Test Drive: 2013 Ford Mustang V6 Coupe

?Mustang Sally never had it so good??

There may not be as many flavors offered as an ice cream store, but the 2013 stable of Mustangs from the Blue Oval crew still has plenty of flavors from which to choose. There are V6 models in both a coupe and convertible configuration, powered by a 3.7-liter DOHC, 24-valve V6 with Ti-VCT and electronic sequential multiport fuel delivery that makes 305 horses along with 280 pound feet of torque. The V6 connects to a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, with an optionally available 5-speed automatic transmission featuring SelectShift manual shift capability. All mustangs are rear-wheel drive. V8 model ?Stangs come in a variety of models and trims, also available as either a coupe or convertible: First is the Mustang GT with a 5.0-liter four-valve Ti-VCT V8 that delivers 420 horsepower while generating 390 pound feet of torque. Then, there?s the Mustang Boss 302 with a 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V8 that cranks out 444 horsepower and 380 pound feet of torque. How about a 5.4-liter V8 GT 500 with 550 horsepower?

Want more? Go for the Laguna Seca Boss 302, or if you really have the need for speed you could order a Shelby GT 500, the world?s most powerful production V8 that produces 650 horsepower, with a top speed of 200 mph plus, or the new 2013 Cobra Jet Racing Mustang offering a choice of two engine options: a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter Ti-VCT. with Cobra Jet induction system, CNC ported heads, high-lift cams and low-drag accessory drive, or a 2.9-liter Whipple supercharged version with CNC port-matched manifold and heads, and a proprietary 10-rib supercharger drive system for high-rpm use without belt slip. The 2013 Cobra Jet is priced to be the best value, with an approximate MSRP of $86,000 with the naturally aspirated engine option and $93,000 with the supercharged engine. Additional options and pricing will be available. There you have it ? well almost anyway ? there are also varying levels of trim and equipment, as well as color choices to make. Essentially, there?s ?steed for every need?.

Everyone is certainly aware that the iconic Mustang was the first American pony-car from the Ford Blue Oval works. The exterior design evolves with a more muscular, sculpted look, featuring new front and rear fascias, while managing to retain Mustang?s overall styling DNA and heritage. The interior styling has progressed as well, delivering new technology, improved craftsmanship and upgraded materials, while performance improvements include larger wheels, retuned suspension componentry and additional horsepower gleaned from race track engineering experience.

The enhanced, bolder appearance begins up front with the aggressive grille and prominent pony logo. There?s even a glass roof version along with several specialized options and features that provide the opportunity for owners to customize their Mustang to a more personal level.

The rear end styling features aggressively angled rear corners, a sculptured decklid and prominent rear badge, with an available rear-view camera incorporated into the spoiler on some models. The new tail lamp design features LED bulbs firing sequentially from the inside for turn indication. Vertically located reverse lamps created a modern interpretation of Ford?s classic three-lens taillamp. Dual exhaust is standard on V6 models and other improvements include: One touch start, V-6 cold air induction, better clutch and pedal feel, and an increase in torsional rigidity.

My test 2013 Mustang was a Coupe in Premium trim, powered by the 3.7-liter V-6 coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission. There were no paddle shifters or manual shift gate, but it was possible to select lower gears through the gated shifter. The exterior was done in an extremely bright ?Gotta Have it? Green metallic finish with a Charcoal Black leather interior featuring genuine metal trim accents. The base sticker price was set at $26,200 while adding the six-speed automatic transmission; glass roof; Electronics Package with navigation; Comfort Package; V6 Performance Package; and Destination and Delivery charge, bumped the final sticker price to $35,665.

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SUMMARY:? Piloting the 2013 Mustang V6 Coupe is a joy. The transmission and engine are perfectly matched ? one seems to complement the other. Gear steps allow near perfect rev limits, and while the V6 exhaust note isn?t as pleasing as that of the V8 (nor should it be), it manages to deliver a satisfactory note in its own right. The 3.7-liter V6 serves up healthy doses of power in economical fashion. The ride quality is firm, yet compliant and comfortable, providing adequate stability with precise handling quality, with the steering delivering a positive feedback with good on-center feel. The car stays flat and balanced in challenging twists and turns.

Interior fit and finish continue to improve, with unique and esthetically pleasing touches adding to the interior ambience, while noise, vibration and harshness have been minimized for a more pleasant driving experience.

?Ready, Set, Go?? – The 2013 Mustang offers an available innovative app, which provides drivers with instant fuel economy and vehicle performance statistics.

Track Apps is a unique productivity screen delivering performance metrics via an available 4.2-inch LCD screen that measures g-forces, acceleration times in quarter mile and 0-60 mph increments, displays braking times, complete with automatic and count down starts through a drag strip-style ?Christmas Tree? light display. A great app for the race enthusiast.

With the 2013 models, Mustang?s legacy continues to march forward. Should you prefer open air motoring to the closed coupe, add roughly $5,000 for both?V6 and V8 models. The goal of the Mustang team was to improve everything and to compromise nothing, in a ?Do mess with perfection? approach. Bottom-line, the iconic pony car continues to grow into a more refined and capable and FUN ride. Admittedly, the V8 model Mustangs deliver a higher level of power and performance, but the V6 models will likely be the top sellers, given today?s economy, and the automatic transmission is more efficient that human manual shifting. Mustang Sally should definitely be a ?Happy Camper?.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Ford Mustang V6 Coupe Premium-?13?

Base Price:?????????????? ??????????? $26,200.

Price as Tested:??????????? ??????????? $35,665.

Engine Type and Size:??????????? 3.7-liter DOHC, 24-valve V6 with Ti-VCT with electronic sequential multiport fuel delivery.

Horsepower (bhp):??????????? ??????????? 305??????????? @ 6,500??????????? rpm

Torque (ft./ lbs.):??????????? ??????????? 280??????????? @ 4,250??????????? rpm

Transmission:??????????? ??????????? Six-speed automatic with SelectShift capability.

Drive Train:??????????? Longitudinally mounted front engine / Rear-wheel Drive.

Suspension:??????????? ??????????? ??????????? Front ? Independent reverse-L MacPherson strut with ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? 28.6 mm tubular stabilizer bar.

??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? Rear ?Three-link solid axle with coil springs and ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? Panhard rod and solid stabilizer bar.

Brakes:??????????? ??????????? ??????????? Power-assisted four-wheel discs with four-sensor, ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? four-channel ABS.

Tires:??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? Pirelli P-Zero Nero P235/50 ZR18 M&S mounted on ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? 5-twin-spoke alloy wheels.

Wheelbase:??????????? ??????????? ??????????? 107.1??????????? inches

Length Overall:??????????? ??????????? 188.5??????????? inches

Width:??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ? 73.9??????????? inches w/o mirrors.

Height:??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ? 55.8??????????? inches

Curb Weight:??????????? ??????????? ??????????? 3,523??????????? lbs.

Fuel Capacity:??????????? ??????????? ??? 16??????????? gallons

EPA Mileage Estimates:??????????? ??? 19??????????? mpg city / 29??????????? mpg highway

Drag Coefficient:??????????? ??????????? Not listed.

0 – 60 mph:??????????? ??????????? ??????????? Not tested.