2014 Ford Mustang Premium V6 Performance Package First Test
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The V-8-powered Ford Mustang GT may get all the glory, but it's the Mustang V6 that gets the sales. While it's not hard to remember a time when six-cylinder Mustangs were a bit of a laughing stock, the current 2014 Ford Mustang V6 Premium Performance Package is no joke -- even when saddled with a slushbox. With the new 2015 Ford Mustang now stirring hearts and controversy across the web, we thought we'd have one more go in the current Mustang V6.
You should already be familiar with the 2014 Ford Mustang V6's specs, so here's a quick refresher. Our tester is powered by a 3.7-liter V-6 making 305 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Though a slick six-speed manual transmission is available, our tester is equipped with the much-more common six-speed automatic. Our car is also spec'd with the V-6 Performance Package, which fits the Mustang with GT goodies, like its strut tower brace, and with new front and rear anti-roll bars, unique brake calipers, 19-inch wheels with summer rubber, and a more aggressive 3.31 final drive ratio.
Despite being saddled with a sluggish six-speed auto, our Mustang V6 tester still put up some pretty impressive numbers. The 0-60 mph sprint took 5.8 seconds, which makes it the quickest six-cylinder and automatic-equipped pony car, beating the Camaro's 6.1 second time and the Challenger Rallye's 6.4 second sprint. The lighter Mustang also beat out the Chevrolet and Dodge at the drag strip, needing 14.4 seconds to knock out the quarter mile at 98.5 mph, to the Camaro's slightly-slower 14.5 second at 98.2 mph time, and the Challenger's 14.8 second at 94.8 mph time. The Mustang's best 60-0 stop came in 111 feet. When equipped with a manual, the Mustang V6 Performance Package is about a half-second quicker in a straight line.
Not surprisingly, our performance pack-equipped tester also performed well on the figure eight. Its 25.5 second time at 0.74 g average is just a tenth of a second slower than the last manual-equipped V-6 Mustang Performance Package we had in for testing, and a tick faster than the non-track pack equipped Mustang GT. Our Mustang V6 tester pulled 0.92 g average on the skidpad.
Outside the confines of the test track, the 2014 Mustang V6 is quite fun to drive, despite the slow-shifting slushbox. The performance package's short gearing allows the pony car to get out of the hole quickly and helps assure that the driver never feels wanting for more power. Despite the fact that it isn't as fast as the Mustang GT, the V-6 is a real sweetheart that pulls strongly, feeling about as quick as my old manual-equipped 2000 Mustang GT, according to my ever-reliable butt dyno. (Our testing shows that the New Edge Mustang GT maintains a slight performance edge over the current crop of V6 pony cars, though that's sure to change with the 2015 Mustang, which is 200 pounds lighter). That said, there's some room for improvement with the powertrain -- the six-speed auto is pretty dated, with slow, leisurely shifts. Sport mode doesn't seem to do much, other than sharpening throttle response and making the shifts harsher. Shifting manually via the gear lever-mounted rocker switch doesn't help much at all either.
Despite the slow shifts, the Mustang is still a shockingly good performance car, especially considering how much flack previous versions got for being "secretary specials." The Mustang's steering is sharp and accurate, making it a willing companion in twisty canyon roads, and the optional Recaro buckets do a lot to keep the driver in place. The Mustang also hides its 3500 pound curb weight well, inspiring much more confidence during hard driving than the either the V-6-powered Camaro or Challenger.
While six-cylinder Mustangs are traditionally value plays, our tester is somewhat less-so, thanks to its $32,475 sticker price, which is well into Mustang GT territory. Our Mustang V6 Premium automatic wasn't even loaded; the only options were the $1995 V-6 Performance Package, $1595 leather Recaro seats, and the $695 Reverse Sensing and Security Package. If you can live without leather (you can), a similarly-equipped non-premium Mustang V6 can be had for $29,770. Although our tester was priced into Mustang GT territory, it's worth noting that a comparably equipped Mustang GT would cost just under $40,000.
With the next-gen Mustang right around the corner, the current S197 Mustang is a bit of a lame duck. Despite that the Mustang V6 is fun to drive, relatively quick, and if you're stingy with the options, a performance bargain. With the sharper 2015 Mustang keeping the current V-6 and V-8 while gaining a 2.3-liter turbo-4, the pony car is poised to be even better as it enters its next generation.
|2014 Ford Mustang V6 Premium Package|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$32,475|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||front-engine, RWD, 4-pass, 2-door coupe|
|ENGINE||3.7L/305-hp/280-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3530 lb (54/46%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||188.5 x 73.9 x 55.8 in|
|0-60 MPH||5.8 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||14.4 sec @ 98.5 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||111 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.92 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||25.5 sec @ 0.74 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY FUEL ECON||19/31 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||177/109 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS||0.84 lb/mile|