By limiting performance and convenience options, Ford has hobbled the V-6 Mustang. It will make an excellent rental car, though.
With less torque at a higher rpm peak than the turbo 2.3, which makes 310 ponies and 320 pound-feet, the V-6 requires greater footwork from the driver to build speed. Still, it matched the manual EcoBoost version to 60 mph (5.5 seconds) and was only a few ticks slower than the automatic turbo. The V-6’s 14.1-second quarter-mile only slightly trails the four-cylinder. What’s more, the V-6 auto’s observed 22 mpg was about the same as that of the turbocharged Mustangs we’ve driven.
However, Ford won’t let you add the new Mustang’s Performance package unless you pony up $1500 for the EcoBoost mill or buy a GT, which means forgoing a stiffer suspension and the upgraded steering, chassis, and brakes. Also prohibited: 19-inch wheels with performance tires.
The V-6’s Goodyear all-seasons still offer solid composure and are compliant over rough surfaces, and a limited-slip differential with a spunky 3.55:1 final drive is available (our test car had the standard 3.15:1 ratio). But the V-6 lacks the directness and tactility provided by the EcoBoost’s optional go-fast hardware. Lateral grip drops to a still-respectable 0.86 g, and 70–0 stops stretch to 164 feet. Factor in our car’s clumsy automatic, which was quick to reach top gear and slow to downshift even in sport mode, and the V-6 simply isn’t as much fun as the other engines.