Ford’s refreshed 2018 Mustang GT can make the trip to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) from zero in less than four seconds, thanks in large part to the whopping 460 horses that now come standard underhood.
Those acceleration figures now make the muscle-bound machine quicker than its highly revered Shelby GT350 stable-mate, and, as Ford proudly points out, Porsche’s base-model 911 Carrera.
Outside of the bump to 460 horsepower, Ford put to use a few other tricks to squeeze that impressive straight-line performance from its popular pony car: you can chalk that quickness up to a brilliant new 10-speed automatic transmission, stickier tires, and trick “Drag Strip” software.
The Dearborn-based automaker installed the same 10-speed auto in its Mustang GT as is fitted in its off-road heathen F-150 Raptor pickup. Robust and capable of handling drag-strip punishment, the new ‘box trades gears with aplomb and new-found speed, helping to shave critical tenths from the previous GT’s acceleration times.
Ford also equipped its updated GT with custom-designed Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tires, which offer improved traction off the line, thus helping to lay down impressive trap times and speeds.
Turning to the engine bay, Ford heavily massaged its proven 5.0-litre V8, unleashing 460 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque at full song thanks to better breathing, reduced friction, and, if rumours are to be trusted, a higher rev limit.
Regardless of the improved hardware, it will be tough to match Ford’s claimed sub-four-second zero-to-60 time without the assistance of its launch-mode software.
Besides controlling wheel-spin off the line, Ford’s “Drag Strip” mode – one of five drive modes available to the driver, including normal, sport, track and snow/wet – reduces shift times and torque-loss to the drive wheels during shifts.
“Typically, when you shift gears, you give up time,” said Carl Widmann, Mustang chief engineer.
“In Drag Strip mode, the engine torque doesn’t drop when you’re shifting. You get peak engine torque and horsepower straight through thanks to our new Ford-built 10-speed transmission.”
Some of the above is only available on Mustang GTs equipped with Ford’s optional Performance Package—but if that’s what’s required to dust up a Shelby or Porsche’s entry 911, we’re all for it.
Of course, it all comes at a price. While you’ll pay a little less for the entry-level EcoBoost this model year – to make up for the even-cheaper, now-discontinued V6 – the base MSRP for the 2018 Mustang GT is going up quite a bit.
Canadian figures haven’t been revealed, but in the US you’ll pay a premium of $1,900 for a 2018 GT versus a 2017. On this side of the border, the 2017 Mustang GT currently retails for $34,285 base, so expect a figure of $37,000 or better. Still not bad for 460 horsepower.