The Pony Car Wars are finally getting on in full force. But most of the journalizing going on revolves around the premium performance models from each of the Big Three: the SS, GT, and R/T. Much attention has also been payed to the “lesser” V6 models, most notably on the Camaro, which boasts an impressive 300hp right out of the box. The Challenger makes due with 265hp. And even Hyundai’s flagship sports car, the Genesis Coupe, winds 306hp out of its 3.8L mill. New technology is quickly rewriting the shameful stigma surrounding the “base” level six-bangers out there.
Noticeably absent from these discussions is the Ford Mustang. When it arrived five years ago, the 4.0L V6 seemed respectable at 210hp. But now, the only thing great about Ford’s entry level coupe is the price and Shelby-inspired fascia.
So now Ford has confirmed that the Mustang will receive a much needed makeover in 2011, fitting it with a modified version of the Duratec DOHC 24-valve 3.7L V6 engine just released in the Lincoln MKS–which was last seen making the rounds at local drag strips in hopes of rekindling the public’s faith in all things Ford sans a pony badge.
The MKS produces 273 hp @ 6250 rpm with 270 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm, but we can expect the revitalized Mustang to improve on those numbers since the intake manifold, exhaust manifold, and accessory drive system on the MKS version was modified for FWD use. That would put the V6 Mustang back into contention with its Detroit-brethren, making it faster than the portly Challenger, and curiously close to the Camaro acceleration-wise.
And now that the naturally aspirated version has made it into production, the game-changing, 355hp twin-turbo “Cleveland” version can’t be far behind.