The V6 that thinks it's a V8 minus
Last week I got to spend 7-days driving around in a 2011 Ford Mustang convertible. This is the V6 that thinks it's a V8 with 305HP under the hood. Until 2010 the V8 used under the hood the Mustang GT was rated for the same 305HP. The test car Ford dropped off was a premium 6-speed convertible and naturally it turned up during the once every few year snowstorms we get here in Texas.
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My test car rolled in loaded out with just about all the options out can get on the car and had an MSRP of $33,470. The premium convertible has the 3.7L 4V TI-VCT V6 and a 6-speed manual transmission. It was Kona blue on the outside and had beige Saddle Leather inside. Other than the litany of standard features the premium convertible comes with, my tester also had the rapid spec package 202A that included the pony package, front floor mats, and body color side mirrors. It also had the security package, rear video camera, and white tape stripe. It is a very nice looking car.
I had a 2005 Mustang GT for a long time that was a convertible and had a 305HP V8. The thing I could tell straight away is that the 2011 convertible has much less road noise than the 2005 I had before and handles much better. The vert isn't as quiet as the 2010 GT coupe I now own, but it was much better than the 05 car I drove daily for over a year.
The 6-speed transmission in the V6 car isn’t as smooth shifting as the 6-speed that Ford uses in the 2011 GT. The V6 transmission is a bit notchier to me and had longer throws between gears. I have had a chance to drive a 2010 V6 Mustang for several days in the past and the new V6 is so much smoother and more powerful than the V6 in the 2010 and down cars that it's simply amazing.
The really crazy part is despite the significantly improved power of the 2011 V6, the new car gets very good gas mileage. The V6 is rated for 19 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway. With my heavy right foot, I average about 17 mpg in mixed driving.
I know many people have endlessly compared the 2011 V6 to the 4.6L V8 that was in the 09 down Mustang with many a claim that the V6 is a GT killer. The V6 in the 2011 car is very portent, but anyone familiar with the 305HP 4.6L V8 in the 2009 down Mustang will notice the major difference between the new V6 and the V8 right away - torque. The V8 in the 09 down cars has more of it and feels faster as a result.
The 2011 V6 Vert drives impressively well and the top is insulated well enough that even though the week I had the car average a temperature only a bit above freezing, the car was comfortable to drive. It rides very nicely and the car is also very rigid. Anyone that has driven in older Mustangs or convertibles will be familiar with the flimsy feel that you get from many convertibles when you are driving over bumps and railroad tracks The 2011 Mustang is ridged and had no shake and always felt planted and responsive.
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The top goes up and down smoothly and wind noise is present when you are cruising top down and buffeting is there as well. This is the case with every convertible I have ever owned or driven so it's nothing against the Mustang. I very much enjoyed my time with the 2011 Mustang V6 convertible. It really makes me reconsider my opinion of the V6 mustang as a car for non-enthusiasts with all the power the new engine has. This is an excellent car that is tons of fun to drive and very easy to live with even if you drive a lot. It has a great mix of performance, economy, looks, and usability.