2011 Ford Mustang GT

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — It used to be that a person’s professional success was depicted by the vehicle he (or she) drove. Have a new BMW in the driveway? Must have done well in the legal profession. Have a Porsche in your parking space, Doctor? Looks like you’ve succeeded beyond your malpractice insurance. You get the picture. However…we predict there will be a new symbol of someone who’s made it and has rewarded himself for all those years of hard work, long hours, missed personal events, etc. – the 2011 Ford Mustang GT.

Since its debut at the New York World’s Fair in 1964, Ford has sold over 9 million Mustangs. Through the decades there have been a bevy of various models and powertrains. We can unequivocally state the 2011 Mustang GT is the most fun-to-drive model in the vehicle’s history – and we’ve driven almost all of them.

Ford has brought back the legendary 5.0L engine for 2011. Easing into the seat, turning the key and hearing the sweet, deep, burbling sound of 412 horsepower being pushed through the exhaust system is one of life’s true pleasures. Whether going through the gear’s in Mustang’s all-new six-speed manual transmission or letting the six-speed automatic do the shifting for you, the proof is in the driving. We drove through a combination of twisty mountain roads and open highway with the manual transmission-equipped convertible and the 390 pound-feet of torque showed its versatility by conquering all terrains with a minimum of down-shifting.

It doesn’t shy from the competition, either. We raced automatic transmission-equipped Mustangs against Camaro SS (automatics) and the Mustang consistently had a lower elapsed time and higher speed. You don’t have to be a professional race car driver to look good putting a new Mustang GT through its paces.

Mustangs come in other variations and higher-horsepower models but the most user- and road-friendly version is the 2011 GT. Mustang has always been a crowd pleaser but with several new paint colors and decorative themes it draws even more attention.

Oh…and as if to make the joy complete the 2011 Coupe and Convertible with an automatic gets 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway while the six-speed manual Coupe and Convertible gets 17/26.

Base price for the GT coupe is $30,495 including delivery and destination charges.

Do yourself a favor. Work hard, save your money, buy a 2011 Mustang GT and start a mid-life crisis early. The timing couldn’t be better. 

— Al Vinikour