There are few automotive monikers that carry more emotion and passion than Mustang. Corvette perhaps, but Mustang has as loyal and enthusiastic following as any car in history. Love it or hate it, Mustang is as American as apple pie and baseball. The recipe hasn't changed over the car's 45-year history. Big old American V8 power, rear-wheel drive, two-door styling.
|2011 Ford Mustang GT Convertible|
Base Price: $37,845
At-Tested Price: $41,705
Built in Flat Rock, Michigan.
Brembo Brake Package
Engine: 5.0-Liter V8
Transmission: 6-Speed manual
Drive Wheels: Rear-Wheel Drive
Ford has been trying to keep Mustang relevant over the years, giving it an exterior freshening last fall and a new engines this summer. In addition, the 2011 Mustang gets suspension and steering upgrades.
Three models continue Base, GT, and Shelby GT500. Coupe and convertible models are offered in each trim level. Both seat four on twin front buckets and a rear bench. Coupes get a fold-down rear seat back. Convertibles have a fixed rear seat back and get a power operated top with glass rear window.
The Base comes with a 3.7-liter that is new for 2011. It replaces a 4.0-liter V6 and has 305 horsepower, 95 more than last year. GT models get a 412-horsepower 5.0-liter V8, which replaces a 315-horsepower 4.6-liter mill. Shelby GT500s get a carry-over 5.4-liter V8 that's supercharged and makes 550 horsepower, ten more than last year.
Base and GT buyers can choose between a six-speed automatic transmission or six-speed manual. Shelby GT500s are only available with the six-speed manual. All models are rear-wheel drive.
Standard safety equipment includes antilock four-wheel disc brakes, stability control, post-crash alert, tire-pressure monitor, and dual-front and front-side airbags. Rear-view camera is available on the Base and GT. Park assist and curtain airbags are not offered.
The Base lists for $22,145 in coupe form and $27,145 as a convertible. Standard equipment includes air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, center console,
power mirrors, power windows, power door locks, keyless entry, AM/FM/CD player with digital-media player connection, variable-intermittent wipers, compass, outside-temperature indicator, rear defogger, floormats, theft-deterrent system, 215/60R17 tires and alloy wheels.
GT coupes list for $29,645 and convertibles start at $34,645. They add to the Base model
aluminum interior trim, automatic headlights, rear spoiler, fog lights and 235/50WR18 front and 245/45WR18 rear tires.
Available on the Base and GT is a Premium Package that adds leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather upholstery, six-way power driver seat with lumbar adjustment, upgraded sound system, AM/FM/CD/MP3 player with iPod adapter and satellite radio, Bluetooth cell-phone link, voice recognition and automatic day/night rearview mirror.
Shelby GT500 lists for $53,645 and to GT Premium uprated brakes, sport suspension leather/alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, leather/alcantara upholstery, HID headlights and 255/40ZR19 front and 285/35ZR19 rear tires. It deletes the split-folding rear seat back.
Options include navigation system with real-time traffic information and voice activation, sunroof, heated front seats and glass roof panel. Available only on the GT500 is the SVT Performance Package, which includes specific exterior trim, unique wheels, and a performance suspension. The Mustang is built in Flat Rock, Michigan and carry a destination charge of $850.
Get Up and Go What a difference a year makes, what a difference an makes engine (or in this case a couple of engines). Mustang went from also-ran in the Pony Car horsepower wars to king of the hill with its two new-for-2011 mills.
The V6 feels nearly as powerful as last-years V8, pulling from 0 to 60 mph in less than six seconds. The base engine has ample low-speed grunt for stoplight racing and plenty of pulling power for high-speed passing. In addition, the engine considerably smoother than the outgoing six banger.
If the V6 isn't enough for you, you'll certainly be pleased by the new 5.0-liter V8. It is shockingly more powerful than the engine it replaces and is easily a match for the larger V8 in the Chevrolet Camaro. Most buff books quote a 0 to 60 mph time of around 4.5 seconds, which seems more than class appropriate. Stomp on the gas and GT jumps off the line. Prod the go pedal for a quick highway pass and you're rewarded with a reassuring shove in the backside.
The six-speed automatic shifts smoothly and downshifts promptly when called upon. There's sometimes a hiccup when coming to a stop as the transmission downshifts and the engine blips to match rpm.
No such problems with the slick-shifting six-speed manual. It requires vigorous rowing, but the throws are short and positive and the clutch has a meaty feel.
Fuel economy is also a pleasant surprise. With automatic the V6 is rated at 19 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. The V8 with the same transmission rates 18 mph and 25 mpg. Both are class appropriate with the V6 at the top of the class for highway fuel economy.
In real-world driving will yield about 20 mpg overall with either engine--if you have a light throttle foot. If your commute includes lots of highway driving, opt for the V6 since it is much more efficient at highway speeds. Another plus of the V6 is the fact that Ford says it will run fine on regular-grade gasoline, whereas the V8 requires premium grade fuel.
On the Road If your looking for a silky and quiet ride or refinement from the suspension, the Mustang probably isn't for you. Even the more softly sprung Base model rides with more firmness than you'd expect. While never harsh, the Base doesn't have the bump absorption to keep the ride from growing busy.
On smooth roads, the GT's ride is firm. On badly broken or washboard roads, the ride borders on rough. It's not so hard that it's unbearable, but it's certainly not for everyone.
A result of the firm ride is excellent road manners. Any Mustang is easy to drive fast, and, true to its heritage the Mustang holds the road like a sports car. The tried-and-true solid rear axle can get upset by bumps in fast corners, but is a cost-effective and compact solution that's more than adequate in most situations. Enthusiasts might wish for a more-costly independent rear suspension, but the truth is, the Mustang's solid rear axle gets the job done and is a lot more reliable--especially when it's funneling the V8's 400+ horsepower to the road.
The steering has a nice heft that's perfect for a sports car and provides appropriate feedback in aggressive driving. Brakes provide plenty of stopping power, and unlike some sports cars are easy to modulate in stop-and-go traffic.
Interior noise levels are appropriate, but considerably higher than one might expect. There's lots of road rumble on concrete pavement and wind noise chimes in at extra-legal highway speeds. Interestingly, there is little wind buffeting in top-down convertible cruising, which is a pleasant surprise.
Behind the Wheel Mustang's interior features a retro theme that includes chrome-bezel gauges and a dual-cowl dashboard reminiscent of the original Mustang. The overall design makes for mostly functional controls and switchgear. However, using the console-mounted cupholders makes shifting the manual transmission difficult. While the interior looks appealing, some materials disappoint--especially on the base model. Luckily, there are dress-up packages available.
The front bucket seats are both comfortable and supportive, but the low seating position and high beltline make for a somewhat claustrophobic feeling and hurt outward visibility--that's not unusual in this class. Head and leg room are quite good--especially given the Mustang's sports-car intentions. An upright driving position makes getting in and out a lot easier than in some other, low-slung sports cars.
While the driving position is somewhat low, the steering wheel doesn't telescope, so extremely short or tall drivers may have an uncomfortable reach to the wheel. In addition, the convertible's sun visors are flimsy and offer little help when driving into the setting sun.
Seating in the rear isn't nearly as hospitable as the front. There's little head and leg room and the rear seats are deeply contoured, making the back seat best suited for children. That's probably best as getting in and out is a bit challenging for those without a gymnastic background.
The trunk is large compared to other sports coupes and features a wide opening and non-intrusive hinges. Still, its 13.4 cubic feet of storage space isn't large when compared to more functional hatchbacks. As least the coupe offers split-folding rear seats that help expand cargo-carrying capacity. Convertibles offer considerably less storage space and lose the folding rear seat backs. Interior storage is sparse and there are no door-mounted map pockets.
Bottom Line With the GT starting at $30,000, Mustang isn't the extreme performance value it once was. Still, the new V6 is a great engine and makes the base model appealing to enthusiasts--especially when equipped with the sport handling package.
Ford's locked in a pony car death match with Chevy and the Camaro. In addition, there's solid foreign competition from Nissan with the 370Z and new Hyundai Genesis Coupe. Thankfully, the blue-oval brand has stepped up Mustang's game with new engines for 2011. If you're in the market for a sports coupe, now's a great time to shop around for the best deal.
|Specifications, 2011 Ford Mustang GT Convertible|
|Dimensions||2-door Convertible||Engine||DOHC V8|
|Wheelbase, in.||107.1||Size, liters/cu. in.||5.0 / 302|
|Length, in.||188.1||Horsepower @ rpm||412 @ 6500|
|Width, in.||73.9||Torque (lb.-ft.) @ rpm||390 @ 4250|
|Height, in.||56.1||Transmission||6-Speed Manual|
|Weight, lbs.||3720||EPA Estimates, mpg||18 city / 25 highway|
|Cargo Capacity, cu. ft.||16.0|| |
|Fuel Capacity, gals.||9.6||Manufacturer's Warranty|
|Seating Capacity||4||Bumper-to-Bumper||3 years / 36,000 miles|
|Front Head Room, in.||38.8||Powertrain||5 years / 60,000 miles|
|Front Leg Room, in.||42.4||Corrosion||5 years / Unlimited miles|
|Second-Row Head Room, in.||36.5||Free Roadside Assistance||5 years / 60,000 miles|
|Second-Row Leg Room, in.||29.8||Free Scheduled Maintenance||None|