The 2011 Mustang V6 at the LA Auto Show  (Source: AutoBlog)
Who says saving the Earth and your wallet from harm can't be fun, says Ford

The 2011 Ford Mustang V6 has slimmed down, and it's a change that was badly needed.  After all, the previous base V6 engine put out a measly 210 hp (240 lb-ft of torque) from a 4.0-liter V6 engine. That engine is rated at 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway with a 5-speed manual transmission (16 mpg/24 mpg with a 5-speed automatic transmission).

The new engine offers a world of difference.  It takes up 3.7 L and is 40 lb lighter, yet it can muster 305 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque (at 6500 rpm and 4250 rpm respectively).  And the best part was just confirmed this week -- it has been EPA rated at 31 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg in the city.

That's a dramatic turnaround for the veteran brand that languished in recent years from poor internals.  No longer will base Mustangs be the laughingstock of the sports coupe market. 

In fact that 31 mpg highway rating is a record for a car with 300+ hp -- no car with 300+ hp has previously broken 30 mpg highway fuel economy.  The rating gives it bragging rights over GM's Camaro V6, which has exactly 1 hp less and gets 29 mpg on the highway.  The Camaro V6 also gets beat by the new Mustang in city mileage as it gets a mere 17 mpg.

The improved performance is aided by faster valve timings --
the Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) on the new 3.7L engine adjusts the valvetrain in microseconds -- plus aerodynamic improvements and an Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS) system.

Despite that the "aerodynamic improvements" the car looks pretty good, with powerful lines.

Ford's new sports coupe is a great example of a company doing what is needed to achieve the incoming stricter CAFE regulations, while not sacrificing an ounce of performance (in fact substantially increasing the performance).

It should be exciting to see in coming models what Ford can do if it adds some of its other progressing technologies like turbocharging and hybrid powertrains to the base Mustang mix.

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