We have often lamented that we missed out on the days of the biggest, baddest muscle cars by a few decades. The fact of the matter is that we will never again see the kind of insane ingenuity, big block engines, and untold variety of our muscle cars. But without a doubt, today’s muscle cars are not only faster, but better built and more advanced. And the V6 models are ever an increasingly important factory to a muscle car’s success.



CNN ran an article yesterday comparing the new Mustang V6 to the Camaro V6, and we ask the question; how important are the V6 models? Is this recent rivalry a sign of things to come?





The 3.6 liter V6 found in the base Camaro makes 312 horsepower for 2011

Picture: GM




Ford made big news recently when it announced the 2011 Mustang would get two new engines, the 305 horsepower 3.7 liter V6, and the 412 horsepower 5.0 V8. While Ford’s V8 engine came in at ten horsepower less than the Camaro SS, Ford’s V6 beat out the Camaro by a single horsepower. That is, until GM got their V6 engine officially tested by the SAE, which rated the 3.6 liter V6 at 312 horsepower. But the real credit goes to the Hyundai Genesis, which debuted last year and offered pony car power at a base price, and forewent a V8 engine for a turbo four cylinder engine and a bigger V6.



Six cylinder pony cars have traditionally made up a bulk of the sales. They were cheaper both in upfront costs and insurance premiums, while still promoting a sporty image. But the engines themselves, like Ford’s ancient 4.0 liter V6 and GM’s anemic 3.8 liter V6, were often an afterthought. Today’s V6 engines are clearly being built to compete on a higher level, offering comparable horsepower to many V8 engines. But today's car buyers are less concerned with horsepower, and more concerned with fuel efficiency and technology. So as both automakers take up the challenge of providing good gas mileage and high-tech compatibility, will the V8 engine and big horsepower take a backseat?





Ford's 3.7 liter V6 makes 305 horsepower, and can deliver 31 mpg in the Mustang with an automatic transmission

Picture: Ford




It is enough to make us wonder what GM and Ford are planning for their pony cars down the road. The 35 mpg mandate is just six years away, right before both the Camaro and Mustang are likely to receive a refresh (or possibly even an all-new model). Neither car has ever had V6 engines this powerful, and the V8 engines are even more impressive. Is this a last gasp for the V8 as it gives way to a smaller-displacement future? Or will the Big Three somehow find a way to maintain big displacement and still manage to get frugal fuel economy? We can’t wait to find out.




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4 Responses to “V6 Pony Car Wars Hinting At The Future?”

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