Sunday, July 25, 2010;
Bottom line: The 2011 Mustang 5.0 GT coupe, with its new 5-liter V-8 engine, refined interior and advanced electronics, is the best Mustang in the 46-year-old history of the storied automobile line. It's beyond retro. It's a darned good, exceptionally enjoyable, wonderfully fast car offered at an attractive price. It will sell -- even in a down economy.
Ride, acceleration and handling: Who says sports cars must have brutal rides? This Mustang is super-smooth. And it has superior acceleration and excellent handling, too.
Head-turning quotient: The car driven for this column also has the ugliest blue in the history of the hue. It's called "grabber blue," the loudest of loud blue exterior paint, not what any sensible driver needs or wants on a car this fast.
Body style/layout: The 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 is a compact front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports car available as a hardtop coupe or convertible. A model with a 3.7-liter V-6 engine is available.
Engine/transmissions: The Mustang 5.0 GT coupe comes with a 5-liter, 32-valve, double-overhead-cam V-8 engine (412 horsepower, 390 foot-pounds of torque). That engine is linked to a standard six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic is optional.
Capacities: There are seats for four people. Trunk capacity is 13.4 cubic feet. The car can be equipped to tow a trailer weighing 1,000 pounds. The fuel tank holds 16 gallons; premium gasoline is recommended "for best performance."
Mileage: Real-world mileage was better than the federal government's posted 17 miles per gallon in the city and 26 on the highway. I got 18 city and 30 highway. It helps to coast downhill.
Safety: Standard equipment includes front and rear ventilated disc brakes, electronic stability and traction control, rigid body construction, side and head air bags -- and excitement. Seriously. This one is so much fun to drive, it rivets driver attention.
Price: The 2011 Mustang 5.0 GT coupe with premium fittings starts at $32,845. Dealer's price on that model is $30,265. Price as tested is $39,025, including $5,330 in options (onboard navigation and backup camera, Brembo brake package, 918 Shaker 1000 Audio system) and an $850 destination charge. Compare with the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger.