The Ford Mustang has been with us for almost five decades now and between the infinity of lines that make up its life story, we can find certain models that are more special than others.
The 2011 Mustang GT is definitely one of them, as this is the model that brings the "5.0" badge, along with the adjacent hardware, back after 16 years of pause. The new car offers even more than that, as it comes with a V8 which actually uses 5, not 4.9 liters of displacement for the first time in the model's history
The Blue Oval has made impressive efforts to upgrade the technical side of the car. This means that not only do you get an output boost about the size of what a basic 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine can deliver, but also new transmissions and an overall optimization of the vehicle.
Before we can start baking some donuts in the Mustang GT, let's spend some time to find out how it grew up to become such a bad boy. The Mustang story started back in 1964, when Ford wanted to offer a sports car that would mix assets like compact size, affordability and driving fun. The Mustang was the vehicle that basically created the pony car class, which is defined by the aforementioned values.
It's not actually all that easy to establish which US carmaker started this sporty madness. Yes, the Mustang was the first, with its fiercest rival, the Chevrolet Camaro, coming to the market after it. However, the Mustang was preceded by a concept car called Ford Mustang I and this was actually Ford's response to the success of the GM Corvair Monza sportscar.
To keep the price down, Ford used many chassis, suspension, drivetrain and interior components from existing models, such as the Falcon and Fairlane. However, the car had a unique personality, which made both sales and reputation jump sky-high.
By the time the first generation reached the end of its life in 1973, the Mustang had been a bit diluted, with Ford unsuccessfully trying to adapt the car to the market, which wanted larger and more luxurious vehicles.
From the launch of the second generation (1974) onwards, things went from bad to worse, as the US oil crisis made customers forget all about emotions and choose more rational car models.
The early 1980s brought such a desperate situation that Ford wanted to replace the Mustang of the time, the 3rd generation, with a model that would be based on the Mazda MX-6. Fans immediately reacted, writing to the company in order to complain about such a proposal. Luckily, the idea, which would've brought Japanese origins, front-wheel drive and the lack of a V8 even as an option, was dropped. The executives understood that the Mustang was far too important to be messed around with, so the fourth-generation Mustang that followed was fresher than ever.
All the efforts made to keep the Mustang alive over the years finally paid out in 2005, when the fifth generation was launched. Ford once again reinvented the wheel, marking the debut of the retro-styled new-age pony cars. The Mustang was the only car of its kind to have been on the market without any pause ever since the genre was born in the mid 60s.
By the time Chrysler brought back the Challenger and GM revived the Camaro in 2008 and 2009, respectively, Ford was launching a redesigned version of the "New Mustang". However, the model was still using less-than-advanced powertrains, which brings us back to the subject of our test drive.
Ford brought new engines and transmissions for the 2011 model year and we recently drove the model that sits in the middle of the range, the Mustang GT 5.0.Continue reading