2011 Ford Mustang 5.0: A Die-Hard's Impressions
February 20, 2012
My neighbor is a Mustang guy through and through. He's on his fifth one now, a '99 GT coupe. Along the way, he's had a '77 ("the four-cylinder,"he offered, as though no more need be said), and '84 and '85 GT's. He'd fully dialed in the latter for autocross and general hoonage, and then one night the inevitable happened. The police eventually found the shell, but not much more.
"That one was my favorite,"he said, and you could tell it still stung.
He even survived a trip through the windshield of his Cobra, after getting cut off bending around a freeway transition. The back end got loose, hit a lightpole and the world spun. He woke up in the iceplant with a nurse kneeling over him, but a few dozen stitches later, he miraculously walked away.
I wanted to hear his thoughts on our 5.0, so I took him for a quick rip up and down the freeway and some nearby side streets. No surprise, he was impressed with how unlabored the new V8 feels getting up to speed. The new Coyote design lived up to all he'd heard and read about it, especially with its quiet, cruisy manners in sixth gear.
"I could get used to this,"he said, after a few more quick bursts and a couple of cloverleaf on-ramps. I think that about sums up most of our staff sentiment toward the Mustang.
I asked about the interior. "Looks good. A little plastic, but that seems to be the trend these days. I like that everything is close to the driver and easily falls to hand."
He even liked the intake whine, the faux supercharger whistle ported into the cabin from the engine bay. I thought a die-hard Mustang guy might think it was a gimmick, but he thought it added to the visceral thrill of acceleration. I can't argue. Gimmick or not, it's a cool trick.
Would you buy it for $40,000, I asked? Forty grand buys several very good cars these days, after all.
He just looked at me as if I'd asked a very silly question.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor