First Impressions Review: 2011 Ford Mustang – V6 engine with no excuses

Monday August 16th, 2010 at 10:88 AM
Posted by: twain

By Twain Mein

We drove the 2011 V6 Coupe “Premium Edition” (includes leather, 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. Base price is $25,845. But as equipped, MSRP was $32,580.

Ford’s marketing department touts the V-6 as having “no excuses”. After my stint behind the wheel, I wholeheartedly agree. But it wasn’t love at first sight.


Performance

I’ve driven two V8 Mustangs for CarReview.com in the past, the 2006 Shelby GT-H and the 2008 “Bullit”. They respectively offered 325 and 315 horsepower with “right now torque” and intimidating exhaust notes. The sound and torque created a visceral experience that literally made my palms sweat and heart race. Driving them felt like committing some kind of crime while getting away with it.

The 2011 Mustang V6 certainly looked the part (more on that later), and its engine specs are impressive. In fact, for 2011, Ford upped the horsepower from a mediocre 210 hp to a whopping 305 hp. Incredibly, the redline is now 7000 rpm! Additionally, this naturally aspirated engine delivers an impressive EPA rating of 19mpg city/29mpg highway (though I averaged 17.5 lead footing every chance I got…). On paper, Ford has essentially matched the horsepower of the mighty V8s while providing exceptional gas mileage.

2011 Ford Mustang

But, initially, I was underwhelmed. The V6 felt too refined, too quiet. The automatic transmission didn’t have paddle shifters to keep the engine on boil. It wasn’t nervous and there wasn’t the assault of the senses—no loud exhaust and the torque didn’t seem as present. I was initially let down. My palms weren’t sweating.

But the more I drove it, the more I became to appreciate the Mustang’s finer details. The seats are incredibly comfortable. The infotainment system, engineered by Microsoft, is the most intuitive and easy to use of any car I’ve tested and the ergonomics are awesome; controls fell readily at hand. Syncing the iPhone was a cinch (unlike the Lincoln MKT). The audio system played music from my iPhone via direct link or, as if by magic, wirelessly via Bluetooth audio. The car was incredibly docile around town but once you put the hammer down, the acceleration was awesome. At highway speeds, the engine responded quickly, jumping from 60 to 80 effortlessly. Burnouts? Take the traction control off, hold the brake and let ‘er rip and smoke the tires. Whoa, it is like the V8s after all!

Additionally, the handling is fantastic, in particular, the steering. The gorgeous and thick steering wheel connects you to excellent steering feedback. It also has a bit of self-centering to help keep you straight on less than perfect roads.

2011 Ford Mustang Interior

Styling

There is something about Mustangs that truly resonates with male drivers. Every guy I talked to had some kind of emotional connection to Mustangs. Face it — Mustangs aren’t the most practical of cars. But they have a heritage of power and simply looking great. The 2011 model truly does not disappoint. Better still, the “lower end” V6 model we tested looked incredible. Equipped with the 10-spoke gray wheels and HID headlight projectors, it is hard to differentiate this V6 with the V8 (the only real difference being additional fog lights in the grill for the V8).

The styling reminds me of the ’67 Shelby fastback combined with the rear end of a ’68. The front end looks like a shark, with beady HID eyes and a hungry mouth. But my favorite styling feature is the “rubbed out” crease that is interrupted between the door and the rear end above the rear fender. Elegant. I simply couldn’t stop looking at this car.

2011 Ford Mustang2011 Ford Mustang2011 Ford Mustang

Areas of improvement

  • There were a few quibbles with this otherwise awesome car.
  • The steering wheel doesn’t tilt
  • Rear seat room is marginal at best. My kids (3 and 8 years old) could barely fit. Honestly, if I could tolerate sitting in the back seat, I’d buy this car.
  • Blind spot; there is a large blind spot between the front passenger window and the rear passenger window. Took a while to get acclimated.
  • Dark interior. The black interior was a bit claustrophobic. I’d opt for the sunroof to let more light in.
  • Poor workmanship in the trunk. The trunk had low quality carpeting which wasn’t tacked down sufficiently. It drooped from its anchor points.
  • Automatic transmission wasn’t optimized for spirited driving. The manual might be a better choice.

2011 Ford Mustang

Summary

This car has massive visceral appeal. But it is also incredibly easy to drive. The gas mileage is impressive and the styling is superb. Congrats to Ford for hitting a home run with this car!

###



More Ford Mustang Expert Reviews
2010 Chevrolet Camaro vs. Ford Mustang 2010 Chevrolet Camaro vs. 2010 Ford Mustang – Pony Car Retro Face-Off
Rating: 4.46 stars
By Bill Clark

“Now I’m a middle-aged engineering professional and parent, working 50-60 hours per week with responsibilities at home too. Who has the time and money for the classic muscle car obsession?”

2010 Ford Mustang 2010 Ford Mustang GT Review – Reliving the Glory Days
Rating: 4.75 stars
By Kurt Gensheimer

“Our week with the new Mustang was far too short. It’s without question the car that was hardest to part with. We still dream about the raucous growl of full-throttle stomps and the aggressive looks in Grabber Blue…”

2008 Ford Mustang Bullitt First Impressions: 2008 Ford Mustang Bullitt
Rating: 0.0 stars
By Twain Mein

“This is Ford’s 40th anniversary edition of the ’68 Mustang made famous in the Steve McQueen movie “Bullit”. I’ve been a Mustang fan since 1982 when Ford brought back horsepower and burnouts (at “just” 157 hp) and have loved the styling of the 64-70 models ever since I can remember.”

2008 Ford Mustang Bullitt 2008 Ford Mustang Bullitt Video Review
Rating: 4.0 stars
By Derek Mau

“With its retro-inspired design and aggressive stance, the current generation Mustang is the perfect platform to play homage to the legendary ’68 Mustang fastback”

2006 Ford Shelby Mustang 2006 Ford Shelby Mustang GT-H – First Impressions
Rating: 4.0 stars
By Tony S.

“This car is all about emotion and passion. It has the right look and makes the right sounds. The acceleration is addictive and I put a smile on my face the entire time that I was behind the wheel.”

2006 Ford Shelby Mustang 2006 Ford Shelby Mustang GT-H – First Impressions
Rating: 4.0 stars
By Derek Mau

“The Shelby GT-H is definitely not a luxury or economy car. Road noise and rough pavement could wear a person down on extended road trips. Although, one could fight off the weariness by pressing hard on the accelerator for a few seconds…”

2 Responses to First Impressions Review: 2011 Ford Mustang – V6 engine with no excuses

  1. Curtis says:

    Couple of issues with your comments…

    #1> “The steering wheel doesn’t tilt”

    Sure it does, you obviously just didn’t know how to do it.

    #2> “The black interior was a bit claustrophobic. I’d opt for the sunroof to let more light in.”

    No sunroof option available, there is a $1995 “Glass Roof” option though.

  2. Peter Anastopulos says:

    I believe this is the Car that should replace the BMW 3 series , don’t laugh.Mustang was the template BMW used for the last 3 models.Now it’s Fords time to take it back and learn from BMW.They should build a 4 door model as BMW and include the sophistication the 3 series owns.The next model should be even more polished because that is the only thing this car lacks .It will be more reliable then the BMW as Ford has that covered .The technology gap has closed and has hybrid and diesel and might be the time to merge them and build a super eco racer.This will give them a halo car like no other.Lastly ask yourself why Germany has one of the few economy’s growing double digit’s level while having a social safety net.That’s because they build good things and we need to get back to that.





Latest Reviews



Select a Category