2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0
Those who fondly remember the late 1960s may not want to hear this, but 2010 may mark the golden age of the pony car. Between the re-born Chevrolet Camaro (new for 2010), the resurrected Dodge Challenger, which re-entered the market in 2009, and the refreshed 2011 Ford Mustang (the Mustang is the only one of the trio that never went away), those who seek American muscle at a relatively low cost have never had it better. All three cars offer retro looks combined with modern amenities--and they all offer plenty of power to go along with handling that was merely the stuff of dreams 40 years ago.
When the Camaro and Challenger launched, both were available with V-8 engines that put out more than 400 horsepower, dwarfing Ford's Mustang GT, which was pushing out 315 horsepower in 2010. Now, Ford has replaced the 4.6-liter V-8 from the previous GT with a 5.0-liter V-8 that makes 412 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. Unlike the fabled 5.0 of the '80s and '90s, this 302 cubic-inch mill is a true 5.0-liter--the last Mustang 5.0-liter was technically a 4.9-liter.
The power boost puts the GT much closer in range with the Challenger SRT8 and Camaro SS, and in a car that's lighter, to boot.
One advantage that the Mustang has over its two Detroit rivals is the availability of a convertible model, although a Camaro convertible has been rumored.
So it was that I found myself spending the time behind the wheel of a Mustang GT convertible this month. Tough life, indeed.
Basing at $37,845 with 5.0-liter and a 6-speed manual transmission, the GT also included standard features such as a rear decklid spoiler, a dual exhaust, leather seats, a Shaker 500 audio system with AM/FM/single CD/MP3, satellite radio, Ford's Sync multimedia suite, ambient lighting, black front floor mats, a capless fuel filler, traction control, an antiskid system, electric power steering, and Ford's MyKey safety system, among others.