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Mustang V6  (Source: allfordmustangs.com)
Ford's Mustang V6 finally gets some balls

When it comes to increasing the fuel economy of vehicles to meet more strict CAFE regulations, automakers are looking at a variety of possible scenarios. Many like Toyota and Honda are pushing hybrid powertrains with vehicles like the Prius and Insight. Others, like VW and Audi, are heavily invested in diesel technology.

Ford is no stranger to relatively expensive hybrid powertrains or turbocharging, but it is using an off-the-shelf, normally aspirated V6 to boost fuel economy in its 2011 Mustang. Base Mustangs have long been the laughing stock of the sporty coupe market with drivers limping along with a "whopping" 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).

Ford's base 2011 Mustang, however, should be able to give a little more dignity to those who choose not to go the GT route. The 2011 Mustang is now powered by a smaller, all-aluminum 3.7-liter V6 which pumps out an impressive 305 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque (at 6500 rpm and 4250 rpm respectively). The new engine is also 40 pounds lighter than the outgoing unit.

For the eco-conscious folks out there, fuel economy is up as well despite the 31 percent improvement in power. This time around, it's the automatic transmission (6-speed) that gets the best fuel economy at 19 mpg city/30 mpg highway. The 6-speed manual transmission is not far behind at 18 mpg city/29 mpg highway.

With the V6 Mustang now within 10 hp of its more expensive GT brother, Ford is expected to announce a new V8 engine for the vehicle that will be rated at around 400/400 (hp/lb-ft).

For comparison, the Mustang V6's arch enemy -- the Camaro V6 -- is rated at 17 mpg city/29 mpg highway. Considering that the new Mustang V6 now offers relatively the same punch as the Camaro V6 while weighing around 400 pounds less means that a whole new round of pony car wars is likely to begin.



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By donxvi on 11/30/2009 10:16:30 PM , Rating: 2
Let me fill you in on how EPA fuel economy ratings are derived. The EPA never sees the car, manufacturers "self certify" which means that the EPA has agreed that the tests run at that OEM are acceptable. Some facility/test methodology cross-check was performed in the past (before I arrived). But this part is a minor detail.

The EPA city/highway numbers are derived from driving a specified cycle on a chassis dyno. The highway number isn't what you'll get if you fill up and hit the highway then get off when the tank is empty and refill. You can google the EPA cycle if you're actually interested. Every car is tested on the same drive cycle under similar conditions. No tailwinds, no traffic, no hills.

Give your car to one of these hypermiling champions and he'll smoke your best fuel economy. Do you really want Ford advertising 81.5 MPG because they were able to squeeze that out of one in a publicity stunt ? That's why a standardized cycle exists.


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