SPEC CHECK - 2011 Ford Mustang V-6
Price: from $22,995
Engine: 3.7-liter V-6
Torque: 280 lb.-ft. at 4,250 rpm
0–60: 5.1 seconds
Time was, pony cars like the Mustang outfitted with anything less than a big honkin’ V-8 were sheep in wolves’ clothing: underpowered rides unfit to rock anything harder than some Led Zep down at the dam. With the arrival of the 2011 model, though, the game changes. At long last, even the entry-level ’Stang becomes lust-worthy, thanks to a high-revving V-6 that makes an impressive 305 hp (nearly 100 more than last year’s model), a new wide-ratio six-speed gearbox that’s more fun to flog, and a raft of flat-in-the-twisties suspension upgrades kicked down from last year’s GT. The automatic even rates a combined 31 mpg—comparable to the stultifyingly boring fourcylinder Corolla. Drop that bit of knowledge on Ma and Pop and their demand for a more “practical” ride doesn’t make as much sense. (No matter that you’ll hardly ever drive in the feather-footed manner that would get you 31 mpg.) Just don’t expect to see many of these at the Hertz counter: Too bad, ‘cause there aren’t many rides as fun to beat the hell out of as this one.