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2011 Ford Mustang GT (photos)

Ford upgraded the engine significantly for the 2011 Mustang GT, fitting it with a 5-liter V-8 using variable-valve timing to crank out 412 horsepower. A Brembo brake package brings in a more sport-tuned suspension, which remains compliant enough for comfortable driving.

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Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

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1 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET
Ford offers its Mustang in a number of different versions, from a base V-6 coupe to a convertible, and all the way up to the Mustang-based Shelby. The GT Premium gets a new 5-liter V-8 engine, putting it at the higher end of the range.

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The modern Mustang is an excellent take on the fastback Mustang design of the late '60s, showing off much of that body style but with modern cues. In GT trim, Ford places prominent 5.0 badges around the car.

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This new 5-liter V-8 uses a variable-valve timing system to churn out 412 horsepower. Although Ford posts EPA numbers of 17 mpg city and 26 mpg highway, the reality is more like 16 mpg when this car is driven as intended.

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As a coupe, the Mustang GT has relatively comfortable front seats, but a cramped rear seat. Access to the back seat is typically compromised for a coupe. The GT can also be had as a convertible.

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Ford maintains some Mustang legacy drive feel by fitting the car with a live rear axle instead of an independently sprung suspension. Buyers can opt for different rear axle drive ratios, along with a Brembo package that upgrades the brakes and changes the suspension tuning.

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The trunk opening is small, but there is some depth to the cargo space.

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The cabin shows a subtle quality, with good fit and finish but no showy pieces of carbon fiber or wood trim.

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The three-spoke wheel fits the Mustang legacy. The power steering feels slightly over-boosted. More heft would have been nice.

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The voice command button activates Sync, letting you control Bluetooth phones and MP3 players.

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Ford keeps the instrument cluster mostly analog, with two white-backed gauges for speed and tach, a classic look.

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The polished metal shifter is a little over the top. This six-speed transmission has a very short throw. It also likes to control shifts in some situations, such as upshifting from 2 to 5, or down from 6 to 3.

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Sync uses the radio display to show a connected device's music library, which makes it difficult to find music. A larger display would be nice.

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Devices connected to the USB port in the console, such as USB drives or iPods, get their music indexed based on ID3 tags. You can then browse music by artist, album, genre, and track.

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Sync also allows Bluetooth audio streaming, but the information displayed is minimal.

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Sync will download a paired phone's contact list, making it available through voice command.

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The base Shaker audio system in the car is powerful, but not very impressive in its sound reproduction.

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