Sunday, May 30, 2010

Horse Sense

Picture stolen from Motortrend

As I was relaxing before work a couple of days ago, I went to the Ford website just to see what was what for 2011, hoping against hope that the Fiesta would be offered as a 3-door with a turbo. It wasn't. Just for grins, I clicked on the 2011 Mustang GT and started playing with the "build and price" feature. Then my life changed.

I'd heard from a guy at my unit who tunes up and races Mustangs that the 2011 was supposed to have 400hp and get better fuel economy than the 2010. "Yeah, right" I thought to my self. But it's all true. And it's relatively cheap. My spec'd up Mustang GT that I built in the computer (with optional Brembo 14" brakes, window louvers, and side scoops) cost $32,500 or so. But it gets better. I read some reviews from Motortrend, Edmunds, and Car & Driver. Motortrend hooked their test 'stang up to a dyno and found that the engine did not make the 412HP that Ford claim. No, it made 435HP. This year's GT weighs about 200lbs less than a Camaro SS, and nearly 400lbs less than a top spec Challenger. It still isn't a light car, less weight is better.

The shock came when I watched a review by Edmunds. The Mustang GT danced through the slalom at 67+ mph, and pulled .91G on a skid pad. These are numbers not far off from a Mazda Miata and Mini Cooper S. This year's GT might not handle like a shed! Ford has done away with hydraulic steering, which sucks power from the engine and makes it feel like an F-150. Instead, the 2011 is an electronic rig which the reviewers loved. The Mustang might be verging on "sports car" status. Add in an EPA rated 17/26mpg, and it starts to get REALLY appealing.

Oh, I'm still going to drive the other cars I wrote about here before I buy, but the Mustang just nudged its way back into the running. I like hot hatchbacks and nimble roadsters, but there's something inherently appealing to me about thundering along in a Mustang behind a massive V8. Way to go, Ford, and please continue to be the fly in GM's taxpayer-funded ointment.

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