That means you’re likely to end up with the coupe version sporting a six-speed manual and the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine. It’s not necessarily a bad configuration, but it’s not exactly worthy of a Mustang either. The bare minimum is a V8 engine, so what any aspiring Mustang owner should be looking at is the GT. Now, whether they’re willing to invest a further $1.5K in the 10-speed automatic is entirely up to them and how they intend to drive the car.
The manual is definitely the better choice if you like to tear it up on a twisty mountain road or something, whereas the automatic is going to offer better acceleration and more comfortable urban commutes. In other words, for 99 percent of the time, the ten-speed auto would be the rational way to go.
It’s also the better option when racing a Toyota Supra GR. In terms of raw specs, the Japanese sports car doesn’t stand a chance against the Mustang’s brawn. It gets a turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six engine producing 382 hp and 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) of maximum torque, which, on its own, is a great little engine, but pales in comparison to the GT’s V8.
We probably all know these numbers by heart, but here they are once more: 5.0-liter displacement, 460 hp output, and 420 lb-ft (570 Nm) of maximum twisting power – significantly improved numbers across the table for the Mustang. The GT also has the ten-speed automatic, as we’ve already established, going up against Supra’s eight-speed box from ZF.
If we were to stop here with the specs, the Mustang would be a clear favorite: more power, more torque, more gears. However, there is one more important metric to be considered, and that’s the weight of the two cars. While the Mustang is nowhere near as heavy as it says in the clip’s overlay (they quote 4,550 lbs, when in fact the curb weight of the GT Convertible with the ten-speed auto is 3,932 lbs (1,783 kg). However, that’s still a great deal more than the Supra GR that weighs in at under 3,400 lbs (1,540 kg).
The performance gap between the two becomes apparent from the very first race. With both cars in normal (or comfort mode), the standing race has only one comfortable leader from start to finish, and that’s the Supra. Putting them into “sport” mode and switching off the traction control doesn’t change anything. In fact, the Supra driver is so relaxed about the race that he mistakenly lifts off too early, essentially granting the Mustang the win, but we all know it wasn’t deserved.
Another race in the same configuration sees the Ford Mustang finally having a better start, but that second it was in front was the only one throughout the entire confrontation between these two. The Supra instantly gets in front and stays there. It looks as though the Mustang was indeed pulling back toward the end, but not very convincingly.
The 30 mph (50 kph) roll race doesn’t exactly bring the V8’s redemption, as some might have thought or hoped. The first race finishes impossibly close – you quite literally can’t tell which way it went even if slowing YouTube playback to a quarter of the regular speed.
The same race but with manual shifting reveals another problem that might have plagued the Mustang during the other races as well: its driver. Drag racing may seem very straightforward and, to some degree, it is, but that doesn’t mean a little experience can’t do a great deal of good. And the talk the two drivers have after the race all but confirms our hypothesis: the Mustang was in fourth gear before the start and tried to double-downshift, hence the tiny hesitation that allowed the Supra to win comfortably.
At the end of the day, though, these races are probably more of an advertisement for turbocharging than anything else. Not only do you get a lot of power from a smaller (and lighter) engine, but the delivery is very important too: you get the max torque earlier and for a wider rev interval, and that can be enough to put you in front right from the start.