Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Ford, Quick Spins I was more than a year removed from my last experience with the Mustang GT and its delicious 5.0 V8 when this new 2014 example rolled up to my driveway recently. Good weather and a planned road trip across the state meant that I would get plenty of seat time in this conservatively specified example, too. In total, I logged about 400 miles in a week of driving - not a lot for some of you super commuters out there, but quite a lot for this work-from-home journalist. The basic formula of the 5.0 has stayed the same for 2014. The 2013 model year saw a number of updates to keep the Mustang fresh until it's replaced with an all-new generation for 2015. So, for its bon voyage tour, the fifth-generation Pony Car has seen only a few modifications: a couple of new paint colors (Oxford White and Ruby Read Metallic), trim and wheel revisions and, sadly, the deletion of the Boss 302 from the Ford lineup. However, while the limited-edition Boss is likely to reappear sometime after the gen-six Mustang makes its debut in 2015, the GT Track Package cars like the one I tested provide at least a partial solution for those looking for hot laps. Driving Notes The 5.0 V8 never gets old. 420 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque are delivered with satisfying linearity, as the Coyote motor spins up to redline far quicker than you'd expect for an engine of this displacement. Sonically rich, with just a hint of a hard edge to the exhaust over 5,000 rpm and a satisfyingly lazy rumble at idle, the soundtrack is pure enthusiast driving pleasure at most speeds. Oh yeah... on the first day I had the car I was reminded that the 5.0 Mustang is fast as all hell, too. Don't let its ubiquity fool you, this is a serious performance machine. The six-speed manual trans is quite substantial, with a positive, metallic click heard when shifting through the range. The gates are nicely spaced and the throws short. I generally enjoy using this beefy gearbox, though when trying for really fast changes - especially downshifts - a lighter, more accurate action would be appreciated. Clutch action is pretty low effort and progressive, and with so much torque that it's simple to get the GT moving - gently or in a cloud of smoke as your taste and situation dictate. As I mentioned, the Mustang I drove was equipped with Ford's excellent GT Track Package. For $2,450, the track pack feels like an excellent value for weekend racers or drivers that might want to upgrade their GT substantially down the road. The options group contains a little bit of what made the Boss 302 cool, in a Bossless model year. (Automobile web editor Evan McCausland quipped to me that the test car I had was, "more of an assistant manager" than a Boss, which is about right.) The most noticeable equipment you'll get if you spec your Stang this way are the larger Brembo brakes and the Torsen helical diff with its more aggressive 3.73:1 rear axle. In a week filled with random quick corners and side-trips to back roads, I can attest that all make the GT feel a lot more sports car-like than less-endowed base GTs. For actual track work, the package's upgraded radiator (from the Boss 302) and engine oil cooler should help keep internals cool, as well. Not part of the track pack, my car also had optional ($1,595) Recaro cloth racing seats. A far cry from the fully stuffed leather chairs I'm used to seeing in media-fleet Mustangs, I ended up falling in love with these Recaros. The fabric they're trimmed with is simple without looking downmarket, and the bolsters help them grip the driver firmly without squeezing too hard at the hips. Even my XL frame was a good fit. I'll admit that after about 150 miles, I was feeling the frame dig into my thighs a little bit - these probably aren't the best road trip seats - but for everyday driving or canyon road bombing, they're superb. On that same road trip, I should mention that I had no trouble hitting the EPA-estimated 26 miles per gallon on the highway... if I set the cruise right around 70 miles per hour. At a more normal (for me) 75 or 80 mph, the econ drops to about 21 on the interstate. In town I was seeing roughly 11 mpg, though admittedly I was keeping the revs high quite a lot to better hear the exhaust. I think the 15 mph city estimate is doable, if you're willing to blandly shift up into fourth a lot. Outside of the great seats, this interior is starting to feel pretty dated. With no navigation screen especially, there's no end to the gray and black plastic you seen in front of you. Accessing SYNC via the standard radio's buttons and knobs is an atrocious way to navigate your digitally stored music, and the voice commands feel utterly unwieldy compared to newer systems like Cadillac CUE. (Dan Roth's, Chris Paukert's and Consumer Reports' protestations to the contrary, CUE feels positively visionary after a week with this low-end, touchscreen-less SYNC.) Both iPhones and iPods were randomly spurned as "not recognized" devices; even after working the time before. And even when I could get my music to play, the sound system managed to sound both underpowered and badly voiced. It's a good thing the V8 soundtrack doesn't get old. 2014 Ford Mustang GT originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 17 May 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Filed under: Etc., Videos So there you are on May 1 minding your own business on the internet when a forum user called "V12Baker" uploads a picture of the engine block above. But you're on the LS1 forum, a site devoted to the legendary V8s made by General Motors, and that's a V12. V12Baker explains that he sliced two LS1 engines and used the pieces to not only make an LS12, but also a V4 with the leftovers. That is probably when, like user "3.8redbird," you write "April Fools day is April 1st not May 1st." But the engine is real, built by a guy named Ray and his partners in a shop in Seattle, WA. Ray said they wanted to make a V12 engine for a plane, and after experimenting with Buick 215 engine blocks they got around to the LS. With a stock stroke and a 4.4-inch sleeve, the result is a 545 cubic inch motor (8.9 liters) that fires like a V16 short of four cylinders. Their first two LS12 builds went into a 3/4-scale P51 Mustang, and a Chevrolet Tahoe two years ago. The Tahoe engine, only the second build, was said to get around 525 horsepower. They now have the parts to make five more LS12s and are refining their technique, working on simpler solutions for the crankshafts - they machined the first crankshafts from a solid piece of steel, but that's crazy expensive. One of the engines is already slated to receive a massive Littlefield supercharger and "might find its way into a long-nosed 240Z." That Z, mind you, will also be getting its own chassis since the decades-old original item couldn't begin to handle the power. Check out EngineLabs.com for more on the build, and a brief walkaround of the engine in the video below. For the long story, the link to LS1 forums is where the story begins - and where you'll discover that the V4 is apparently the perfect size for a Harley-Davidson.Continue reading 12-cylinder 'LS12' will blow your mind, doors off [w/video]12-cylinder 'LS12' will blow your mind, doors off [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 10 May 2013 11:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Performance, Videos, Honda, Mazda, Scion There are very few vehicles available today that compare directly with the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ twins. A case could be made for the Mazda MX-5 Miata, and possibly even six-cylinder versions of American coupes like the Ford Mustang. Pretty much everything else is either too expensive or is powered by the wrong set of wheels. The boys from EverydayDriver on YouTube decided the only fair way to judge the inherent qualities of the Toyobaru twins was to pit them against two standard-bearers of years past: The Honda S2000 and Mazda RX-8. Neither of these cars is an exact matchup, with the Honda boasting a convertible top and the RX-8 offering more practicality via a rear seat and two reverse-opening doors for easier access. What they do offer, however, are similar performance stats and proven reputations for excellent handling. None of this talk answers the real question, though: Which one wins the comparison test? Scroll down to watch the video, and be prepared for something of a surprise conclusion.Continue reading Scion FR-S pitted against oldtimers RX-8 and S2000Scion FR-S pitted against oldtimers RX-8 and S2000 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 07 May 2013 19:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Filed under: Car Buying Sub-prime borrowers are buying completely different cars than everyone else, at least according to data gathered by Carfinance.com. This financing company that specializes in helping "below-prime" borrowers finance their car purchases looked at data gathered from between October 2012 and March 2013. According to their numbers, the top 10 new cars bought by sub-prime borrowers during that time are as follows. Dodge Avenger Kia Forte Kia Optima Chrysler 200 Dodge Journey Ford Focus Ram 1500 Nissan Sentra Nissan Versa Kia Sorento Small and midsize sedans dominate the sub-prime borrowers shopping list, though not the same four-doors as the general public is buying in droves. Whereas the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima are the three top-selling midsize sedans in the US overall, sub-prime borrowers only have eyes for the midsize Dodge Avenger. In fact, the only vehicle that makes an appearance both here and on the list of top 10 selling vehicles overall is the Ram 1500. Speaking of which, the Ram pickup also tops the list of top 10 used vehicles purchased by sub-prime borrowers (below), which also includes fullsize pickups from Ford and Chevy, as well as the lone example of what might be considered a less-than-practical purchase on either list, the Ford Mustang. The list of top used vehicles also shows that buyers are getting more car for their money, moving up to mid- and fullsize cars with nary a compact in sight. Ram 1500 Nissan Altima Ford F-150 Dodge Charger Chevy Silverado Chevy Impala Chevy Malibu Toyota Camry Chrysler 300 Ford Mustang What's the takeaway? Considering this data comes only from a six-month period, and from a single company's set of customers as well, we shouldn't give it too much weight. Still, the lists do suggest what we already expected, that sub-prime borrowers aren't usually buying what they want, but rather what they need.Top ten cars bought by people who probably can't afford a car originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 04 May 2013 14:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
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