Ford will make the new year a happy one for Mustang faithful by dropping an all-new 5.0-liter V8 into the 2011 GT version of its primal pony car.

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Like the new 3.7-liter/305-horsepower V6 that will seriously energize base versions of the 2011 Mustang, this new "Coyote" V8 employs Ford's sophisticated Twin independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) valvetrain technology to help create a stout 412 horses and 390 lb.-ft. of torque -- huge increases over the current 4.6-liter's 315 and 325 numbers. In addition to opening the door for a whole new round of more interesting heads-up comparos with its archrival, the Chevrolet Camaro SS, this new high-tech double-overhead-cam V8 is projected to deliver a class-leading 25 mpg on the highway when the 2011 Mustang GT goes on sale in the spring.

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Inspired by Ford's legendary 5.0-liter Indy 500 "Coyote" V8 racing engine, this new street counterpart began taking shape in 2007. The original design brief called for an engine that would develop in excess of 400 horses while offering superior reliability, drivability, refinement and fuel efficiency. If that wasn't enough, it also required that the overall development schedule be trimmed by 12 months. Massive numbers of man hours from many of Ford's best engine aces coupled with extensive computer modeling and effective benchmarking led to an all-aluminum 32-valve motivator that's not only far more potent than the engine it replaces -- here as well as in other future Ford products -- but one that's also 20 percent lighter than the previous 5.0-liter engine.

To meet the design goal, virtually every element and functional area was scrutinized and optimized; from maximizing the flow capabilities of the intake and exhaust systems to reducing parasitic drag by employing more efficient activation procedures for the actual Ti-VCT hardware. Functionally, Ti-VCT uses a computerized program to independently vary the timing of the individual intake and exhaust camshafts in a way that optimizes overall output while enhancing economy and lowering emissions, depending on the given driving situation. Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development sees it as the next chapter in the development of the world-class Mustang powertrain portfolio. "It's a thoroughly modern engine for the times, delivering the performance and fun-to-drive factor that enthusiasts want, while improving fuel economy." GT buyers will be able to back this new 5.0-liter with either a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic.

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While the biggest changes to the 2011 Mustang GT are found underhood, Ford engineers also enhanced other key functional areas. Additional sound deadener and improved door seals help trim road and wind noise in all models and the convertible gains additional structural reinforcement that ups its lateral stiffness by 12 percent compared to the 2010 model. All GT models replace the old hydraulic boost with an economy-enhancing Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS) system, offer crisper handling thanks to a new lower rear control arm and stiffened rear-stabilizer bushings, and step up to bigger front/rear brakes, as well. Enthusiasts can further upgrade the mix with an optional Brembo Brake Package than nets even larger Brembo binders from the Shelby GT500 and unique 19-inch alloy wheels with summer performance tires.

Beyond the return of prominent "5.0" badging on its front fenders, the 2011 Mustang GT will be offered in three new exterior colors: Yellow Blaze Tri-Coat, Race Red and Ingot Silver. Inside, its speedometer readout now tops at 160 mph and the tachometer redline rises from 6,500 to 7,000 rpm. Other 2011 GT upgrades include an integrated blind-spot mirror, a MyKey programmable key, a message center, universal garage door opener, and vanity lighting and stow spaces in the sun visors.

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