2011 Ford Mustang GT: The Best Affordable GT Car?
May 02, 2011
In prior years, I wouldn't have given much thought to the Mustang GT being a "grand tourer." The GT badge had about as much relevance as "heavy duty" applies to heavy-duty batteries. But thanks to 2010's interior and suspension improvements and this year's new 5.0-liter V8 (plus additional suspension fine tuning), the Mustang GT finally lives up to the meaning. So much so, in fact, that it could be the best grand touring car for $30,000.
In my mind, the term "muscle car" or "pony car" means a focus on performance, with refinement taking a back seat. Yet our Mustang just doesn't drive like a traditional muscle car. Ford dialed in a very nice balance between ride comfort and handling, which suits a grand tourer's dual-purpose role. The interior isn't anything special, but it's put together well and doesn't seem cheap. Even the V8 doesn't seem like it's a muscle-car V8 -- it's so smooth and linear in its delivery that it might as well come out of our departed Audi S5.
So what's the best grand touring coupe for $30,000? Of course that all hinges on what "best" entails and even how strict you want to be with the GT definition. But I asked myself the following question: "What $30,000 new "grand touring" car would I want to drive cross country and hit everything America's roads have to offer, from eight-lane super slab to curving canyon roads?" I thought about it and figured the Mustang would be at the top of my list. It's more livable than the Camaro, sportier than the Challenger and more easily fits into the traditional GT mold than cars like the VW GTI.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 6,870 miles