Track Tested: 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 Convertible

Track Tested: 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 Convertible

Mustang GT 50 convert TT.jpg

At what point does a secretary's car stop being a secretary's car? The convertible top dumps the 2011 Ford Mustang directly into the "cute toy" category, but the 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 convertible blurs the lines with a V8 making 412 horsepower that's fed to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. Well that almost sounds...awesome. Not a chick car at all. We can picture it now: Rollin' in my 5.0 with the ragtop down so my hair can blow....

They'll both cruise down the A1A with equal aplomb, but with the top still attached and made of metal, the 2011 Mustang 5.0 weighs 3,620 pounds (according to our Full Test), gets to 60 in 4.8 seconds and bombs through the quarter-mile in 13.0 @ 110.6. What happens, though, when you chop the roof off, adding 106 pounds in the process? We wanted to know, too, so we brought it to our track to see where the GT 5.0 Convertible falls: secretary, or cool as ice?

Vehicle: 2011 Ford Mustang GT Convertible
Odometer: 1,689.2
Date: 10/16/10
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $41,705

Drive Type:  Rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed manual
Engine Type: 5.0-liter DOHC four valves per cylinder, variable intake, V8
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 4,995/302
Redline (rpm): 7,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 412 @ 6,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 390 @ 4,250
Brake Type (front): 14-inch ventilated discs with four-piston fixed calipers
Brake Type (rear): 11.8-inch ventilated disc with 2-piston sliding calipers
Steering System: Electric-assist power steering
Suspension Type (front): MacPherson strut, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Solid live axle, limited slip
Tire Size (front): P255/40R19 96W
Tire Size (rear): P255/40R19 96W
Tire Brand: Goodyear 
Tire Model: Eagle F1 Supercar
Tire Type:  Summer Performance
Wheel size: 19-by-9.0 inches front and rear
Wheel material (front/rear): Aluminum
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,726

Test Results:
0-30 (sec): 2.3
0-45 (sec): 3.7
0-60 (sec): 5.3
0-75 (sec): 7.5
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 13.5 @ 105.4
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 5.0
30-0 (ft): 29
60-0 (ft): 116
Slalom (mph): 68.0 ( 65.5 w/traction control on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.88 (0.88 w/traction control on)
Db @ Idle: 51
Db @ Full Throttle: 89.7
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 74.3

Acceleration: Needs more revs than I expected (+/- 3,500) to keep from bogging once the tires hook up. Also, tires have a narrow optimal slip "angle" so they either haze or grip. Shifter is slick and clutch pedal is light and easy to predict. So-so low-to-midrange power deliver and it really shows up above 5K rpm. Also, witnessed a momentary traction-control instant @ W.O.T. in 4tn gear with traction control on.

Braking:  Quite a lot of dive, but good power and arrow-straight. Pedal isn't as firm as I'd like and I'd also prefer less idle-stroke, but for a weekend pleasure car, it's totally appropriate.

Handling: Skid pad: Tires go away rather quickly -- even noticeable from one lap to the next. Still, there's good balance here between safe understeer and overall grip. With ESC on, it managed to snub understeer with brake dab, but very minimal intrusion. Steering is a little springy, but precise. Slalom: Crip turn-in, moderate roll stiffness and shockingly good compliance. Still, the Mustang has classic rear-drive slalom behavior that rewards slow-in, fast-out with progressive throttle. I could've used a bit more roll-on torque to ease rotation, but this is still a remarkable achievement for this chassis.

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