By Twain Mein
- V8 performance with fuel economy that matches a V6
- Seat comfort better than the Copacabana lounge
- Intuitive and easy to use infotainment system
- Unable to integrate my iPhone and confusing Bluetooth controls
- Rear seat configuration not child booster seat friendly
I Want to See You in the Morning
We recently drove the 2011 Mustang V6 Coupe “Premium Edition” which included leather interior, nav system, “Shaker” stereo, power seats, and the” Mustang Club of America” package (high performance 235/50/18 tires and styling accents). Additionally, this model had a 6-speed automatic, performance 3.31 axle ratio, HID headlamps, and rear view camera. As equipped, the base price of $25,845 swelled to $32,580.
Ford then sent us the 6-speed manual version with most of the same options plus even lower profile 255/40-19 tires and blacked out 19 inch wheels. Which one is better, you ask? The automatic, with its greater convenience and ease of use, or the boy racer, with the stick shift and extra sticky rubber? Let’s see if we can find out.
Performance and Comfort
We love the new V6 in the 2011 Mustang, with its V8-like 305 horsepower that can be wrung out to an impressive 7,000 rpm. Yet the V6 also returns an impressive 19/29 mpg according to the EPA. I recorded 17.5 mpg with the automatic and 16.5 with the manual—though the stint with the manual had more stop and go driving with, ahem, more drop-throttle burnouts.
The updated Mustang also has dramatically improved handling with excellent steering accuracy and feedback. It also features self-centering to improve tracking. The ride quality, even with its solid rear axle, is pleasantly comfortable with some body roll which cinches down under aggressive driving. In fact, many car publications have applauded the handling improvements and have compared the Mustang to the class-leading and much more expensive BMW 3-series.
This said, I didn’t really notice an improvement in handling with the larger wheel and tire package for the manual version. In fact, the manual version with its larger wheels and lower profile tires actually seemed to have slightly more body roll than the automatic we previously tested.
Moving to the interior, the seats are remarkably comfortable and the infotainment system is extremely easy to use, offering a nice balance of manual controls. In particular, the split screen makes it easy to toggle between Nav, sound system, and other command and control functions. I did, however, have some problems integrating with my iPhone and the Bluetooth® controls were a bit confusing. The rear seat is best reserved for young children and fitting a booster seat for my 4-year old proved cumbersome as the center hump caused the booster to tilt. This car is really designed for 2 people max.