2011 Ford Mustang Preview

FAST FACTS
  • More powerful and fuel-efficient engines
  • New 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions
  • Improved brakes with Brembo option on GT
  • New 19-inch wheel designs are available
  • Optional Performance package
  • Standard limited-slip rear differential
  • Standard garage door remote transmitter
  • Standard MyKey programmable features
  • Standard message center
  • Standard spotter mirrors
  • On sale in time for summer
  • Mustang is built in Flat Rock, Michigan

Introduction

2011 Ford Mustang GTJust one year after giving its legendary pony car a thorough restyling inside and out, Ford is significantly updating the Mustang for 2011. The biggest news, clearly, is the addition of firepower under the hood. The Mustang's weak and inefficient 4.0-liter V-6 engine is replaced with a modern and powerful 3.7-liter V-6 that gets as much as 30 miles per gallon on the highway, according to Ford, and makes a whopping 305 horsepower. The Mustang GT is equipped with a new 5.0-liter V-8 making 412 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque, on par with the Camaro SS and Dodge Challenger SRT8, if not quite as strong.

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2011 Ford Mustang

Model Lineup

Ford has announced no changes to the Mustang model lineup. That means V-6, GT and GT500 models will continue in coupe and convertible format, with the V-6 and GT models offered in standard and premium trim. New standard features on the Mustang V-6 include a universal garage door opener, new spotter side mirrors to help the driver see in the car's blind spots, and a new driver message center.

Design

Though the Mustang received a , additional tweaks for 2011 help improve fuel economy. For the V-6 model, a new front fascia, revised underbody shields, rear-wheel tire spats, taller rear air dam, and a new rear decklid seal all help to improve airflow over, around and under the Mustang in an effort to maximize fuel economy, Ford says. The Mustang GT also gets the new rear decklid seal to help reduce aerodynamic drag at the rear of the car, and the front fenders are adorned with "5.0" badges. New colors for 2011 include Yellow Blaze, Race Red and Ingot Silver, and the Mustang is offered with new wheel designs, including 19-inch rims on both V-6 and GT models.

Inside, the Mustang receives a new gauge cluster with a 160-mph speedometer and 8,000-rpm tachometer. Also, additional sound deadening material, new door seals and rear-wheel arch liners quiet the cabin compared to last year, the automaker says.

2011 Ford Mustang 5.0-liter V-8 engine

Hardware

If the changes made to the 2011 Ford Mustang aren't immediately apparent by looking at the car, or by sliding behind its wheel, rest assured that popping the hood and investigating the hardware reveals big differences from the 2010 model.

The biggest change is the replacement of the Mustang's old, heavy, inefficient Cologne, Germany-built 4.0-liter V-6. The 2011 Mustang's new, more powerful, all-aluminum 3.7-liter V-6 engine is a welcome addition to the lineup. Built in Cleveland, Ohio, this new V-6 is equipped with variable valve timing and makes 305 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 280 lb.-ft. of torque at 4250 rpm. Compare that to the outgoing 2010 Mustang V-6 at 210 horsepower and 240 lb.-ft. of torque.

Furthermore, and in part due to new 6-speed manual and automatic transmission choices, the Mustang V-6 is expected to get 18 mpg city/29 mpg highway with the manual transmission and 19 mpg city/30 mpg highway with the automatic, Ford says.

Additional highlights of the new V-6 engine include:
  • 7000-rpm redline
  • Cold air induction system
  • Dual exhaust system
  • Fuel-injection system cuts fuel delivery when the car is decelerating to save gas
  • Oil change intervals of 10,000 miles
  • Standard limited-slip differential
  • 2:73 rear axle ratio
Speed junkies will want to wait for the Mustang V-6's optional Performance package, coming in August of 2010, Ford says. It includes firmer suspension tuning from the GT model, 3.31 rear axle ratio (for quicker off-the-line acceleration), unique 19-inch alloy wheels wearing Pirelli summer performance tires, strut tower brace, and a Sport mode for the recalibrated stability control system that should allow for greater tail-out sliding fun.

For significantly more power and performance, try the Mustang GT's new 5.0-liter V-8 on for size. This new 4-valve engine makes 412 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque. Compared to the previous 4.6-liter V-8, at 315 horsepower and 325 lb.-ft. of torque, this new 5-liter represents a big improvement in power. Ford credits its new Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) system for the engine's improved volumetric and thermal efficiency, as well as its free-breathing, quick-revving nature. Ford is proud of the performance results, and of the GT's improved fuel economy. With the new 6-speed automatic transmission, the GT is rated to return 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. With the 6-speed manual, fuel economy drops to 16 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.

Bigger 4-wheel-disc anti-lock brakes are also part of the 2011 Mustang upgrade, and the GT is available with a Brembo braking package that includes 14-inch discs and 19-inch wheels wearing summer performance tires. The Mustang GT Convertible is structurally fortified for 2011, thanks to the inclusion of a standard under-hood strut tower brace and other body stiffeners, resulting in a 12-percent improvement in lateral stiffness, according to Ford.

Steering on both models switches to an electric setup in the name of fuel efficiency, with special calibration on the GT model for a more performance-oriented feel. In fact, Ford says the new steering is a big contributor to the GT's improved driving dynamics thanks to better on-center feel and increased effort levels at highway speeds. The new electric steering also includes Pull Drift Compensation, which automatically adjusts for cross winds or pavement crowning, and Active Nibble Control, which eliminates the shimmy effect of a wheel out of balance or a warped brake rotor.

2011 Ford Mustang

Safety and Technology

The 2010 Ford Mustang is one of the few cars to receive 5-star crash-test ratings for frontal and side-impact protection, as well as for propensity to roll over in a crash. These ratings should carry forward to the 2011 Mustang, as there are no structural changes or safety system redesigns. In the unfortunate event that an accident does occur, Mustangs equipped with Ford SYNC technology include a 911 Assist feature, which automatically calls for emergency assistance in the event of an air bag deployment, providing rescue personnel with the car's location and putting a conscious occupant in touch with help.

To help prevent an accident in the first place, the 2011 Mustang will come standard with MyKey programmable features. Using MyKey, the Mustang's top speed and audio volume limit can be set to a desired level, which is great for when a teenager is borrowing the car. Owners can also program speed alert chimes to remind Junior to keep the speed down, disable the traction and stability control defeat feature to discourage fast and furious driving styles, and set a persistent and irritating Belt Minder chime to make sure everyone is buckled up at all times.