$17,897 - $43,782

2016 Ford Mustang Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Ford Mustang was new.


Performance: 9.0

The 2016 Ford Mustang has a strong engine lineup, athletic handling and a smooth ride, critics say, making it an impressive addition to the muscle car class. The new Shelby GT350 and GT350R models have more powerful engines and other performance-oriented features.

  • "The desirable 2016 Ford Mustang is more civilized than the Mustangs of yesteryear, yet this all-American muscle car retains its trademark swagger and performance." -- Edmunds
  • "How was it to drive the new Mustang? It was surprisingly good. Very good. So much better than any Mustang you've ever driven." -- AutoWeek (2015)
  • "This new car shames the old, redefines the model and gallops far ahead of anything else in the segment." -- Autoblog (2015)

Acceleration and Power

The base 2016 Ford Mustang has a 3.7-liter V6 that makes 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. The EcoBoost model comes with a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 310 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. The Ford Mustang GT has a 5.0-liter V8 that generates 435 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. With all three engines, a six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional.

A Mustang V6 with an automatic transmission returns an EPA-estimated 19/28 mpg city/highway, which is on par with rivals' ratings. The Mustang EcoBoost gets 21/32, which is good for a muscle car, and the GT gets 16/25, which is typical for a V8 sports car.

Reviewers report that the base V6 engine delivers strong acceleration. The EcoBoost engine does as well, critics say, delivering less delay in power than you get with many turbocharged engines. The GT's V8 delivers plenty of power and a great engine note, according to auto writers, and they add that the Mustang's manual and automatic transmissions both shift seamlessly.

  • "Whether you choose the V6, new EcoBoost 4-cylinder or (obviously) the V8, all Mustang models are notably quick. However, it's the last of these that truly sounds like a Ford Mustang should, with an auditory rumble and roar that's pure Americana." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "As is characteristic of such engines, the V8 pulls strongly throughout its rev range. Equally characteristic of small turbocharged engines is a moment of lag time from a full-throttle start before power comes on strongly, but the new EcoBoost suffers less of this than most; in fact, stabbing the throttle while turning left from a stop broke the rear tires loose and sent the tail flying about halfway through the intersection." -- Consumer Guide (2015)
  • "The Getrag-sourced six-speed manual shifts easily and slots into gear quickly, and it feels more polished than before." -- Car and Driver (2015)
  • "The transmission shifts smoothly and the engine is fairly quiet." -- Automobile Magazine (2015 automatic)

High-Performance Trims

The brand-new 2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 has a 5.2-liter V8 engine that produces 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. The GT350 offers a number of performance upgrades, including a stiffer suspension and larger brakes. A six-speed manual is the only available transmission in the GT350.

While still street legal, the 2016 Shelby GT350R is designed to be more track-focused than the GT350, according to Ford. It has further suspension upgrades. It weighs less than the GT350 because its wheels are made from carbon fiber instead of aluminum, and several interior amenities have been removed, including the air conditioner, stereo and rear seats. The GT350 and GT350R share the same engine and transmission. Both models are only available in the fastback body style.

Handling and Braking

The 2016 Ford Mustang comes standard with rear-wheel drive. A number of performance options are available that affect handling, including the Performance Package, which has a stiffer suspension and larger brakes.

According to auto writers, the Ford Mustang feels nimble in corners. Critics also like the Mustang's sharp steering and smooth ride. The Mustang's brakes are strong, reviewers say, though they can be a bit grabby.

  • "Over the bumps, the independent rear not only soaked up every road irregularity it came across but allowed for easier application of power upon exiting. There were many times in corners when we uttered words like 'Superb!' and 'Magical!'" -- AutoWeek (2015)
  • "In both models tested (GT and EcoBoost), the suspensions did a great job of soaking up bumps while still providing flat cornering and fine steering response." -- Consumer Guide (2015)
  • "It's not just the chassis that feels right. The precise steering is electrically assisted, but the sensations are richly analog and not digital." -- Car and Driver (2015)
  • "When it comes to burning away the speed, the brakes are effective, although there's so much bite from the brake pads even with light pressure on the pedal that it's best to be deliberate." -- Automobile Magazine (2015)

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