Update: 2011 Mustang V6 gets 31MPG, sets record

Not in the history of automobiles has a manufacturer created a car that produces 300+ horsepower and gets 30+ MPG.  Well, we can’t say that any more.  The 2011 Mustang V6 was recently tested by the EPA and found to get 31 MPG highway when equipped with an automatic transmission, 29 MPG when equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission.  The city MPG for both transmissions is 19.

The reasons Ford is able to squeeze so much horsepower out of the new V6 engine and still get 30+ MPG is three-fold.  Aerodynamics, transmission setup, Electric Power Assist Steering.

The 2011 Mustang has a slightly redesigned front end and special bits designed to improve its ability to slice through the wind, which means less drag, which leads to less resistance when the car’s engine has to push it through the air.  While this doesn’t make a huge difference when the car is going slow, as speed picks up, the car would have to work harder and harder to push through the air around it.

The automatic transmission’s gears are set up in such a way to maximize acceleration at lower speeds, followed by far superior fuel economy at highway speeds.  That’s why the car gets only 19 MPG in the city, and such a high number on the highway.  The manual transmission that can be fitted to the car has the same number of gears, but they are presumably set up for quicker acceleration, which could be the cause of the highway mileage number being lower.

Lastly, the Electric Power Assist Steering, or EPAS.  This technology, which is becoming more mainstream each model year, replaces the old hydraulic power steering pumps with new electric motors.  Hydraulic pumps are run from the car’s engine, meaning that as the engine turns, the power steering pump uses some of that energy to run itself.  This leads to a parasitic loss because of the steering pump.  With EPAS, the car’s electrical system runs the power steering pump, so a slight bump in use of the car’s alternator gives all the power steering boost you’d need to control the car’s direction.  Since the car’s engine no longer has to run the power steering pump directly, more of its power can be used to motivate the car, which leads to better fuel efficiency.

Ford is currently taking orders for the new Mustang, and has received about 11,000 of them so far.  About half of those orders are for the new V6.  Traditionally, about 2/3 of new Mustangs sold each year are of the V6 variety, so it will be interesting to see what a 300+ horsepower V6 Mustang does to change that.  Once Mustangs are hitting showroom floors, you can expect a review right here on Road Reality.

by John Suit

Source: Ford

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