Ford's new powertrains for the 2011 Mustang have reignited the love affair judging by the early order rates. Nearly 11,000 Mustangs have been ordered since order banks opened in late January. Already, three times the orders have been received than for the 2010 model in its first month.

Photos: Ford

According to Ford, Fifty percent of the 2011 Mustang orders are for V-6 models, which feature a new, high-performance, all-aluminum Duratec 3.7-liter dual overhead-cam, Twin Independent Variable Cam Timing (Ti-VCT) engine. (Phew!) The new engine delivers 305 horsepower, and an expected EPA fuel efficiency of 30 mpg on the highway – a 25 percent improvement versus the 2010 model. This level of power was previously seen on the 2003 Mach I special edition Mustang. The Mach I used the 32-valve Cobra engine as a base, but came nowhere close in terms of gas mileage. No wonder 2011 Mustang V-6 order levels are up 19 percent compared to last year.

A special edition Mustang Club of America (MCA) package is new for 2011 V-6 models and has generated three times more orders than expected. Similarly, orders for the California Special series – which is available on the Mustang GT and harkens back to the original 1968 feature vehicle – are triple the forecast rates.

Overall, 41 percent of new orders are for Mustang GTs, 50 percent are V6s, and the remainder are Shelby GT500s. Navigation is specified on 18 percent of orders. High-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps are on 26 percent of vehicles, while rear-view cameras are on 10 percent – all up from 2010.

The Mustang GT's modern 5.0-liter four-valve, Ti-VCT V-8 engine delivers 412 horsepower and 390 ft.-lb. of torque. At the same time, fuel economy of 25 mpg highway is projected to be better than the previous model, and unsurpassed in the segment. The 550 horsepower engine in the GT500 has also improved fuel economy, to the point that the gas guzzler tax no longer applies.

"Fuel economy ranks among the top two reasons people choose vehicles," said Steve Ling, North America Car Marketing manager. "With the 2011 Mustang lineup, we've found a way to offer even better fuel efficiency for V-6, GT and even Shelby GT500 performance drivers – while improving performance. And consumers are responding."

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