Ford Mustang GT Manlius NY

See our Web-exclusive photos of the Ford Mustang GT.This car is going to give Mustang a good name, and what a move that is. Long the bastion of youthful exuberance, America's pony car has just smoked the tires 25 years forward to arrive as a fully developed, mainstream automobile, a car appealing to far more than image-crazed youth. Such are the rewards for starting with a completely clear computer screen, a first for any Mustang.

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But, as has always been the Mustang's trick, the new car still cries the siren's call to its core youth audience as both the quintessential muscle car and, if nothing else, the coolest thing to be seen in. So give Ford credit. While improving such fundamentals as wheelbase, weight distribution and interior space, plus boldly exercising its design talents, Ford has not only preserved, but actually distilled the potent Mustang essence-V-8, rear drive, durable, affordable, sporting-into this latest car. The new Mustang is all of that, and adds the chassis and handling prowess Mustangs have so long lacked, plus some unexpected civility. It truly is the first fully rounded Mustang.

Polite or not, so strong is the new car's character that "Mustang" script appears nowhere, thanks to styling drawing heavily from the Mustang's first generation. While tempting to label the look as retro, once you see this car cruising Main you'll agree this is simply what a Mustang looks like. It certainly won't be mistaken for anything else.

As before, the Mustang offerings begin with a V-6 engine, now coupled to either a 5-speed Tremec T-5 manual or 5R55S automatic transmission. Starting at a friendly $19,410, the V-6 car offers 210 bhp and 240 lb.-ft. of torque, enough to sate the 60 to 70 percent of Mustang buyers looking for a sporty runabout. Considering the 4.0-liter sohc 60-degree V-6 is silk sheets smoother than the flannel 3.8 pushrod V-6 it replaces and is 7 bhp and 10 lb.-ft. of torque stronger, the 6-cylinder ought to continue its sales-leading ways. Plus, when optioned with a power driver's seat, Shaker 500 audio and the upgrade 16-in. "spinner" wheels, the V-6 still comes in under $20,000 with a $19,995 sticker.

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