Buyers of the new Ford Mustang are flush with powertrain options.
There's the excellent 305-hp 3.7L V-6 and a pavement-pounding 550-hp 5.4L supercharged V-8 in the Shelby GT500; both uphold the Mustang legacy with glorious exhaust notes and thrilling off-the-line performance.
For some, the V-6 isn't quite enough and the GT500 is just too much. Therein lies Ford Powertrain's motivation in bringing to market a “just right” V-8 that perfectly blends neck-snapping might, everyday driveability and acceptable fuel economy.
For delicately balancing these contradictory goals so marvelously, Ford's 5.0L V-8 earns its way to the 2011 Ward's 10 Best Engines list in its first year of eligibility.
Cynics might suggest engines of this nature have fallen out of style, that a finite supply of fossil fuel makes burly V-8s completely irrelevant.
But such sentiments are not supported by sales data showing an unmistakable resurgence in muscle-car popularity with the success of the Mustang and its rivals, the Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger.
Even if no one were buying the Mustang and its 5.0L V-8, we'd be hard pressed to pass it up.
The new “Five-Oh,” with dual overhead cams offers 412 hp, 390 lb.-ft. (529 Nm) of torque and an impressive 82 hp/L. Plus, a higher compression ratio (11.0:1) allows the new V-8 to operate at higher thermal efficiency.
DISPLACEMENT (CC): 4,951
BLOCK/HEAD MATERIAL: ALUMINUM/ALUMINUM
BORE × STROKE (MM): 92.2 × 92.7
HORSEPOWER (SAE NET): 412 @ 6,500 RPM
TORQUE: 390 LB.-FT. (529 NM) @ 4,250 RPM
SPECIFIC OUTPUT: 82 HP/L
SPECIFIC OUTPUT: 11.0:1
ASSEMBLY SITE: WINDSOR, ON, CANADA
APPLICATION TESTED: '11 MUSTANG GT
EPA CITY/HIGHWAY (MPG): 17/26