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First drive: Ford Mustang GT

The 5.0 is back and the original pony car has never been more fun.

by on Oct.29, 2010

The 2011 Ford Mustang GT in Grabber Blue turns a lot of heads.

The number 5.0 holds a hallowed place in Ford lore. For more 25 years, Ford’s 5.0-liter V-8 powered everything from Thunderbirds to F-150 pickups to Broncos. But most notably, they powered Mustangs.

Now, after 16 years in exile, the 5.0 is back. Ford retired the old 5.0, also known as the 302 for its displacement in cubic inches, in 1995, replacing its venerable V-8 with the decent 4.6-liter. But while the 4.6 did a decent job, it didn’t have that beloved number attached to its valvecovers.

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Don’t think for a moment that Ford’s decision to bring back the 5.0 isn’t partly driven by nostalgia. Automakers decide how big a new engine design will be based on a lot of factors such as the power characteristics it needs, fuel economy and smoothness. But they also make decisions based on what the marketers say will help sell cars.

With this new engine, there was one other important consideration: It had to produce horsepower comparable to the 6.2-liter V-8 in the Chevrolet Camaro SS.
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First Drive: 2011 Ford Mustang GT and Mustang V6

Shoot Out at the Pony Car Corral.

by on Mar.29, 2010

Like a rock? Ford weighs in for 2011 with rock-solid new engines for the Mustang and Mustang GT.

It’s easy being sherriff when you’re the only gunslinger in town.  But ever since the Camaro rolled back into town, last year, there’s been a real shoot-out in the pony car corral, and for the first time in nearly a quarter century, Mustang has been outgunned.

Chevrolet’s reborn muscle car has garnered all sorts of accolades for its styling, power and performance – and even won over skeptics with the sort of fuel economy you never used to associate with the pony car segment.  Add the appeal of being the new kid in town, and it shouldn’t be much of a surprise Ford is suddenly on the run. (See “Camaro Kicks Mustang’s Derriere Again,” by clicking here.)

But the Dearborn maker is armed and dangerous, and will show its willingness to duel when the 2011 Ford Mustang and Mustang GT gallop into showrooms later this year.  And this time, Ford is drawing both a six-shooter and an eight, delivering a pair of powertrains that could put it back in charge again.

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“Outselling Camaro is a huge motivation,” admits Amy Marentec, marketing director for the 2011 Ford Mustang.

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