2011 Ford Mustang V-6 Does 776 Miles--On One Tank

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Mustang 1000 Lap Challenge

Mustang 1000 Lap Challenge

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Forty-eight-point-five miles per gallon.  It's an impressive figure. A little better than the numbers we got in a week of commuting in a Honda Insight last year, in fact.  But this number comes not from a little fuel-sipping hybrid that shuts off at stoplights.  No, this was a pavement-rippling muscle car putting out more than 300 horsepower.

The car in question was the 2011 Ford Mustang V-6.  Ford is marketing the car as the first 300-plus-horsepower V-6, and proof that you don't have to concede to wasting money on fuel and leaving a gigantic carbon footprint behind you in order to own a car you've lusted after.

In an attempt to prove the point, Ford brought a six-speed Mustang V-6, and a team of five drivers to Tennessee's Bristol Motor Speedway.  They aimed to complete 1,000 laps (533 miles) on one tank of gas, but that turned out to be too easy a goal.  The tank finally ran dry after 776.5 miles -- 1,457 laps of the track.

Of course, this doesn't mean you can scrap your plans to buy an Insight and just plan to get 44 mpg out of a pony car going back and forth to the office.  Ford's test was a bit of a publicity stunt, representing conditions even the most dedicated hypermiler could never hope to achieve in the real world.

There is a point, with every car, where aerodynamics and drag, weight and propulsion balance out at near ideal levels, and a car is at its most efficient.  Manufacturers generally aim for a range between 55 and 65 mph for peak efficiency, but the demands of a retro-inspired body lowered that, in the Mustang's case.  The drivers maintained a steady speed of approximately 43.9 mpg on the smooth, traffic-free asphalt.  They kept the engine speed low, the A/C off, and stopped only to change drivers.  In real-world driving, Ford estimates that the V-6 'Stang should manage 19 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway.

So the real story here is not that a muscle car managed almost Prius-like mileage.  That was just a stunt, and a V-6-powered Camaro could likely put up similar numbers.  No, the real story is that Ford is marketing the Mustang on fuel economy.  If you've ever needed proof that we were moving toward a day when all cars were green cars, just look at that -- even the engineers behind classic nameplates associated with monstrous V-8 power and a devil-may-care attitude toward environmental responsibility now find it necessary to stage publicity stunts to burnish their green credentials.

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Comments (8)
  1. While I'm not an American car guy, I greatly respect this. This is proof that fuel conservation has more to due with political handouts than technology. I highly doubt this effort just miraculously occurred over night.

  2. Very impressive number 776miles are something even I could not cover (unless I try really hard) in a weekend.

  3. Well Ford IS NOT THE FIRST 300+ HP V-6, my 2010 Camaro was, Ford is a copy cat, and my Camaro will blow it away they will never overtake the Camaro with that old re-hashed Mustang ugh, better get your facts straight about the first 300 HO V-6, and by the way I got 32.7 mpg on the highway with my Camaro

  4. Say what you want to about the Camaro being better than the Mustang. Fact is, Camaro will never be as popular as the Mustang. I've got an '06 Mustang GT, and if I was going to get a 2010 car it would be a Dodge Challenger. They look better than the Mustang or the Camaro. I'm sure the Challenger isn't the Legend the Camaro is either, but it's still a sweet ride.

  5. Oh, by the way, your Camaro was not the first 300hp V6, there were others. The Ford Taurus has 365hp. That probably will outrun your Camaro and the Mustang.

  6. Hey Jim your a moroon STOCK 300+ HP V-6 and I am sure if they tested it on the HWY it would get better than the ESTIMATED 31 MPG HWY I mean come on they estimated it would only get around Bristol 1000 laps it did that with ease

  7. Jim
    Calm down, the article got it wrong. Ford is not marketing the Mustang as the first 300hp V6. Ford is marketing it as the first 300+hp V6 that ALSO gets more than 30MPG highway. Your camaro does not do that, and it also weighs more. So quit whining, and quit talking about blowing anyones doors off with your pathetic mullet mobile.

  8. Uh, nice to see the improved mileage, although 19 in the city is still atrocious even w/ the HP. As for truly atrocious, how about guy after guy here arguing about which American car was the first to reach 300 HP w/ a 6-cylinder. Uh, no, it's not your 2010 Camaro or Mustang, guys... Acura has done it in the TL for years & Infiniti gets 330 HP from a 3.7 L 6-banger... Cadillac does it too...
    Chris, the standard Taurus does not have 365HP, that's only the SHO performance version, which has a turbocharger and isn't N.A., so bringing it into the conversation is misleading.

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