The truth about the Mustang GT 10 AT PP 401A

No, my keyboard wasn’t stuck nor was i having a seizure while typing the title. There are so many Mustang variations (from the base 4 cylinder up to the V8 Shelby), perhaps even more so than a pedestrian Camry or Accord, that i was being very specific about the Mustang being reviewed here. To decipher, GT =5.0 liter V8, 10 AT=10 speed automatic, PP= equipped with the Performance Package and 401A? obviously that = equipped with the technology package (no? not obvious?)

Specc’d out as such, what we have here is the quickest accelerating Mustang ever made, 0-60 in 3.8 secs and the quarter mile in about 12 seconds at a trap speed of 120MPH. The last part, trap speed of 120 MPH in the quartermile, is truly mind boggling. To put that in perspective the quickest, most powerful Tesla model 3 crosses the quarter mile mark at a trap speed of 114mph, the mighty twin turbo BMW M4 does 119mph and the even mightier Challenger Hellcat with the 6 speed manual and 707 HP (yes, Seven. Hundred. and seven horse power) does… 120mph.

The Term “GT”

The term GT has been bastardized by various manufacturers, mainly for marketing purposes. The origin of the term itself is Italian and stands for Gran Turismo, which when translated further into the Queen’s english means Grand Tourer, or Touring…you get the point. Back then, the 1950’s, wealthy European gentlemen would drive their high end, luxurious sports cars (usually a front engined, rear wheel drive coupe) several hundred miles to compete in a circuit race, then drive the same car home. Hence GT cars where born, coupes capable great track performance yet comfortable and civil enough to be driven everyday. Even today the GT racing series race cars have to be based on actual production road cars.

no Hyundai, putting a “GT” badge on a hatchback does NOT make it a GT

So the Hyundai Elantra GT hatchback? no…just no, that is clearly a blatant prostituting of the GT phrase for marketing purposes. The Mustang GT with the 10AT, PP and 401A?, yes the very embodiment of the GT phrase, in fact, Ford racing cars in the GT Racing series are based on the Mustang. Not only is this Mustang capable of blistering acceleration, it pulls 1 g in the corners too, which puts it in the company of Porsches, Lamborghinis and Corvettes all while providing you with heated and cooled leather seats, a heated steering wheel and navigation. Heck it even has rear seats, although they should be best reserved for little people or people you don’t like (if there are little people you don’t like, then unfortunately they too will be comfortable in the back seats).

Compared to the Hottest GT coming soon (2020 Mid Engine Corvette)

I was at Barnes and Noble the other day reading up on the 2020 Mid engine Corvette and driving back home in the Mustang GT 10AT PP 401A :-), it dawned on me, this here Mustang already has a lot of the key features they were touting about on the next gen Corvette, namely:

  1. Corvette – A full, fully configurable LCD display for an instrument dash…Mustang – check (when you equip the mustang with the tech package (401A) you get a full 12 inch LCD display in lieu of an analogue speedometer and tachometer)
  2. Corvette – A custom “Z” button in which you can save a combination of all your favorite settings, exhaust, suspension, steering etc…Mustang – check, called “myMode” on the Mustang
  3. Corvette – An ultrafast 8 speed automatic transmission with aggressive gearing to help it achieve that blistering 0-60 time they brag about…Mustang – check, and it is actually 10 speeds
  4. Corvette – When equipped with the Z51 performance package the 2020 mid engine Corvette will wear Michelin’s latest Pilot Sport 4S high performance summer tires capable of at least 1g in cornering forces!…Mustang – check (when i got out of the Mustang and checked the tires, sure enough Pilot Sport 4S)
  5. Corvette – 4 piston Brembo brakes front!!…Mustang – checkmate, the Mustang with the PP has 6 piston Brembo brakes front.
looks traditional…
except, you can switch it up
even change the color and yes, it has recorded well over 1g in cornering forces
The fully configurable 12″ LCD instrument cluster, similar to what you get on the $150k Audi R8 and also the mid engine 2020 Corvette
bigger brakes and same tires as on the lastest 2020 mid Engine Corvette, actually same tires on the $150k Audi R8 too…go figure

Even when you look at acceleration, the 2020 Mid Engine Corvette has been touted to do, although no one has independently verified this yet, the quarter mile at a trap speed of 121 MPH, yeah, just 1 MPH faster than said Mustang. Now, i am not beating up on the 2020 Mid Engined Corvette, rather showing just how remarkable this here Mustang is and how under the radar it is, while the Corvette crew is shouting from the mountain tops and breaking the internet to drive sales, the Mustang boys and girls quietly go about about their business and let the car speak for itself… who would have thunk it?

Having just driven the alpha Corvette, the Grand Sport, …and this may sound blasphemous, i wish the Corvette had the Mustang engine. The 5.0 V8 in the Mustang is a better engine than the 6.2 liter V8 in the Corvette, it’s smoother, revs higher, revs faster and sounds much better (and matches the power of the Grand Sport too, although the Grand Sport has more torque). At idle the Corvette V8 literally rocks the car with its vibrations, meanwhile the Mustang engine is as smooth as a Rolls Royce turbine at its peak 7,500rpm (the Corvette revs to a lower 6,500rpm)

how can you tell if a Mustang has the PP?, wheels, functional spoiler and the Quad exhaust tips, so yes that would be the Orange one.

The Wrap up

Looking at Car and Driver’s lightning Lap standings, the Mustang sets a lap time identical to the current Corvette Stingray (as in exactly the same lap time of 2:53.8 and not to be mistaken with the Corvette Grand Sport, THAT, is practically a race car with a ridiculous lap time of 2:47.1), remarkable given that the Mustang is 400 lbs heavier (about 200 lbs heavier than the 2020 Mid Engined Corvette). Even more remarkable when a 600hp BMW M5 is 1.5 seconds slower. Of course the 2020 Corvette is going to be faster, as it should be, but again this just shows how remarkable this here Mustang is.

The comeback kid

Just a few short years ago, Mustangs had fake vents and scoops in the bodywork, terrible interiors and were primarily compared to Camaros. It is the latest Toyota Supra now sporting fake vents in the body work while everything you see on the new Mustang is fully functional. I remember back in the early 2000’s when Subaru and Mitsubishi brought their Evo and WRX STi performance cars over to the US for the 1st time and it heralded a new era of Hatfields vs. McCoys performance competition, the Mustangs of that time? left in their dust, could not even compete. Fast forward to 2019 and the Evo is deceased, the Subaru WRX STi is largely unchanged with pretty much the same performance as back then and the Mustang? now trading lap times with the best Europe has to offer (literally, just google Caranddriver lightning lap standings and you will find a variety of current Mustangs trading times with everything from Lamborghinis to Corvettes ) all while sporting an interior quality close to the best Europe has to offer. Although the price of this particular Mustang has ballooned and now matches the price tags of the best Japan has to offer, however, it is giving you the performance of the more expensive cars Europe has to offer, so you are still getting your money’s worth.

Not a bad place to be

Mustangs had always been compared to Camaros, but so improved was the latest model that decided to put one up against the benchmark of the GT class, the BMW M4…it won.

Baby, you’ve come a long way.

Score: Speed -9, Balance -7, Driving Feel -7 – for a Total score of 7.5

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