2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 – Short Take Road Test

The ingredients needed to make a Mustang: horsepower, horsepower, and more horsepower, plus a chrome pony,

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The 5.0 is back! The 2011 Ford Mustang GT arrives with an all-new advanced 5.0-liter V-8 engine, developed by a passionate cadre of enthusiastic engineers who rallied around the common goal of delivering more than 400 horsepower.

The modern 5.0-liter four-valve Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) V-8 engine in the new Ford Mustang GT will deliver 412 horsepower and 390 ft.-lb. of torque. At the same time, fuel economy is projected to be better than the previous model and unsurpassed in the segment.

“This all-new 5.0-liter engine is the next chapter in the development of the world-class Mustang powertrain portfolio,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. “It’s a thoroughly modern engine for the times, delivering the performance and fun-to-drive factor that enthusiasts want, while improving fuel economy.”

Coyote in the lobby

Many of the engineers on the development team have worked in the Engine and Electrical Engineering Building on the Dearborn, Mich., product development center campus. For years they walked past the original 5.0-liter V-8 Coyote Indy racing engine on display in the lobby, continually inspired by its mix of heritage, high technology and horsepower.

The powertrain development community had long wanted to develop a new 5.0-liter powertrain, with strategic discussions beginning in 2000. By 2007, the Mustang competitive landscape was beginning to change, a sign that the time was right for advancing the Ford Mustang GT powertrain to world-class levels.

The team began 5.0-liter engine development with the objective of delivering 400-plus horsepower, on a timetable accelerated by 12 months without compromises in reliability, durability, fuel economy, or noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) control.

“Nearly all of the team members have worked on other high-profile powertrain programs,” said V-8 Engine Programs Manager Mike Harrison. “They all had a clear vision of the work required on their particular component or subsystem. Their passion for engines, racing and delivering every last ounce of performance throughout the engine speed range really demonstrated that they put their heads and their hearts into this powertrain.”

Development test engines and benchmarks included 5.0-liter blocks, employing different bore and stroke measurements, GT500 four-valve-per-cylinder heads and cams, various intake manifold runner configurations, differing compression ratios and a deep-sump oil pan. The team also evaluated Ford Racing’s 5.0-liter “Cammer” V-8 crate engine for transferable best practices.

Extensive computer-aided engineering (CAE) modeling, development engine experimentation and evaluation in combination with intricate machine work brought this promising, all-new configuration to jaw-dropping life in an accelerated time frame.

The result of this development is an “and” solution, not an “or.” 2011 Mustang buyers will enjoy the benefits of a powerful engine as well as responsible fuel economy.

Ti-VCT

A critical element in the 5.0-liter V-8′s ability to deliver 412 horsepower, with improved drivability, tractability and fuel economy over the 2010 Ford Mustang GT powertrain, is enhanced Ti-VCT.

For a high-performance application, the team specified cam-torque-actuated variable camshaft timing. Using existing cam torque energy, with assistance from pressurized oil, meant that minimal upgrades to the oil pump were required, resulting in less parasitic drag. Increased volumetric and thermal efficiency gives faster Ti-VCT response at all engine speeds.

During the development phase, camshaft lift profile and port optimization started with higher-lift Ford Racing aftermarket units, modified for compatibility with various four-valve-per-cylinder heads. Extensive CAE and dynamometer testing was performed to fine-tune camshaft events and port flow for performance and fuel efficiency in conjunction with the variable camshaft timing.

The resulting all-new aluminum four-valve-per-cylinder heads feature a compact roller finger follower valvetrain layout leaving more room for high-flow ports for free-breathing performance. Head structure was designed to support higher cylinder head pressures and cross-flow cooling for sustained high-rpm use. Head bolt size was increased from 11 to 12 millimeters to contain the higher combustion pressures.

The aluminum block was developed for optimized windage and oil drainback under lateral conditions and high rpm, such as a track-day outing for an enthusiastic owner and driver. Increased main bearing bulkhead widths and nodular iron cross-bolted main bearing caps with upsized bolts were also employed to accommodate the significant performance increase.

An additional element is the increased capacity and baffling of the deep-sump stamped steel oil pan to enable sustained high-rpm use and offer the convenience of 10,000-mile oil change intervals. Piston-cooling jets also were incorporated for performance-minded customers and for faster oil warm-up on cold start.

Specially designed tubular exhaust headers were developed to maximize exhaust pulse separation and improve flow. A team analyst actually fabricated the tubular headers in his home workshop, bringing the CAE design to life.

Performance and fuel economy

The 412 horsepower and 390 ft.-lb. of torque delivered by the 2011 Mustang GT 5.0-liter V-8 represent significant increases versus the 2010 model year output levels.

The six-speed automatic transmission on the 2011 Ford Mustang GT will deliver up to an estimated 25 mpg highway and 17 in the city. This is up from 23 mpg highway and 17 city for the 2010 model. Six-speed manual transmission Ford Mustang GT models for 2011 are projected to deliver 24 mpg highway and 16 city, matching the 2010 model but delivering significantly more horsepower and performance feel.

2011 Ford Mustang GT fuel economy is enabled by the Ti-VCT, the six-speed transmissions in automatic or manual variations, EPAS and an additional rear decklid seal to enhance aerodynamics.

Fuel economy also is aided by engineering a lightweight powertrain. The engine, as shipped, weighs just 430 pounds. This represents a weight savings of more than 20 percent versus the previous 5.0-liter offering. Lower mass can be attributed to the aluminum block and heads, the lightweight composite intake manifold, composite cam covers and hollow camshafts.

Improved driving dynamics

EPAS has made a dramatic contribution to Ford Mustang GT driving dynamics, delivering quicker on-center steering response, increased effort at highway speeds and reduced effort required in low-speed parking maneuvers. EPAS allows specific tuning for the Ford Mustang GT application.

The 2011 Ford Mustang GT features an enhanced rear lower control arm to add stiffness, improve powertrain NVH control and sharpen handling. A stiffened rear stabilizer bar for better on-center steering is also included. Stabilizer bar diameters, spring rates and dampers all have been tuned for improved dynamics.

A Brembo brake package upgrade will be available for serious enthusiasts. This package includes 14-inch vented front discs from the GT500 Mustang, unique 19-inch alloy wheels and summer performance tires.

Added convenience content

For 2011, Ford Mustang GT offers drivers several new convenience technologies, including:

  • Standard message center
  • Integrated blind spot mirrors
  • MyKey™ programmable vehicle key
  • Illuminated visors
  • Universal garage door opener
  • Sun visor storage

New look

From the 5.0 fender badges to the new engine cover, Ford Mustang GT honors and continues the proud heritage of its predecessors. The speedometer increases to 160 mph and the tachometer redline advances from 6,500 to 7,000 rpm.

Three vibrant new colors will be added for 2011 including Yellow Blaze Tri-Coat, Race Red and Ingot Silver.

Improved NVH control and convertible rigidity

For 2011, Ford Mustang GT benefits from across-the-board NVH improvements. These include additional sound-deadening material on either side of the instrument panel, an additional seal between door and rocker panel to reduce wind noise and a real wheel arch liner to reduce noise on gravel or wet surfaces.

Ford Mustang GT convertible models feature enhanced structural rigidity, with lateral stiffness improved by 12 percent versus the 2010 model. A tower-to-tower front strut brace is now standard, and the V-brace has been stiffened by adding gussets. The secondary crossmember also has been stiffened while a front Z-brace has been added, connecting primary and secondary crossmembers. A-pillar stiffening foam also has been added to increase rigidity.

“This powertrain honors Mustang’s heritage by raising the bar on performance while increasing fuel economy,” said Barb Samardzich, vice president, Powertrain Development. “For enthusiasts, such as the passionate members of the 5.0-liter V-8 team, it’s like having your cake and eating it, too.”

Japanese company Wald International have certainly brought out some interesting body kits since they got into the modifications game.  In just 15 years, they have built a reputation as a top shelf tuner willing to go after literally any type of Japanese or European premium vehicle.

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