Motor Trend Starts Fight Between The BMW M3, Ford Mustang GT

2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0

2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0

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It may seem odd to compare the BMW M3 and Ford Mustang GT, but their traits are too similar to ignore. Both have V-8s producing over 400 horsepower and are available as rear wheel drive coupes. So Motor Trend has taken both of these cars to see how they perform against each other.

Motor Trend did a smart move to make the cars a bit more comparable. The Mustang was ordered with all possible luxury options besides the heavy glass roof, as well as 3.73 gears and the Brembo brake package. The BMW was equipped with the Performance Package which gives the car a wider track and 19 inch wheels. However, these attempts still put the Mustang at the price advantage costing $40,275 compared to the M3’s $67,025 price tag.

They first pit the cars in a drag race. The Mustang has more torque, 390 lb-ft, where as the BMW makes 295 lb-ft. Traction may also be an issue, where live-axles have the advantage off the line over an independent rear suspension. The results are spectacular on both sides, as the BMW gets to the quarter mile in 12.8 seconds at 110.9 mph, while the Ford gets there 0.1 seconds and 0.7 mph faster. So the Mustang can beat a nearly $70,000 car, while the BMW can almost match its performance in a quarter mile with some big disadvantages.

Then the cars went to Willow Springs Raceway to see how they would compare to the M3’s home turf—the road course.  The staff at Motor Trend was impressed with how controllable the Mustang was around the track, though the brakes were a bit grabby, the shocks were a bit overwhelmed, and the steering lacks feel that track drivers crave. The BMW had the superior handling thanks to better shocks, but lacked the broad-power band of the Mustang, and its understeer killed the fun. In the hands of a average Joe, the Mustang had the faster laps. The fastest lap went to the BMW with a professional driver behind the wheel with 87.67 seconds and the 87.76 seconds for the Mustang.

In the end, Motor Trend gives the win to the M3. Sports Car Monitor thinks the Mustang, with matching performance and an undercutting price, deserved to take top spot.

[Source: Motor Trend]

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