Thursday, March 21, 2013

First Drive: 2013 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 Coupe

The Ford Mustang was first released in 1964 and it started the pony car wars. It beat out its rivals, the Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro. Starting in 1969 until 1973, the Mustang was available with a 302 cubic inch (4.95L) V8. The 302 engine was available in the second generation Mustang starting in 1975. 1975 marked the year when Ford first used the "5.0" moniker for the Mustang. The 4.95L V8 was brought over  to the third generation Mustang. Due to an oil crisis, the 4.95L V8 was replaced for a 4.2L V8 for the 1980 and 1981. In 1982, Mustangs regained the 4,.95L V8. All third generation Mustangs with the 4.95L V8 carried the "5.0" moniker. When Ford released the fourth generation in 1994, Ford brought over the 4.95L V8 and kept it in the Mustang for the 1995 model year. In 1996, Ford replaced the 4.95L V8 with a 4.6L V8. In 2005, Ford came out with the fifth generation Mustang, and the 4.95L V8 was not included with the initial release of the fifth generation Mustang. When the fifth generation got a styling update in 2010, the 4.95L V8 was still not available. The 302 cubic inch V8 made its return to the Ford Mustang in 2011, replacing the 4.6L V8 engines found in the Mustang GTs. Starting in 2011, Ford Mustang GTs gained the "5.0" moniker. In 2012 and 2013, Ford released the Mustang Boss 302. At the 2013 Houston Auto Show, the Ford Mustang 5.0 was available for test drive, but there was a long line just to drive one and Ford allowed you to only drive in the parking lot. I decided not to drive the Mustang at the auto show. There is a Ford dealership close to where I live and I stopped by to test drive the Mustang 5.0. The Ford Mustang is a front engine, rear-wheel drive, two-door sports car with a 2+2 seating arrangement.

The Mustang GT 5.0 has a sporty, aggressive styling. It has the classic front grill and a sporty profile. I really like the taillights on the Mustang. The Mustang I drove had a simple interior. There is no touch screen in the Mustang I drove. I was comfortable behind the wheel. I had a good amount of head space and leg space. This is a sports coupe, there is not much room in the back for adult passengers. The Mustang I drove also came with Brembo brakes, which improve the Mustang's stopping power.

The Ford Mustang GT 5.0 I drove is powered by a 5.0L V8, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, that produces 420 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. It goes from 0 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds and a top speed of 146 mph. The Mustang 5.0 is also available with a six-speed manual transmission. The Mustang 5.0 has great acceleration. It felt quick behind the wheel. For a sports car, the Mustang 5.0 has a smooth ride. It was quiet inside the Mustang 5.0, even with a V8 engine.The Mustang has responsive handling and the car responded well when pressed the accelerator and brake pedals. This is a solid muscle car and I had fun test behind the wheel. Prices for the Mustang GT Coupe start at $30,750. Prices for the Ford Mustang GT Premium start at $34,750.

Overall, the Mustang GT 5.0 is a great muscle car. The Mustang has great performance at a very reasonable price. I have driven the Chevrolet Camaro SS, yet I had more fun in the Mustang GT 5.0 than I did in the Camaro SS. I have also driven the Mustang V6. The Mustang V6 is good for everyday driving. But if you want a car you can live with everyday and want to use on track days, the Mustang GT 5.0 is the way to go. Since there is not much room in the back, the Mustang should not be used as a family car. If you want a great performing car for under $40,000, give the Mustang GT 5.0 a test drive.

Photo was taken by a camera phone.
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