2011 Ford Mustang V6 Convertible — Flash Drive

The roar of its exhaust note alone makes this ride worth the cost of admission. But when you combine that with aggressive styling and a 300-horsepower V6 engine, you have a match made in heaven, a pure joy to drive. This pony car always has power on tap, and it begs to be driven hard. It’s also practical; I was able to achieve 19 mpg in mixed driving. Though far short of the 30 mpg quoted by Ford, that figure is still impressive. However, while the Blue Oval has improved the Mustang’s interior over previous models, it still contains too much hard plastic for my taste. But after driving this car for several hours, it was easy to forget those faults and focus on the great engine and driving experience that the Mustang delivers. –Joe Chulick

After exterior updates for 2010, the Ford Mustang receives two all-new engines for 2011: a 3.7-liter V6 and a 5.0-liter V8. I drove the V6 convertible with the new base engine, a thoroughly modern 3.7-liter 305-horsepower V6 that severs any ties with Mustangs past. It features the latest engine technologies for performance and efficiency — and it’s rated at 30 mpg highway. This high-performance all-aluminum V6 revs quickly to 7000 rpm with decent low-end torque and has a surprisingly throaty roar at higher rpm. As good as this engine is, I did occasionally miss the additional low-end grunt of a V8, but this car has all the power it needs. The clutch and 6-speed manual transmission are also new and spectacular; the clutch is smooth, and shifting is precise. Ford continues to move this pony closer to a true sports car — add the new 5.0-liter V8 and it may just cross that line. –Mike Meredith

Ford just keeps making the Mustang better and better, and for 2011 this trend continues. Keen to take on the Chevy Camaro, Ford has updated its V6 powerplant to put out 305 horsepower, and the added power is immediately noticeable. Our test car was equipped with the new 6-speed manual transmission, which worked great with the new engine. While the suspension is a little soft, the Mustang is still fun to drive and looks great. The back seat is actually usable and the trunk is surprising large, especially considering that the convertible top folds so nicely out of the way behind the rear seats. However, I wasn’t able to come close to the promised 30 mpg fuel-efficiency mark claimed by Ford. With iconic styling and a price starting around $27K, the Mustang convertible is a great choice for summer fun or everyday driving. –Perry Stern