The pony wars are heating up.
For the first time in decades, the reborn Chevrolet Camaro is outselling the Ford Mustang. But neither maker seems ready to settle in and accept the status quo. While Chevy hopes to increase its appeal with the long-anticipated Camaro Convertible, Ford is putting a premium on performance hoping to out-muscle its cross-town competition and regain its position as pony car king-of-the-hill.
Ford pulled a rabbit out of its corporate hat at the Los Angeles Auto Show, revealing an all-new V6 pumping out an impressive 305 horsepower – and, equally impressive, 30 mpg on the highway. Not all that long ago, that would have been a solid figure for the bigger, V8-powered Mustang GT. So, with that in mind, the automaker is pushing into what, not that long ago would have been supercar territory, the 2011 Ford Mustang GT –which debuts at next month’s Detroit Auto Show — will pump out a solid 412 horsepower and a tire-spinning 390 pound-feet of torque.
Consider that the 1995 Mustang GT, which heralded the return of V8 power, made what was, at the time, the seemingly impossible 215 horsepower. When the pony car was switched to the 4.6-liter eight-banger, in 1995, the numbers jumped to 300 hp and 320 lb-ft.
To get there, Ford engineers came up with an entirely new big-block engine, abandoning the unremarkable 4.6-liter powertrain for an all-new 5.0-liter V-8. Yep, the big 5-point-0. It’s the displacement Mustang has long been known for, says Bob Fascetti, who oversees large engine development at Ford, “but with the technology right for today.”
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