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L.A. Auto Show: Ford unveils 305-horsepower, 30-mpg V-6 for 2011 Mustang

December 2, 2009 |  3:19 pm

The baby in Ford's Mustang stable is growing up. 2011_Mustang_V6_01_lr

For the first time, Ford showed off a new 305-horsepower, six-cylinder engine for its entry-level 2011 Mustang today at the Los Angeles Auto Show

The all-aluminum, 3.7-liter engine will produce an estimated 30 miles per gallon on the highway when teamed with the Mustang's new six-speed automatic transmission and fully redesigned air-intake system.

The new powertrain, Ford is saying, will serve up the best fuel economy in its class -- whose other members are essentially the Chevrolet Camaro, the Dodge Challenger and the Hyundai Genesis.

The current 4.0-liter V-6 Mustang engine is a cast-iron block pumping out a lackluster 210 horsepower,  while the Camaro's base powertrain -- a 304-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 with a six-speed transmission -- has been a huge hit for Chevy, which brought back its pony car for the 2010 model year.

2011_Mustang_V6_06_lr The new engine brings the bottom-of-the-line muscle cars back on an even level of performance, horsepower-wise, and could bring attention to the six-cylinder 'Stang that most enthusiasts save for the V-8 Mustang GT.

As fuel economy becomes more important nowadays, sometimes at the sacrifice of speed, any V-6 delivering V-8-like power should be welcome news for muscle-car fans.

The new V-6, when paired with the new automatic transmission, will deliver 19 miles per gallon in the city, 30 on the highway, up from the current 16 city and 24 highway on the 2010 model with an automatic.

A six-speed manual transmission is also being offered for the 2011 V-6 Mustang, knocking mileage down by one mile per gallon, both city and highway. The Mustang GT's firmer suspension will also be available as an option on the V-6.

Another eco-minded feature from the new engine is a die-cast aluminum deep-sump oil pan, which Ford says will provide 10,000-mile oil-change intervals. That should add up to a few bucks saved on oil maintenance.

All of this leaves car lovers with the obvious question, What about the big-brother Mustang GT?

Rumors have been circulating for months that an all-new 5.0-liter engine, making about 400-or-so horsepower, could be sitting under the GT's hood next year. But Ford has yet to unveil any such engine for the next Mustang GT.

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Photos: The 2011 Ford Mustang V-6 (top) and its 3.7-liter, six-cylinder engine. Credit: Ford Motor