The original pony car is still one of the best, and there's a good reason for this sport coupe's longevity.
Strong V6 and V8 power, competent chassis and brakes, ragtop option.
Solid rear axle, love-it-or-hate-it styling, poor stereo ergonomics.
A child-safety-seat anchoring system is standard on both the coupe and convertible. Two new clearcoat-paint colors are offered: Silver Metallic and Atlantic Blue Metallic.
The SVT Mustang Cobra is a high-performance Mustang that has been heavily modified by Ford's Special Vehicle Team (SVT). Available in either coupe or convertible, the SVT Cobra's main calling cards are a totally different engine, a revised suspension and an improved interior.
The Cobra's firepower comes from a 4.6-liter, 32-valve DOHC V8. While based on Ford's family of modular V8s, the Cobra's engine is considerably more advanced. The engine produces 320 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 317 lb-ft of torque at 4,750 rpm. Intake-port geometry and the "tumble-port" combustion-chamber design provide engine efficiency and performance. Its coil-on-plug ignition system provides a high-energy spark in the combustion chamber for efficient burn characteristics. Precise control of potential detonation is made possible by use of an improved knock sensor. A stainless-steel dual-exhaust system is standard equipment.
Each 4.6-liter Cobra engine is hand-assembled at the Romeo Engine Plant in Romeo, Mich. After the two-person teams assemble the engine, located on a separate line from all other 4.6L engines, the team affixes a signature plate with their names on it onto the right cam cover.
Besides having generally more performance-oriented suspension pieces, the Cobra also has an independent rear suspension (IRS) that was just introduced last year. Compared to the GT's solid rear axle, the IRS reduces unsprung weight by 125 pounds and widens the rear track by 1.2 inches. The overall effect is better road feel and handling, especially on rough or bumpy pavement.
The Cobra sports leather seats as standard equipment. It also has a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob. Other standard-equipment items of note include power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, all-speed traction control, Ford's SecuriLock passive anti-theft system, remote keyless entry, and a Mach 460 electronic AM/FM/cassette and compact disc player system.
The DOHC V8 and improved suspension combine to give the Cobra a higher performance envelope than the regular Mustang GT. Though horsepower is similar, the Cobra is much more refined than a Camaro or Firebird. Ultimately, the question is whether the Cobra's price premium over the GT or Camaro/Firebird is worth it. We generally feel it is, though the gap has narrowed now that the GT produces 265 horsepower. But if all you're looking for is rear-drive muscle and not much else, a less-expensive Camaro/Firebird is a better choice.