Auto Tech

2011 Ford Mustang: V-6 is no longer a dirty word

The 2011 Ford Mustang gets a new engine to go along with its updated look.

2011 Ford Mustang V-6
Josh P. Miller/CNET

When Ford launched the revised Mustang last year, we were pretty bummed to learn that there wasn't a new power plant to go along with the improved aesthetic. At the 2009 LA Auto Show, this inequity has been rectified with a new 3.7-liter Duratec V-6 that boosts engine output to 305 horsepower while raising fuel economy to an estimated 30 mpg on the highway. For the first time ever, a V-6 Mustang is nothing to be ashamed of.

We've already taken a look at how the Duratec achieves such power and economy through a combination of weight and friction reduction, along with a new variable valve timing system. Spinning the crank to the tune of 305 horsepower means that the Mustang is now more powerful than the Chevrolet Camaro (304 horsepower). Of course, a one pony gap isn't much to write home about, but bragging rights are bragging rights.

Along with the new heart, the Mustang receives a few aero tweaks to the front end and undercarriage that will likely be invisible to all but the most diehard 'Stang lovers. Revised spring rates and a new thicker rear anitroll bar also help the Mustang V-6 to handle slightly better, but an optional Performance Package adds the suspension and stability control programming of the Mustang GT, bringing the V-6 model dangerously close to the V-8 in terms of performance--at least, until the new GT is revealed at the Detroit Show in January.

Check out our gallery of the 2011 Mustang V-6 at the 2009 LA Auto Show.