PHR is one of the lucky few magazines to get invited to Ford’s 2011 Mustang 5.0 press junket. And while we’re sworn to secrecy until March 29 not to divulge our driving impressions, they said nothing about giving away the pure facts, so here goes. This morning, we arrived at Camarillo Airport where a huge stretch of tarmac was cordoned off for eighth-mile drag racing. It was clear from the moment we arrived that the 2010 Camaro SS was right in the crosshairs of Ford’s non-Federal-bailed-out gunsights. And while many of us U.S. taxpayers were secretly rooting for the government-subsidized Camaro, the well-represented Mexican press contingent had no such predilection. On deck was the 400-hp six-speed automatic equipped 2010 Camaro, and the six-speed automatic-equipped 2011 Mustang GT with its new-for-2011 five-liter mill making an “official” 412 hp.
Journalists alternately lined up to drive both cars trying different launch techniques, and when the dust settled, every scribe to a man (and woman) had a fistful of timeslips to prove that the Mustang was faster—and by a substantial margin. Yeah, even the Mexicans, who had no “horse” in the race. My best ET in the Camaro was an 8.82 at 83 mph—which turned out to be one of the best for the day. Not bad, but in the Mustang, I managed an 8.62 at 86 mph. In the theoretical quarter-mile—and given the traction limitations of the airport’s untreated surface (and no water and no burnouts allowed)—that’s roughly 13.80 for the Camaro and 13.50 for the Mustang. Other journalists faired similarly. But the plot thickens.
One pair of journalists—rather than go on the “approved” press tour, snuck a 6-speed manual 5-liter off to the Dynojet chassis dyno, where it made 395 hp to the rear wheels (as well as 365 lb-ft of torque). Even with a meager 15 percent drivetrain loss, that number equates to nearly 465 hp at the flywheel. We can’t verify those dyno numbers, but as these cars hit the street, it will quickly become apparent that the Mustang is king of the hill. With a base price of $30,495, 26 mpg, and 250 pounds less curb weight, the Mustang is shaping up to be the winner in other categories as well, but until the embargo deadline, we really can’t say anything else.