2011 Ford Mustang GT Convertible Review
THE AUTO PAGE
By John Heilig
Model: 2011 Ford Mustang GT
Engine: 5.0-liter V8
Horsepower/Torque: 412 hp @ 6,500 rpm/390 lb.-ft. @ 4,250rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Wheelbase: 107.1 in.
Length X Width X Height: 188.1 x 73.9 x 55.8 in.
Cargo volume: 9.6 cu. ft.
Fuel economy: 17 mpg city/26 mpg highway/20.2 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 16.0 gal.
Curb weight: 3,720 lbs.
Sticker: $44,115 (includes $850 destination and delivery plus $5,420 in options)
Bottom line: If you’ve been waiting since 1964 to buy that mustang you’ve always wanted, his may be the one. The 2011 Mustang GT offers far more performance than its ancestor, as well as better driving characteristics and handling. It was worth the wait.
I’ve always been pretty proud of the fact that my wife and I owned the first fastback Mustang in central New Jersey way back in 1965. We liked that car, and even though it had a nice 289 cubic inch V8, the only competition it was really suitable f6r was rallying, American style.
Now, 46 years later, Ford has in its stable a Mustang GT that can do far more than just rally; this baby performs. With a new 5.0-liter V8 rated at 412 horsepower that replaces the old 4.6-liter V8, there are now 412 horses under the domed hood, with a shirt-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission to put the power to the rear wheels.
The first impression, after you get over the throaty roar from the exhaust, is he incredible short throws in the transmission. Grab the chrome ball shift knob and think of shifting into first and you’re there. First-to-second is at most a four-inch throw.
It is possible to miss a gear if you’re not concentrating. But we were careful and didn’t make any dumb mistakes.
We discovered a new road that we’ve traveled over dozens of times. This is Route 209 through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
Usually we’re trying to get home quickly and avoid confrontations with deer. This time, on the northbound leg, we followed a group of mature motorcyclists who were on an outing of their own. We all obeyed he speed limits and simply enjoyed he curves of the road.
After lunch we ventured further north along the Upper Delaware NRA. Here was an even better route without the danger of deer. The Mustang was the perfect car for this outing.
The front seats were comfortable with good side support. While we didn’t have an opportunity to race test the Mustang (it was painted in “Race Red Clearcoat, which didn’t exactly make it invisible), for all the driving we did do the seats fit the bill.
The rear seats offer essentially no leg room, and would be ideal for small children.
We toured a lot in our fastback that had copious cargo capacity under the glass. The GT, however only held 9.6 cubic feet, and some of that was taken up by covers for the soft top if you chose to keep it lowered. Lowering the top is a simple affair; unhook two latches and push a button. It’s simple enough and convenient enough that raising and lowering the top is a non-event.
Even though I still have problems figuring out how to make SYNC work, the navigation/audio/HVAC display screen is one of the clearest we have dealt with. There’s a small map on the left half of the screen. On the right, the audio is on top and the HVAC settings on the bottom, giving the driver and front passenger all the information they need in one place.
While the styling is a modern interpretation of the classic Mustang, this one is so much better. For example, our ’65 had what seemed to be a 60/40 weight distribution, front to rear. The 2011 GT’s weight distribution is 53/47, much closer to the ideal of 50/50.
Handling of the 2011 GT is outstanding, but the suspension isn’t harsh, making the passengers pay in pain for good handling. Even on a rough road, there’s enough compliance for comfortable ride quality. The mustang rides well even you aren’t hurrying
With all the torque available in the engine, it’s possible to leave it in a higher gear (almost like an automatic) and cruise along.
For creature comforts there is blue lighting on the (complete) instrument panel that ‘m still not completely sure about. I will vote “yes” on the blue lights in the cupholders, if only for the effect it has on a cup of water.
As to the sticker price, the base is $37,845. The big options are the Electronics Package with Navigation ($2,340) and the Brembo Brake Package ($1,695) that I heartily recommend.
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