Are V6 Mustangs Fun, Too?

Can a V6 Mustang be just as much fun as a V8-powered car? Forum member KentF has been busy presenting his case.

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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/17/17 12:28 p.m.

By the way, I'm sure there's someone out there wondering, "How does my build get featured?" Share a cool build of a cool car, and you might be the next one.

You guys are posting some really cool builds. This is just another way that we're shining the spotlight back on you.

Thanks for making this community so awesome.

Vigo UltimaDork
5/17/17 12:48 p.m.

That was the first generation of V6 Mustang that didn't totally suck. Surprisingly, though, i think the 05-09 generation of v6 gets even less enthusiasm vs its actual performance.

Ovid_and_Flem HalfDork
5/18/17 6:00 a.m.

To paraphrase an old Porsche truism: "Race the car you have...not the car you wish you had."

dean1484 MegaDork
5/18/17 6:37 a.m.

My 94 was an appliance that looked sporty.

penultimeta HalfDork
5/18/17 1:31 p.m.

Yes, the s197 seems to get a bad rap, but everything from a spec standpoint looks competitive with other 6-cylinder tourers of the time. Not sure what it's like to drive, but I've had my eye on a few since I'll be needing a new DD pretty soon.

JimS New Reader
5/18/17 2:25 p.m.

I'm not sure how much fun 05 and up were to drive but I believe they were successful SCCA showroom stock racers.

toxonix New Reader
11/29/17 11:52 a.m.

In reply to penultimeta :

I test drove a stock 2013 S197 with the NA 3.7 liter. It didn't have a lot of power at lower RPMs, but get it up past 4k and it really pulled nicely. And smooth. I have a 2007 S197 GT and the '13 V6 felt like it had more to give. It also has 6 gears to row through, and I was only able to really use 6th as an overdrive while bumping up against the speed limiter. I'd probably go with 3.73 gearing to get ~1800 RPM in 6th on the highway at 65mph.

I bought the GT because V8, but now I'm pretty sure I'd go for the 3.7 V6 if I was looking for a DD. 

ddavidv PowerDork
11/30/17 5:38 a.m.

The New Edge V6 with a stick is better than you'd expect but it is still no S197 in the handling department.

My 4.0 S197 is much maligned by the general (ignorant) populace. I didn't buy it to be anything more than a DD but I have had it to two HPDE's at Summit while in-between other cars. My expectations for it were really low but I came away impressed. Even the 210hp engine can push it along decently. It will run with E30 BMWs (167hp, lighter weight). The only reason it comes across as slow is most of the HPDE hardware these days has a lot more power. Handling is very good. With some better sways and lowering it would be a lot of fun. Stock seats are horrible and don't hold you in place at all. The T-5 in the 4.0 dislikes speed shifting and the open rear diff won't help in sharp turns. A GT 8.8 will bolt in though.

I'm also pretty confident the engine comes de-tuned a bit from the factory to keep the gap between V6 and GT larger. I'm itching to put a tune on mine and run 92 octane just to see what happens.

I've driven the 3.7 version and it is fast but doesn't 'feel' fast. The power delivery is linear but oddly a bit dull. Can't put my finger on why.

Haven't driven a S550 V6 but have ridden with students in both the Ecoboost 4 and the GT. I would NOT pay the extra for a GT after my time in the Ecoboost. Much better balanced car and just as many thrills. Aside from the exhaust noise I didn't find the GT and its power significantly more useful on a road course than the turbo 4--certainly not for the substantially higher cost.

Stanger2000 New Reader
11/30/17 11:14 a.m.

I personally used to have the typical distaste towards 6 banger Mustangs for quite some time.  I had owned an '86 GT and SVO years ago and a few years back found myself dd'ing a clean '00 V6/auto (nonetheless) which I picked up real cheap off the original owner.   At the time I was in need of transportation and just happened to come across it and test drive it.  It served it's purpose well and ended up enjoying it more than I thought.   I was able to bring home a 6' doug fir in the trunk once w/ the back seats folded down - another plus.  

The thing about the 3.8(3.9 2004 only) and 4.0 SOHC motors is they're torquey in the lower RPM band which makes them great as daily drivers and some autocross.  And they were also lighter than their V8 siblings but most importantly they're still Mustangs with a plethora of aftermarket parts

And I doubt anyone could disagree w/ the SN95 vs S197 in the handling dept.  Ford finally got it right with regards to chassis tuning on the redesign w/ a slight weight penalty (which is good in regards to improving ride sometimes which it did).  

bentwrench Dork
11/30/17 11:39 a.m.
ddavidv said:


I'm also pretty confident the engine comes de-tuned a bit from the factory to keep the gap between V6 and GT larger. I'm itching to put a tune on mine and run 92 octane just to see what happens.


Maybe not to keep a gap (I don't think they are that nefarious), I think they are just very conservative (read soft luxobarge, not scary).

I MegaSquirted a 3.0L pushrod AeroStar motor and was impressed at the performance increase. No data so I will just say, SIGNIFICANT!

I'm also a big EcoBoost fan, more from less.... You are not dragging around the extra weight (in both ways), and fuel economy is very similar when you are hammering it.

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