Monday, December 28, 2009
Mustang's 5-liter V-8 vrooms into next decade with good gas mileage
2011 Ford Mustang GT.
It sounds better than it looks, and the 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 looks great. Ford Motor Co. was to officially announce today the return of the 5-liter V-8, and the public will get its first look at the muscle car in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The legendary engine has lived in the Mustang on and off for nearly 30 years but never with as much ferocious power or outstanding gas mileage. The new GT will be able to get up to 25 miles per gallon while cranking out more than 400 horses.
The current GT, powered by Ford's bullet proof 4.6-liter V-8, produces 315 horsepower and averages 23 mpg on the highway.
By the numbers the new naturally aspirated engine will deliver 412 horsepower, 390 pound-feet torque and a rumbling growl that can make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
"I've been waiting 48 years for this," Jim Farley, Ford's vice president of marketing and a longtime Mustang enthusiast, said during a media preview of the Mustang GT. Farley drives a Grabber Blue Mustang GT. "When I joined Ford, as soon as I heard about this engine, I knew we had something special," he said.
The hallowed engine block -- a 5-liter engine has almost the same displacement as 302 cubic inches or a Boss 302 -- has a long Mustang history. When the 1983 Mustang GT 5.0 High Output arrived, it cranked out a then-thunderous 157 horsepower. A four-barrel carburetor on the 1986 GT wowed consumers with its 210 horsepower. The last GT to use the 5-liter V-8 was the 1995 Mustang.
Ford could use the new engine in other vehicles, such as the F-150 pickup, to provide more power than the current 4.6-liter V-8, though executives would not comment on that possibility.
Engineers and designers said they were challenged to top 400 horsepower on a 5-liter displacement engine. Additionally, they were given only a few years to create it, losing 12 months of development time.
"It's faster than we've ever done it," said Mike Harrison, V-8 engine programs manager, of the work his 10-person team did.
Engineers opened up the intake and created new headers for a "better breathing engine," Harrison said. They also gave the V-8 twin independent variable valve camshaft timing to enhance its performance.
Ford will showcase the new GT with the black and red 5.0 badge at the auto show in Detroit. But this car adds more than just power.
Ford will add a new six-speed automatic or manual transmission to the GT, replacing the five-speed gear box on the current model. With the improved gear ratios and with lots of low-end torque, drivers no longer will have to downshift to third to find power at 70 mph. (The new speedometer goes up to 160 mph, up from 140 mph.)
It will feature electric power-assisted steering, known as EPAS. This fuel-saving technology operates without a traditional steering pump, and Ford has worked to dial in a solid steering feel, engineers said.
There also were changes to the car's suspension and tuning. Ford promises a much quieter ride in the 2011 Mustang GT due to additional sound-deadening materials. Engineers added support to make the body 12 percent more rigid to improve its handling. The Mustang GT will keep its solid rear axle, perhaps the one sharply criticized attribute, but one many enthusiasts have come to embrace.
A special Bermbo brake package also will be available on the new GT with 14-inch disc brakes (taken from the GT 500), 19-inch wheels and summer performance tires.
Ford said it also will add features such as integrated blind spot mirrors, illuminated visors, and a universal garage door opener on the 2011 Mustang GT.
The 5.0 V-8 engine upgrade follows the introduction of a new powertrain to the 2011 Mustang V-6, which comes with a 3.7-liter engine that provides more than 300 horsepower and still allows the car to hit 30 mpg.