Ford evolved the retro looks of its Mustang pony car last year, and for 2011 the Mustang gets significant changes under the hood with a new V-6 that makes 305 horsepower and a 5.0-liter V-8 that cranks out 412 hp. The Mustang continues to be offered in coupe and convertible body styles, and its primary competitors include the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger.
It is also sold as a higher-performance Shelby GT500 variant.
(Skip to details on the: Shelby GT500)
New for 2011
The newly standard 3.7-liter V-6 in base Mustangs makes 305 hp and 280 pounds-feet of torque, while the 5.0-liter V-8 that powers GT models produces 412 hp and 390 pounds-feet of torque. New standard features include a message center integrated into the instrument panel and lane-changing mirrors — small, wide-angle mirrors that provide a better view of traffic — incorporated into the side mirrors.
Styling changes last year gave the Mustang a more modern, less retro appearance. It still features a forward-swept grille, but it has a compressed look and a power-dome hood. The grille gained a new Mustang badge, and the front fenders featured smoother styling. For 2011, GT models get a small but significant styling feature: 5.0 badges on the front quarter-panels.
- Progressively illuminating LED taillights
- Standard 17-inch aluminum wheels
- Available 18- and 19-inch rims
The Mustang's cabin makes use of premium materials, including a soft-touch dashboard surface, but it carries over relatively unchanged from 2010, when it was significantly updated.
- Retro gauges
- Standard air conditioning
- Standard CD stereo with MP3 jack
- Standard cruise control
- Available 8-inch touch-screen navigation system with Sirius Travel Link
Under the Hood
The Mustang is offered with V-6 or V-8 power, and both engines are new for 2011. Each engine can run on regular gas, though the V-8 will see a slight drop in output; it requires premium gas for maximum performance. The new engines drive the rear wheels through new transmissions; V-6 and V-8 Mustangs are available with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.
- 305-hp, 3.7-liter V-6 with 280 pounds-feet of torque
- 412-hp, 5.0-liter V-8 with 390 pounds-feet of torque
- An available V-6 Performance Package features a 3.31 rear axle ratio, firmer suspension tuning, 19-inch wheels and summer tires, a strut tower brace and a Sport mode for the stability system
- A Brembo brake kit is available for GT models and features 14-inch front discs and 19-inch wheels with summer tires
The Shelby GT500 remains the most potent version of the Mustang, and it receives an all-new aluminum engine for 2011 that's 102 pounds lighter and 10 hp more powerful. The supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 now makes 550 hp and 510 pounds-feet of torque. The V-8 takes premium gas, and its estimated fuel economy has improved to 15/23 mpg thanks to weight reduction, the use of an electric power-steering system and better underbody air management. The gas mileage improvement means the Shelby GT500 isn't subject to a gas-guzzler tax anymore.
Buyers looking to hit their local racetrack with the Shelby GT500 may want to consider the new SVT Performance Package. It features Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar G:2 tires on lightweight 19-inch front and 20-inch rear forged-aluminum wheels, a 3.73 axle ratio, a limited-slip differential, firmer springs and a lowered ride height.
Ford says the Shelby GT500 convertible is 12 percent more laterally stiff than last year's model. Both the coupe and convertible gain a new dual exhaust system that contributes to the horsepower gain.
For 2011, the Shelby GT500 can have an optional panoramic glass roof — a feature that's been available for the regular Mustang — and high-intensity-discharge headlights are now standard. Back to top
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