RexSeven SuperDork
Nov. 7, 2011 6:42 p.m.

I'm looking to replace my Mazdaspeed3 in one or two years time with a new RWD coupe. One of my candidates is the 2011+ Ford Mustang V-6 with the Performance Package. A Perf. Pack. V-6 Mustang has a bunch of factory-installed suspension mods from the GT and Shelby, bigger brakes from the GT, and a 3.31:1 rear end. A local Ford dealership got one in. Given that the Perf. Pack V-6s are rare in New England, I decided to test-drive it yesterday while it was available. I figured I give a few impressions here:

-That 305hp V-6 is nice! It's not a V-8, but it still has a loud, throaty sound to it. Just ask the cop that gave me a dirty look while he was refueling his cruiser (oops...). It doesn't feel as gutless as many reviews make it out to be at low RPMs, and it absolutely blows any of the old V-6s out of the water, but it's still happiest when over 3500-4000rpm. Kind of funny that a Mustang needs to be revved while my current turbo 4-banger is a torque monster until 6000rpm. Isn't is usually the other way around?

-Handling is pretty good. Not a lot of body roll though some moderate-speed S-bends, and while you can feel its 3400lb-3500lb, the Mustang wears its weight well. It doesn't wallow through corners like a Camaro does. The steering is accurate but numb. The 6-speed shifts nicely and has very short throws (I wonder if an STS is standard). Brakes are great. The ride is very good until you hit some nasty roads, then the rear end feels a little unsettled. Not "ZOMG I CAN'T CONTROL IT!!1!" but it is there, reminding you that while Ford has done wonders with the stick axle, it's still a stick axle. Some reviews say the V-6 models are underdamped- they never received the V-8's shocks due to the weight difference. I'm inclined to agree.

-The car I drove was a Premium, so it came with a bunch of extras (leather, Shaker stereo, XM, etc.). I didn't play with the tech toys much. Seats were comfy for the short time I was in them. Stereo, A/C, and heaters kicked ass. Steering wheel tilts, but does not telescope. Visibility is so-so to the front and sides. It reminds me of my RX-7s somewhat. You definitely feel like you are sitting "in" the car. Ford went the Italian exoticar route when it comes to rear visibility, i.e. "whatever's behind you doesn't matter." Still better than the Camaro.

To sum it up, the V-6 Mustang is very good. Not great, but close. It feels almost like a sports car rather than a musclecar. It would make a nice daily driver, esp. in the trim I drove, and Stock-class autocross car. Unfortunately, I can't afford the bells and whistles so if I were to buy a Mustang V-6, I would go with the base model + Perf. Pack and the duckbill spoiler the tester came with (it's not like it's making the rear view any worse). Upgraded shocks are the only thing I feel are a must while it is under warranty. I've heard it's simple to get 350-375hp out of these engines while still keeping it smog-legal, so upgrades won't be a problem.

I'm not planning to test-drive anything else until the Toyobaru and 2013 Genny Coupe debut. Now, how to tell off the Ford salesshark...

z31maniac
z31maniac SuperDork
Nov. 7, 2011 6:53 p.m.

Thanks for the review.

Is the 2013 Genesis coupe finally going to get the V8?

mndsm SuperDork
Nov. 7, 2011 6:59 p.m.

I've decided I'm never getting rid of my speed 3. If nothing else I WILL go down to Bonneville.

pete240z SuperDork
Nov. 7, 2011 7:25 p.m.

so how much will this car cost?

Vigo Dork
Nov. 7, 2011 7:44 p.m.

Thanks for the impressions, this is actually one of the very few brand new cars i would like to test drive!

RexSeven SuperDork
Nov. 7, 2011 8:46 p.m.

The particular one I drove has an MSRP of $29k and stickered for $27k. Not happening.

Minus the Premium package puffery (leather, power seat, upgraded stereo, etc.), a base V-6 Mustang with only the Perf. Package would be around $24-25k MSRP if you built one. The main reason I drove the car I did is because the Perf. Package is a rare option in my neck of the woods (it wouldn't surprise me if none were around in a year's time), and given all of the suspension/gearing/braking changes, it drives pretty differently than a normal V-6 Mustang. The relative lack of torque is more noticeable in a V-6 Mustang with stock rear-end gearing, brakes are adequate instead of great, and it feels lethargic when cornering.

If you want to, you can just get the 3.31:1 rear-end ($395) and roll your own suspension and brake upgrades. However, while the Perf. Pack. is $1900, IMHO you get a lot for the money: Shelby GT500 rear lower control arms, Mustang GT front struts and rear shocks and springs, Mustang GT coupe front and rear stabilizer bars, Mustang GT front and rear calipers w/ Performance Friction pads, front strut tower brace, 3.31:1 rear end ratio, 19" wheels and Pirelli summer tires, and two-stage electronic stability control with a sport mode.

ProDarwin Dork
Nov. 7, 2011 9:17 p.m.

How much does the fuel economy change with the 3.31 instead of the normal ratio?

RexSeven SuperDork
Nov. 7, 2011 9:35 p.m.

With the normal ratio, it gets 30mpg. With the 3.31, it gets about 27mpg. That is, if you can keep your foot out of it. Either ratio, the V-6 will chug dead dinosaurs like it's going out of style if Ti-VCT kicks in, y0. At least you can fill the V-6 with 87 octane dinos.

Nov. 7, 2011 10:07 p.m.

3:31 is still a pretty tall gear with a .7ish overdrive ratio. Toss a 3.73 in there along with a set of V8 springs and shocks and have some fun- it would make the car seem much, much lighter

ScottRA21 Reader
Nov. 7, 2011 10:43 p.m.

....Now go test the Genesis Coupe, and compare! :P

RexSeven SuperDork
Nov. 7, 2011 11:09 p.m.

I'm waiting on the 2013 Genny Coupe. I'd like to see if Hyundai does the right thing and drops the Sonata/Optima 274hp 2.0T into it.

z31maniac
z31maniac SuperDork
Nov. 7, 2011 11:13 p.m.

The right thing would be a 400hp V8 and the brakes/suspension to handle it.

But I want Nissan to make a 400Z (V8) as well.

I just really want a V8 sports car..................guess we will just have to put one in the Miata.

forzav12 Reader
Nov. 8, 2011 12:12 a.m.
z31maniac wrote: The right thing would be a 400hp V8 and the brakes/suspension to handle it. But I want Nissan to make a 400Z (V8) as well. I just really want a V8 sports car..................guess we will just have to put one in the Miata.

Corvette. Done.

Lugnut Dork
Nov. 8, 2011 11:50 a.m.

Is it just a weight thing? I mean, I haven't driven the new V6 Mustang, but it is more powerful than any of my old Mustangs ('92 GT, '95 GT, '98 Cobra x2). A bit less torque than my old 32v SVTs but the same 305hp. And I know the SVT was 3400lbs and the new V6 is 3700lbs.

But... gutless with the standard gearing? I mean, I hear gutless, and I think of the old NA 2.3s. Those were pretty gutless. These V6s have more horsepower than the old GTs and everybody loved them. Is it just a question of gearing and torque? What is it?

Javelin SuperDork
Nov. 8, 2011 12:07 p.m.

Drive by Wire throttle response programming.

Lugnut Dork
Nov. 8, 2011 12:38 p.m.

Oh. Well, Drive by Wire throttle response programming can SUCK IT.

mtn SuperDork
Nov. 8, 2011 12:39 p.m.
forzav12 wrote:
z31maniac wrote: The right thing would be a 400hp V8 and the brakes/suspension to handle it. But I want Nissan to make a 400Z (V8) as well. I just really want a V8 sports car..................guess we will just have to put one in the Miata.

Corvette. Done.

No kidding.

Vigo Dork
Nov. 8, 2011 3:24 p.m.
But... gutless with the standard gearing? I mean, I hear gutless, and I think of the old NA 2.3s. Those were pretty gutless. These V6s have more horsepower than the old GTs and everybody loved them. Is it just a question of gearing and torque? What is it?

Im pretty sure a non-3:31 v6 still runs low 14s stock. I think it is partially a perspective thing..

But i can see both sides. I rode in a new 5.0 mustang and didnt think it was crazy torquey. Some people apparently do. I thought it was deceptively fast but it didnt you the obvious torque-related drama like a 6-spd hemi challenger, which is actually slower.

ultraclyde HalfDork
Nov. 8, 2011 3:46 p.m.
Javelin wrote: Drive by Wire throttle response programming.

Luckily, this is one of the first areas addressed by any aftermarket tune. The throttle response and the lag in RPM drop between gears on mine were absolutely godawful. A canned tune made a HUGE difference in the drivability and sporting feel, even on the low octane settings.

They slow down driveline response a LOT from the factory to protect the drivelines from inexperienced drivers.

z31maniac
z31maniac SuperDork
Nov. 8, 2011 3:51 p.m.
forzav12 wrote:
z31maniac wrote: The right thing would be a 400hp V8 and the brakes/suspension to handle it. But I want Nissan to make a 400Z (V8) as well. I just really want a V8 sports car..................guess we will just have to put one in the Miata.

Corvette. Done.

Is it OK to admit I know that's the answer, but just don't really care for one?

neon4891 SuperDork
Nov. 8, 2011 4:00 p.m.
Lugnut wrote: Is it just a weight thing? I mean, I haven't driven the new V6 Mustang, but it is more powerful than any of my old Mustangs ('92 GT, '95 GT, '98 Cobra x2). A bit less torque than my old 32v SVTs but the same 305hp. And I know the SVT was 3400lbs and the new V6 is 3700lbs.

Nope, new V6 cars are 3453Lb. I wonder what v6 would be like with the 3.73 rear axle you can get in the GT.

Edmund's specs

Sky_Render New Reader
Nov. 8, 2011 4:02 p.m.

I easily get 27 MPG on my '11 Mustang GT, but I didn't get the 3.83 rear end gears.

Teh E36 M3 Dork
Nov. 8, 2011 4:10 p.m.
z31maniac wrote:
forzav12 wrote:
z31maniac wrote: The right thing would be a 400hp V8 and the brakes/suspension to handle it. But I want Nissan to make a 400Z (V8) as well. I just really want a V8 sports car..................guess we will just have to put one in the Miata.

Corvette. Done.

Is it OK to admit I know that's the answer, but just don't really care for one?

You will come across as an uppety: Japanese o phile, Eur o phile, etc o phile.

Seriously though, the 'vette is a great car, but it's ok not to like them. I feel similarly about the Miata, and any number of BMW's even though I own an MG Midget. On a practical level, they are great, but I don't really want to be seen driving or riding in them. It's not that I see them a certain way, it's that others do. I don't want to have to "sell" the benefits of my car to people who ask. It's stereotyping by proxy, yes, but it is what it is. I've got enough explaining to do anyway, and don't need the extra hassle.

So if you don't like the 'vette, the CTS-V is the best alternative.

Javelin SuperDork
Nov. 8, 2011 4:29 p.m.

GM soooo missed the boat when they didn't make the LS1 Solstice into a production car. Hot Rod's LS7 one is just so freaking right.

Teggsan New Reader
Nov. 8, 2011 5:01 p.m.

I have the '11 GT. Can't speak to the V6 powertrain but can speak to the overall S197 package: it's fairly badass when driven in anger. Frankly 305 HP would be enough for many drivers; 412 (mine probably makes more like 430 due to a tune/CAI) makes it a potent weapon.

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