Last week I took a trip up to DirtFish Rally School in Snoqualmie, Washington. I got a hold of the V6 Mustang for a few days so that I could finally check out the pony car everyone loves to forget. Yes, the design is better front to back, yes, the interior quality is leaps and bounds above the previous generation— but that V6 isn’t doing this car any justice.
Granted, it isn’t the worst engine you could be saddled with in a sports car. It has a decent amount of power, though, it’s not nearly enough to get this 3,500 pound coupe up to speed in anything that could be described as quick. Moreover, the engine actually makes a decent sound when giving the throttle a poke. Nevertheless, put the V6 up against the new 4-cylinder EcoBoost, and the V6 just makes the car feel older than it should.
When driving the EcoBoost Mustang, you’re well aware of the turbocharged nature of the engine, as well as just how light the car feels with that option. You can make it dance through turns, a feeling very similar to sports cars half its size. With the Coyote V8 though, the Mustang assumes its perfect persona: a muscle car. The way that it growls and the speedometer climbs well past legal speed limits just makes you feel like you’re in a real performer. It’s how a Mustang should feel.
The V6 option bridges the gap between the sports car enthusiast, and the muscle car enthusiast. A place that no one should ever be. Sure, it is a fine thing to look at, but the car just doesn’t feel as alive as the other two. It just isn’t a sports car with this engine option.
Here’s the thing though: Ford is going to still sell boat loads of them. Why? There are two reasons. First, they are unbelievably cheap to buy and maintain due to the prevalence of the motor in almost every other Ford vehicle. Parts are easy to come by, which keeps maintenance costs low. Secondly, because there are a lot of people out there that just don’t care about having a performance-oriented sports car. I know how that sounds but it’s true. Not everyone wants a barn storming, hell raising supercar that scares women and children. They just want to be seen and look good in it— and that’s what this Mustang offers.
But no matter the product popularity, the V6 Mustang should just go the way of the dodo. Ford would do better for the enthusiast with just the Coyote and EcoBoost motors for the Mustang. It’s what needs to happen in the long run. The EcoBoost is already a faster, lighter, and better engine option in almost every aspect.
Sure, Ford has to get its money’s worth in research and development, but the V6 is available in almost every other Ford vehicle. The Mustang should be a pure sports car; a fact that becomes especially true when you consider it’s lineage. The Mustang needs to have the heart of a sports car rather than that of an asthmatic tortoise.