We love to argue the merits of today’s pony cars.
The Mustang/Camaro/Challenger question always inspires passion. It’s an argument that inevitably turns to (or begins with) the power output of V8 trims, and that’s where the Ford Mustang GT couldn’t quite hang with its competition.
But all those arguments happened when the Mustang GT had a 4.6-liter V8 under its hood. The famed 5.0 disappeared in 1995. Since then, many ‘Stang lovers have yearned for a proper 5.0 badge to adorn the ‘ol GT’s fenders. Well, friends, it’s back for 2011 and lemme tell ya, the Hemi-powered Challenger and SS Camaro now have reason to quiver in their rubber-wrapped boots.
Thanks to a choice between a new six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic, together with variable cam technology and Ford’s electronic power steering, an automatic Mustang GT will be able to achieve 25 mpg on the highway. In manual dress, both the 2010 and 2011 get 17 mpg in the city and 24 highway.
While specific specs haven’t been released yet, we expect the 2011 Mustang GT will scream to 60 in the mid-4-second range. The speedometer tops out at 160 mph, and, of course, new 5.0 badges adorn the fenders. Pricing on the ’10 GT starts at $27,995, and Ford knows they can’t push it up much more.
So how does this all compare to the Hemi and the SS? Mustang’s got ’em licked. Sort of.
The Dodge Challenger SRT8 uses a 6.1-liter V8 to produce 425 horsepower, but manages mpg numbers of only 14/22. Plus, it costs more than $40K and pulls the 0-60 run in about 5 seconds. The 2011 Mustang is (should be) cheaper, faster, and get better fuel economy.
The Camaro SS makes it a closer contest. Its 6.2-liter V8 produces 426 horses with the manual six-speed transmission (400 horsepower with the auto). Fuel economy in the manual is 16/24, with the auto delivering 1 more mpg on the highway. Zero-to-60 comes in about 4.6 seconds, making the 2011 Mustang GT and Camaro SS a virtual dead heat in performance numbers. Price wise, the Camaro SS starts at $30,745, making the Mustang the least expensive option.
Combine its low price with performance numbers that compete with the Challenger’s and Camaro’s, and I’d say we have a clear winner: the 2011 Ford Mustang 5.0 GT!
Of the V8 beasts, which gets your vote as king of the pony cars: the Challenger SRT8, Camaro SS, or Mustang GT?