The cars we loved.
When a redesign for the 2010 Mustang was announced a few years ago, there was much speculation that it’s styling would be strongly influenced by the stunning Giugraro designed fastback concept car of 2006. The actual car, although not disappointing, was nothing more than a subtle evolution of the neo-classic design from 2005. Not that was a bad thing, as the “new” Mustang was a handsome design. Most of the praise is bestowed on the fire-breathing GT and it’s SVO and Shelby derivatives, leaving the V6 model as a dowdy looking step sister (but sales volume leader).
With the renaissance of the muscle car category and stiffing competition from Korea of all places, Ford decided to bestow more attention on the V6 model. Thankfully for us, the end result produced an impressive car design wise and especially technically. The base model class comprised of Dodge’s Charger and Chevrolets’ Camaro have always been powered with V6 engines. Recently Hyundai joined the fray with it’s 306 hp V6 powered Genesis coupe, putting it in the league with the 2010 Mustang GT. Chevy soon followed with a LS Camaro with 304 hp, but upping the ante with EPA highway figures close to 30 mpg. A new standard had been achieved with torquey V6 power that rivaled V8s from just a few years ago. All of this plus offering the gas mileage of an Accord.
The introduction of the 2011 Mustang GT with its return to 5.0 displacements was eclipsed somewhat by the announcement that the V6 car would receive a new advanced 3.7 making 305 hp. Most startling and press worthy was the fact that the new base car would break the 30 mpg barrier with a EPA rating of 31 miles on the highway with the 6-speed automatic (the 6-speed manual gets 30). The Genesis and Camaro are still faster in the hands of a skilled driver, but to many potential buyers, this may not matter.
The ultimate goal for any car would be to offer comfort, safety, performance and high-efficency (maybe not in that order). For years the envelope has been pushed in some areas while being gradual or stagnant in others. The Ti-VCT V6 engine in the new base Mustang goes a long way to advance the lagging areas of this dynamic. For Ford, it’s a win-win situation, as it will be able to raise its CAFE rating with something that’s not a small burger box on wheels. For the rest of the American automotive industry, it signals a movement to true competitiveness technically, something sorely missing for too long.