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2011 Ford Mustang V6 (Ford)
2011 Ford Mustang V6 (Ford)

What Car?

Should he have a V-8? Add to ...

Hello Mr. Cato/Mr. Vaughan:

I enjoy your TV program and watch it whenever I can. I am interested in the 2011 Mustang and I am hoping you guys will evaluate it.

Some other reviewers I have read suggest the new six-cylinder gives great mileage, but the auto shifts up through the gears too fast and it requires frequent and annoying downshifts to get power when you need it.

The new V-8 is impressive and it also gives good mileage, however, it calls out for premium gas. If I were to buy this car (V-8, automatic) and sometimes run regular gas, depending on the price, what would be the consequences? In this case I am hoping I may be able to buy a V-8 and keep my gas cost down.

Keep up the good work; I am a fan.

Daniel

2011 Ford Mustang V6

Cato: Dan the fan. Love it.

Now Dan, answer me this: If you're willing to cough up 40 Large, plus freight and taxes, for a Mustang GT, what's up with saving a few pennies on gas? This is a joke, right?

Vaughan: What I'm wondering about is how to work in a Wilson Pickett reference, because his name unfortunately isn't Sally.

Cato: This is Mustang Dan, not Mustang Sally.

Okay, Dan, the 2011 Mustang is mostly the same as the updated 2010 model but with two new engines and two new six-speed transmissions. The V-6 you mentioned is a 305-hp, 3.7-litre engine, while GT models get an all-new 5.0-litre V-8 delivering 412 hp.

Dan, start looking for Ford to do a Mustang blitz about all this. Ford's formula is simple enough: powertrains are important in muscle cars and Ford has an engine and tranny story to tell - along with an added optional glass roof and technology such as MyKey, a programmable key system.

The plan at Ford is to shoot down Chevy. Here's why: in the key U.S. market, through April, Chevrolet sold 29,907 Camaros to Ford's 20,836 Mustangs. The last time the Camaro beat the Mustang in annual sales was 1985. There is quite the muscle car tussle shaping up this summer.

Chevrolet Camaro

Vaughan: Cato likes to rattle out numbers, but in this case pay attention to them, Danny-boy. Back in the late '80s I bought a V-8 'Stang ragtop with the 5.0-litre engine. It was thought to be a big deal with a monstrous 225 hp.

Now they're cranking 305 out of a six! I'll tell you that old 'Stang of mine had all the power I could use, so 306 horses off the six will be more than enough. And the base model will only cost you $22,995. Ford calls it a "Value Leader."

Forget the V-8; save well over $10,000 dollars and don't worry about premium gas or the automatic transmission hunting for gears. At that price, you're getting a six-speed manual, standard.

Cato: You've brought it up, Vaughan, so let's talk transmissions. That old wreck of Vaughan's - and I do mean wreck, with its coming-apart-at-the-seams rag of a top - had a four-speed automatic. Four speeds! You kidding me?

Here in 2011, Ford has jumped to six speeds to juice both fuel economy and performance. More gears can mean more shifting if the programmers don't get it right. These things are all computer-controlled, so it's the software guys who make or break shift quality.

Frankly, Dan, I haven't found it annoying. I don't find most of the seven- and eight-speed automatics to be a problem, either. Just for the record.

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Vaughan: Cato, yes, the 2011 'Stangs are vastly superior to my old one in every respect, from driving performance to the quality of the interior. If you stick with the six and don't load it up with options, this new one is great value for the money.

But there are a couple of competitors in the rear-wheel-drive, high-performance world that you ought to check out. Aside from the obvious, the Camaro and the Dodge Challenger.

Cato: Two words: Hyundai Genesis. The base engine in the coupe is a 2.0-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder putting out 210 horsepower. Enough for you, Dan? If not, step up to the optional 3.8-litre V-6 with 306 hp. Mustang territory, Dan, though the V-6 Genesis uses regular.

Vaughan: I think the Genesis Coupe is one fine little car; the 'Stang has more character, but the Genesis Coupe has more refinement. And Danny, if I were buying one, I'd go for the four-banger. It's very torquey and fun to drive.

Cato: And uses regular. Yes, Danno, the turbo Genesis is cheaper on gas than the six.

Here's a third option, Mr. Fan, a German take on muscle: the BMW 1-Series coupe. Oh, yes, a beautiful driving car available with an inline-six. If your budget is north of $43,000, you can get the twin-turbo 135i. It's a 300-hp rocket with tight steering, but no useful back seat.

More affordable is the 128, non-turbo, at just under $34,000 to start. This one has 200 hp.

Vaughan: Good alternatives, but I think Danny's for the 'Stang.

Cato: And if you do, Dan, get the V-6. It's no rough-running brute, but an all-aluminum DOHC - double overhead cam - powerplant with modern tricks like variable valve timing: a smooth 305 hp at 6,500 rpm.

Vaughan: Maybe my muscle car days are behind me, Danny, but I'd go out and buy the Hyundai Genesis Coupe with the turbo four. Nice package, even though Mustang Sally wouldn't give it a first look, let alone a second one.

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2011 Ford Mustang coupe V-6

2010 Hyundai Genesis coupe 2.0T GT

2010 BMW 128i coupe

Wheelbase (mm)

2,720

2,820

2,660

Length (mm)

4,778

4,630

4378

Width (mm)

1,877

1,865

1,748

Height (mm)

1,412

1,385

1,423

Engine

3.7-litre V-6

2.0-litre four cylinder, turbocharged

3.0-litre

six-cylinder

Output (hp)

(torque)

305 hp

280 lb-ft

210 hp

223 lb-ft

230 hp

200 lb-ft

Drive system

Rear-wheel-drive

Rear-wheel-drive

Rear-wheel-drive

Transmission

Six-speed manual

Six-speed manual

Six-speed manual

Curb weight (kg)

1,520

1,498

1,475

Fuel economy

(litres/100 km)

11.1 city

6.9 highway

10.1 city

6.6 highway

10.8 city

6.9 highway

Base price (MSRP)

$26,999

$30,745

$33,900

SOURCE: CAR MANUFACTURERS



Jeremy Cato and Michael Vaughan are co-hosts of Car/Business, which appears Fridays at 8 p.m. on Business News Network and Saturdays at 2 p.m. on CTV.

 

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