2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 Review

Posted: Jul 7 2010, 2:35pm CDT | by , Updated: Aug 12 2010, 12:16am CDT, in News | Cars & Vehicles

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Today I am starting a new type of review here at I4U. I have often covered the technology that Ford uses in many of its new vehicles called Sync. In fact, I have previously reviewed Sync and it is hands down the best Bluetooth hands free system I have ever used. After writing about the tech Ford uses for a while now, Ford has stepped up and offered us cars to review. Today will be my first review of a Ford vehicle and it’s a fantastic one -- the 2011 Ford Mustang GT.

I don’t think you can really rate a car the way I rate the gadgets I normally fiddle with so this story won't use the typical review style you might be used too here at I4U. With that in mind, let's get right into it and talk about the awesome 2011 Ford Mustang GT. The 2011 Mustang GT looks virtually identical to the 2010 GT on the outside. A few subtle clues that something is different are the side mirrors with the integrated blind spot mirrors, the rear black fascia is slightly different, and the big give away is that each fender sports a 5.0 emblem rather than the GT logo of the 2010.

That 5.0 motor and the new 6-speed transmission are the stars of the show with the 2011 Mustang GT. The 5.0 uses high tech Twin independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) technology on the motor. What that means to the buyer is that the car can optimize itself for performance and for fuel economy. Each cylinder bank of the 5.0 has its own pair of camshafts and the variable timing allows for an increase in fuel economy of up to 4.5% over similar non-VCT motors. The tech also makes the new 5.0 more green than similar engines. The most important bits of information about the new 5.0 is that it is capable of 26 mpg on the highway and produces 412 bhp. Fuel economy and performance are no longer mutually exclusive.

The 2011 Mustang GT also gets a new 6-speed transmission. This is the first 6-speed for your average Mustang GT. In 2003 and 2004, Ford used a 6-speed in the infamous Cobra Mustangs, known as Terminators thanks to the fact that they obliterated the competition Arnie style. The Shelby GT500 cars also have 6-speed transmissions. In 2011, all Mustangs get the 6-speed manual in GT and V6 models and the automatic transmissions are also 6-speeds.

The specific 2011 Mustang GT I am testing has the 5.0 I have already talked about, the 6-speed manual transmission, and uses 3.73 gears. The car was fully optioned with heated seats, glass roof option, the Brembo Brake package, and 19-inch wheels with Pirelli summer tires for extra performance. Inside the car, my review unit has the basic leather for the GT Premium cars in Saddle color, which is a tan. The color of the interior drew mixed marks from those who saw it. Many swore the color was orange and hated it, while others thought it was the best part of the interior.

The interior of the 2011 Mustang GT is very well laid out and is almost the same as the interior from 2010 Mustangs, which was also very nice and much improved over 2009 to 2005 models that started the S197 generation. The 2011 is very quiet for a performance car, though you do get road noise thanks to the sticky summer tires. The only differences inside the 2011 compared to the 2010 are the 6-speed shifter, a new retainer system for the floor mats, and a pair of flip down headrests for the rear seats.

Those flip down headrests block a lot of your view when they are in the up position, which I suspect was a big reason Ford integrated the blind spot mirrors. My test unit also had the glass roof option, which makes the entire top of the car glass like a massive sunroof. The glass roof doesn't open and has an opaque shade to reduce light and heat into the car. That opaque shade really needs to be solid; it lets tons of heat into the car in warm climates like the south.

The real joy of the 2011 Mustang GT is the drive. This is the most powerful and quick stock GT that Ford has ever produced. The motor is smooth and very strong. It has a distinct European sound to it and reminds me of the BMW M3 more than it sounds like my 2010 Mustang GT with the 4.6L V8 or older 2V 4.6L motors. The summer tires offer lots of grip and perform very well. Even with summer rubber on the car, the 412bhp is plenty to annihilate any hope of traction if you get on the throttle hard with traction control off.

I don’t have the fancy hardware that Motor Trend and the other car mags use for performance testing, so I will use their numbers. Motor Trend was able to hit 60mph in 4.3 seconds with a car very similar to my test unit, including the 3.73 gears. The publication also ran the quarter mile in 12.8 seconds at 110.8mph. You need to keep in mind that these guys are professional drivers in optimum conditions so the real world performance will vary.

What I can say is the 2011 Mustang GT is FAST. The car has tons of power and to get the most out of it you have to run the 5.0 out to the redline. The transmission is fast, accurate, and very smooth shifting. My 2010 GT is a 5-speed and the 6-speed is so much faster and easier to shift. The 6-speed tranny feels like a 5-speed with a short shifter to shorten the distance between gears. The car is a rocket and as I said before, it is easily the fastest stock GT I have driven, and I have owned five over the years and driven many more.

I want to talked about the Brembo brakes, this option is about $2000 and is the feature that brings with the unique aluminum wheels and the summer performance tires along with better calipers and larger brake rotors. These are the best stock brakes in any car I have ever driven. The brake pedal has lots of bite, requires little force, and has excellent stopping power. In fact, these brakes will find their way onto my car as soon as you can buy them on the aftermarket via Ford Racing. If you are an enthusiast, you need this Brembo brake option.

The car rides very nicely, even on bumpy roads, despite the low profile tires. You can drive without worrying your back will hurt and you can certainly live with this car day in, day out as your daily driver and still burn up the track on the weekends. Ford put a lot of effort into the suspension so it would deliver a good ride and still perform, whoever came up with the suspension design needs a raise. In 2011 Ford also went to an electronic power steering system, which is very accurate and offers great road feel. I did feel like the steering wheel was moving faster than the wheels were when exiting the highway where the exit had a drop of 3-4 inches from the highway surface. That was easy enough to get used to though and other than feeling odd certainly didn’t affect my driving confidence.

The million-dollar question that everyone is asking me, since they know I am a big Mustang guy, is if I like it better than my 2010. The answer is no I do not like the 2011 GT better than MY 2010 GT, which is supercharged and feels much faster and is more fun to drive in my opinion. The 2011 Mustang GT is much faster than a stock 2010 Mustang GT though, so much faster that 2010 and 2011 GTs are in different leagues.

The only real issue I had with the 2011 Mustang GT I tested was its price, my review car checked in at over $39,000. That is a lot of money to cough up for a Mustang. Granted, my review car was loaded to the gills. You can shave about $10,000 off that price tag if you are more conservative with the options. Honestly if I were buying, I would only add AC, 3.73 gears, and the Brembo pack. That car would sticker in the lower $30,000 range. There have been reports of this car handing BMW M3's a beat down on the track though so in the realm of performance cars, even at over $39K, the 2011 Mustang GT offers a ton of performance for its price. I love this car! I also made a video ride along if the 2011 GT that you can check out shortly. We will attach it here when the video is uploaded. Update: Videos are available now below.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/3" rel="author">Shane McGlaun</a>
Tech and Car expert Shane McGlaun (Google) reports about what's new in these two sectors. His extensive experience in testing cars, computer hardware and consumer electronics enable him to effectively qualify new products and trends. If you want us review your product, please contact Shane.
Shane can be contacted directly at shane@i4u.com.




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