Car & Driver Short Take - 2010 Ford Mustang GT

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Putting a Track pack on the popular pony.

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    BY AARON ROBINSON, PHOTOGRAPHY BY MORGAN SEGAL
    May 2009

    A Mustang with a Track pack? Corvettes and Vipers grab the glory for Old Glory at temples of speed such as Le Mans. The lumbering, log-axle Mustang is just a quarter-miler for the tattoo-and-tobacco crowd, right?

    Actually, mes amis, the Mustang is America’s other road-racing workhorse. It has its own pro series, the eight-race Mustang Challenge. And there were more than a dozen Mustangs on the grid at Daytona this past January when a Roush-prepared Mustang finished second in the three-hour Koni Challenge race. It made all its rights and lefts better than Porsche 911s and BMW M3s. [Turnkey Mustang drag cars are featured in this month’s Sport, page 110].

    No, we wouldn’t expect that hierarchy to hold on the street, even if the 2010 Track-pack Mustang GT is billed as the hairpin-and-carousel king of the newly reskinned Mustang lineup. Still, Ford’s old pony has a long history of making incremental improvements as it ages, and the Track package shows that the late-night lights still burn in some windows at Ford.

    Building a Track-pack Mustang on the order form starts with a GT Premium and its 315-hp, 4.6-liter V-8 and five-speed manual, for $31,845. The $1495 Track package swaps out the 3.31 or 3.55 axle for a 3.73 limited-slip rear end with carbon friction plates. The shocks are less forgiving in both compression and rebound, the anti-roll bars are thicker, and dual-piston front brake calipers with performance pads from the 2009 Bullitt model do the stopping. Also, the stability-control system is retuned to tolerate more sideways play.

    Finally, some very expensive Pirelli P Zero summer tires are fitted with white gloves. The size is 255/40ZR-19. The replacement price at Tire Rack: $398. Each. Avoid parking in dark alleys.

    Off to the track we marched, taking along a standard Mustang GT rolling on its Pirelli P Zero Nero all-season tires for comparison. The results were illuminating. Besides new sheetmetal, all 2010 Mustangs are recalibrated for less squish, less wiggle, less pogo, and less teeter-totter in the turns. Lay on the Track-pack version, and the strings are pulled even tauter. The body isn’t allowed to slump to the outside as much. Helm response quickens, and corner placement gets finer. The sticky Pirellis earn their tariff, maintaining a gummy, squeal-free grip that keeps the front end carving smooth arcs.

    Mustang steering has always been numb, and the Track pack doesn’t force any more circulation into it. Don’t bring along a Miata, as we did, or you’ll just get depressed. The Mustang’s flat seats allow you to flop around—we had knee bruises at day’s end—and the brake pedal started melting after a few laps, requiring frequent cool-downs.

    At $33,340 before discounts, a Mustang GT with the Track package stampedes into territory prowled by the Nissan 370Z, among others. Some would say, “So what?” More is at issue than test numbers cavorting on paper. The Mustang is America, Manifest Destiny rolling on radials. Lining it up next to a Z—we did it once, back in 2002—is like serving sashimi with succotash.

    And the Mustang is as fun as firecrackers on the Fourth. Everything is oversized and executed at volume 11, from the broad sweep of the double-hump dash to the big-grab shifter to the Yankee roar of the V-8 getting to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. It’s easy to be fast and pitch it sideways in a drift. And a sport mode in the new-for-2010 stability control allows a little more hooliganism within the safety net.

    The quality is better for 2010, especially inside, where stitched panels on the doors and tighter-fitting, squishable plastics have relieved the gloom of cheapness in the previous model. But curses were muttered when the jagged splinter of an indifferently applied spot weld in the trunk tore an expensive down comforter. A Friday build, perhaps?

    Though freeway ride suffers some with the Track package, Mustang fans who prefer candy-cane curbs to Christmas trees get a lot more control of their fillies. And for not much extra cabbage.

    Specifications

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    VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, four-passenger, two-door coupe

    PRICE AS TESTED: $34,330 (base price: $28,845)

    ENGINE TYPE: SOHC 24-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection

    Displacement: 281 cu in, 4601cc
    Power (SAE net): 315 bhp @ 6000 rpm
    Torque (SAE net): 325 lb-ft @ 4250 rpm

    TRANSMISSION: 5-speed manual

    DIMENSIONS:
    Wheelbase: 107.1 in Length: 188.1 in Width: 73.9 in Height: 55.6 in
    Curb weight: 3580 lb

    C/D TEST RESULTS:
    Zero to 60 mph: 5.1 sec
    Zero to 100 mph: 12.5 sec
    Zero to 120 mph: 18.2 sec
    Street start, 5–60 mph: 5.6 sec
    Standing ¼-mile: 13.7 sec @ 104 mph
    Top speed (governor limited, mfr's claim): 149 mph
    Braking, 70–0 mph: 164 ft
    Roadholding, 200-ft-dia skidpad: 0.92 g

    FUEL ECONOMY:
    EPA city/highway driving: 16/24 mpg
    C/D observed: 15 mpg

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  2. matrix243

    matrix243 My body, is ready.

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    this or grabber blue.
     

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