As we approach the half-century mark for the iconic Ford Mustang, we find ourselves in a unique position of having too many examples of the latest version from which to choose. For the pony car faithful, this embarrassment of riches is a clear signal of the model's strength, as there's a Mustang to match a wide variety of tastes and budgets. It really comes down to how much you can spend, but the good news is, you're a winner either way.
Don't think for a second that the Mustang V6 is a poser. With 305 horsepower under the hood, it's anything but an entry-level exercise. When we first drove it, we thought to ourselves, "This is a V6?" The only thing missing is the low growl and burble of a V8, but the V6 doesn't sound half bad either. At $22,200, this model is a great way to gain entry into the Mustang club, and for $155 less than a Civic Si, you can absolutely crush that "sporty" Honda on a drag strip. With EPA estimates as high as 19 city and 31 highway mpg, the Mustang V6 won't kill you at the pump either.
Best for: Performance on a budget
For many people, a Mustang isn't a Mustang unless it has a V8. As good as the V6 is, the 5.0-liter bent-eight is great. Crack the throttle and the torque floods out, accompanied by a glorious roaring soundtrack from the tailpipes. Fuel economy and tire wear be damned; the Mustang GT is happiest when the engine revs are high and white smoke is pouring from the tires. Long stretches of straight pavement are the GT's friend, but outfit it with any number of optional performance upgrades and it becomes a lively car for a road racing track, too.
Best for: The classic Mustang experience
Mustang Boss 302
Let's say you enjoy full-combat high performance. The Boss 302 is tuned for the track, so it represents a kind of laser-guided missile instead of the carpet bombing that you get with the Mustang GT. Throw down another $7,000 to get the race-ready Laguna Seca package, and it's like sending in a SEAL team to assassinate the competition. To put it simply, the Boss 302 knifes through turns with a degree of agile precision that is uncommon among muscle cars. Just remember that the red key is only for track use (yeah, right).
Best for: Track-day supremacy
The nuclear option, although in this case, assured destruction is not necessarily mutual. First, let's get this out there: 662. That's how much horsepower the GT500 produces, making it the most powerful production V8. Ever! This is the quickest Mustang you can buy, worthy of collector car status. Of course, the truth is that the final-drive gear ratio is just too tall to make you shriek with joy (or is it terror?) as the car accelerates. That said, the GT500 will walk away from a Boss 302 if the racetrack has any straights. Give it an even longer straightaway and the Shelby is supposed to be able to hit 200 mph. At $54,200, the GT500 is a relative bargain, but good luck trying to justify it to your significant other.
Best for: One-upsmanship (and adding points to your driving record)
Charts, Specifications, Information
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