry to reduce flow losses.

Mustangs with 5.0-liter V-8s have a long history, starting back in 1968. Ford last offered a 5.0-liter in 1995 before the 4.6-liter arrived. But that last 5.0-liter technically displaced 4.9 liters. The new engine is a true 5.0, displacing 4951 cubic centimeters. To mark the significance of the engine, all GTs receive “5.0” badges on the front fenders.

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0-60 MPH:

5.1 SECS


19 City / 29 Hwy

Horse Power:

305 @ 6500