Ford Motor Company is putting the screws to the competition, revealing the 2018 Mustang GT will hit 60 in less than four seconds in Drag Strip mode. Acting as one of five driver-selectable modes in the 2018 Mustang, Drag Strip mode utilizes the transmission to maximize straight-line performance. Drag Strip mode enhances the Mustang GT’s acceleration so well, it’s faster than a $94,000 Porsche 911 Carrera.
Last year, we sat down with Dave Pericak, Global Director of Ford Performance. Pericak, the subject of the 2015 documentary A Faster Horse, shared with us the vision behind the 50th anniversary Mustang. Carl Widmann, Mustang’s Chief Engineer today, attributes the high performance of the 2018 model to five different elements: Improved horsepower and torque of the redesigned 5.0-liter V8, quicker response times in the available 10-speed SelectShift transmission, and available custom-designed Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tires (Performance Pack).
The fifth element, the aforementioned available Drag Strip mode, is especially worth noting.
“Typically, when you shift gears, you give up time,” Widmann explained. “In Drag Strip mode, the engine torque doesn’t drop when you’re shifting. You get peak engine torque and horsepower straight through thanks to our new Ford-built 10-speed transmission.”
Power & Performance
At the heart of Ford’s pony car since 2011 is the 5.0-liter V8, now with dual-fuel, high-pressure direct injection and low-pressure port fuel injection for increased power and efficiency. Ford engineers worked to achieve robust low-end torque, high-rpm capability, and fuel efficiency. The new 5.0 registers 460 horsepower and 420 lb-ft. of torque; the current 2017 Mustang delivers 435 horsepower and 400 lb-ft. of torque by comparison.
EcoBoost Mustangs see a “boost” as well. The retuned engine packs 310 horsepower and 350 lb-ft. of torque, a 30 lb-ft. gain over the 2017 model. In Drag Strip mode with the Performance Package and the 10-speed automatic, the 2018 EcoBoost Mustang hits 60 in under five seconds. Those wanting more will appreciate this little feature on new EcoBoost Mustangs.
Ford’s new 10-speed is calibrated with a wide-ratio span and specific gear spacing. The arrangement is multifaceted, helping a driver accomplish power, acceleration, responsiveness, and efficiency. Ford utilizes a patented process in which the architecture of the transmission allows for a certain power flow in conjunction with direct-acting hydraulic controls. The design is again multifaceted, allowing for ideal ratio progression, efficiency, and quicker shift times.
A new electronic control system with real-time adaptive shift-scheduling algorithms help ensure the right gear is engaged at the right time. When it comes to Drag Strip mode and its effectiveness, the transmission plays the most vital role.
“Gearing matters,” Widmann said. “And in Drag Strip mode, this car launches better than ever off the line.”
Pricing & Availability
Customers can build and price their 2018 Mustang on Ford’s website. Expect to see the first models at dealerships this fall.
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan.