The Mustang is not just an iconic pony car or a retro-modern throw-back to simpler times. It's a fan-favorite performance vehicle that has a rabid and enthusiastic base of drivers, tuners and manufacturers behind it. So news of the return of the '5.0' badge to the front fender of the 2011 Ford Mustang is likely to be met with a roar of approval to most muscle car fans, old and new.

Earlier this month at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show, Ford unveiled its 2011 Mustang, but only the base V-6 model, which itself has been upgraded with a new 3.7-liter mill churning out 305 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque.

At next month’s 2010 Detroit Auto Show, however, the Blue Oval will pull the wraps off the new V-8 powered GT, which will pack a 5.0-liter V-8 with 412 horsepower and 390 pounds-feet of torque on tap--just 14 horsepower shy of the output of the Chevrolet Camaro SS. Furthermore, fuel economy is claimed to be as high as 25 mpg on the highway and 17 mpg in the city for the 6-speed automatic, while the 6-speed manual should return 24 mpg on the highway and 16 mpg in the city.

Key elements of the new 5.0-liter mill is Ford’s Ti-VCT cam-torque-actuated variable camshaft timing system and all-aluminum four-valve-per-cylinder engine design, plus specially designed tubular exhaust headers.

Other changes for the 2011 Ford Mustang GT include specially tuned electric power steering, 11.5-inch front and 11.8-inch rear vented disc brakes, and an enhanced suspension featuring an improved rear lower control arm and stiffened rear stabilizer bushings

For the more hardcore enthusiast, a Brembo brake package with larger rotors and calipers from the Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang, unique 19-inch wheels and summer performance tires will also be offered.

In the handling department, Ford engineers have added an enhanced rear lower control arm to add stiffness and improve powertrain harshness control while also sharpening the handling. A stiffened rear stabilizer bar for better on-center steering is also included.


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