Tom Wilson
September 1, 2009

Step By Step

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M5lp_0909_04_z 2010_mustang_gt Front_view
Current Mustangs offer intelligent electronic traction control, allowing more yaw angle than is necessary in Sport mode. That makes it the perfect safety net, because unless you make a mistake, the traction control never activates. And you can always turn it off should you need to demo your drifting talents for the camera.
M5lp_0909_05_z 2010_mustang_gt Front_view
Elegant, well-built, and with leather touch points, the '10 Mustang interior is a major improvement and far ahead of the competition. The shifter is just a hair forward and the steering wheel is non-telescoping for long-legged drivers-but that's a Mustang, and everything else is straight comfort. Given the relatively low cowl and large windows, the interior is bright and airy.
M5lp_0909_06_z 2010_mustang_gt Front_view
With a stock engine, add-on screw blower, and a handful of shiny bits, the underhood mainly keeps its factory look. The big blower pulley tells the informed there's plenty more to be had. A pulley change and race gas in the tank could get another 100 hp from this combination on grudge night too. The open-element air filter will never pass Cali smog, but opening the stock airbox will, and provide the same easy going power. Have you noticed how Ford puts adequate paint over the entire engine compartment these days?

The chassis backs up the power with a drum-taut suspension. The ride is stern as a schoolmarm, and you'll notice it over the bumps, but the tradeoff is sharp steering and plenty of grip. Balance, and especially precision, are much better than what we've come to expect from factory Fords, even the S197 variety. The supercharger's weight high over the front end can just be felt, this FRPP car exhibiting a touch more understeer than a standard '10 GT with the Track Pack II option. That's hardly complaining, though, as the Track Pack II cars have no understeer in practical terms, and with the extra power, you're going faster on corner entry and exit, so what's the worry? Only the most snooty cornering snobs will ever notice; the rest of us will stay enthralled for a lifetime.

Given the larger tires, the nicely padded leather steering wheel delivers just the right amount of power assist. Pedal action is equally rewarding. Clutch effort is thankfully low and the brakes powerful with good modulation. Even our favorite whipping boy-the electronic throttle-performed just fine. No doubt, the combination of '10 Mustang and FRPP bolt-ons makes a car that works with you to deliver everything its got.

Daily manners are a lightly mixed bag. If it weren't for the more than occasional whoop up the backside from what felt like overly stiff rebound shock valving, this car could probably qualify for schlepping grandma betwixt hairdresser and podiatrist. Cold starts came with a raucous 2,000-rpm idle that unnecessarily woke the neighborhood and there were some thunks and rattles from the suspension and shifter you'd eventually do something about. But the exhaust was pleasantly present, but no more so, and engine noise muted until called to duty. Of course, there's no faulting the heated seats, SYNC electronics, sophisticated interior design, or even the standard sound system. But ultimately this willing car carries an urgent undertone that's difficult to resist.

And yes, "only" 400 hp sounds like weak tea in this age of 700hp street machines, but that's missing the point. This car is a daily driver sportster that gets with it and could be easily replicated by real-world enthusiasts. Our only real complaint is it still isn't in our driveway.

5.0 Tech Specs
Engine and Drivetrain
Aluminum 90-degree V-8
Cracked powdered metal with floating wristpins
Hypereutectic aluminum
SOHC, variable camshaft timing
Aluminum, three valves per cylinder
Composite shell-welded single-runner, charge motion control valves
Power Adder
FRPP/Whipple twin-screw, 5 pounds of boost, non-charge cooled
Cast-iron exhaust manifolds
Frpp Mufflers
Stock Five-Speed Manual
Rear Axle
8.8-in axle, FRPP limited-slip differential, 3.73:1 gears

Engine Management
Stock with FRPP calibration
Stock coil-on-plug

Chassis and Suspension
Front Suspension
Ford-based MacPherson strut w/FRPP gas-filled struts, FRPP springs
Control Arms
Reverse-L independent MacPherson strut
FRPP, 92-in-lb rate gain over stock, 33mm loweringStruts
Caster/Camber Plates
14-inch FRPP/GT500 vented rotors, Brembo four-piston calipers, Ford ABS
FRPP forged aluminum GT500, 18x9.5-inch
Goodyear Eagle P255/45ZR-18
Rear Suspension
FRPP, 77-in-lb rate gain, 38mm lowering
Ford 11.8-in vented disc, two-piston caliper
FRPP forged aluminum GT500, 18x9.5-inch
Goodyear Eagle P285/40ZR-18