First Look: 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0
By Alex Kalogiannis
You may have heard rumblings about Ford’s engineers in Dearborn tinkering away at something special, but now we can say without a doubt: the 5.0 is back. In 2011, the Mustang GT will be powered by an all new 5.0 liter V8 that will deliver 412 horsepower and 390 ft-lbs of torque. This naturally aspirated feat owes much of its efficiency to the 4-valve Twin independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT), producing a substantial amount of power while still upping the fuel economy to 25 miles per gallon.
This double-overhead-camshaft configuration employs two camshafts per cylinder bank – one camshaft to operate the intake valves and one camshaft to operate the exhaust valves. Ti-VCT rotates the camshafts to advance or retard the cam timing, based on several measures including throttle opening. An element unique to the Mustang GT 5.0-liter V8 is that Ti-VCT is actuated by camshaft torque, with assistance from pressurized oil. Using camshaft torque energy should provide faster throttle response and maximize use of existing energy, aiding fuel economy.
An additional element is the increased capacity and baffling of the deep-sump stamped steel oil pan to enable sustained high-rpm use and keep the oil change interval at 10,000-miles. Piston-cooling jets also were incorporated for performance-minded customers and for faster oil warm-up on cold start. Specially designed tubular exhaust headers were developed to maximize exhaust pulse separation and improve flow. This was a response to customers immediately swapping the headers out for 3rd party replacements for an easy performance boost, so the engineering team sought to make them better from the get-go.
To manage all the new grunt and help along the miles per gallon, the Mustang GT will gain a pair of new six-speed transmissions. With the six-speed automatic, fuel economy is estimated at 25 miles per gallon on the highway and 17 miles per gallon in the city. The six-speed manual will match the current estimated 24 mpg highway and 16 mpg city numbers, but getting an extra 97 horses with no compromise is very much getting your cake and eating it too.
Driving dynamics have been sharpened up as well, as Stabilizer bar diameters, spring rates and dampers all have been tuned for improved dynamics, and a Brembo brake package will be finally available, something that Mustang enthusiasts have been itching for. The package will include the 14-inch vented front discs from the GT500, 19-inch alloy wheels and summer performance tires.
The look of the Mustang GT won’t change dramatically from the recent refresh, but 2011 GT’s will proudly sport 5.0 fender badges, as well as a host of new colors such as Yellow Blaze Tri-Coat, Race Red and Ingot Silver. Inside, the driver will notice the speedometer increased to 160 mph, and the tach redline is upped from 6,500 to 7,000 rpm.
Those who may feel left out of the V8 party shouldn’t fret, as with these developments, the 2011 Mustang V6 will have its horsepower increased to 305, almost matching the current V8 at 315 hp. We predict that with its increased power, the car’s lighter weight vis a vis the Camaro and Challenger, the 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 will be the king of the hill for quite some time, and if anyone has been on the fence about purchasing one, now’s the time. Expect to see this in person at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit January 11th.
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Editor’s note: As “James2” commented, we were off on the horsepower figures for the 2011 V6 engine; those corrections are now reflected in the current text of the article. Thank you, “James2”.