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Sports cars redesigned to use less gas

August 6, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Horsepower and fuel economy, you usually don't get both. But now automakers are redesigning sports cars to use less gas.Earlier this year, Ford rolled out its revised 2011 Mustang. The big news for muscle car fans was the return of the so-called 5.0 V-8.

But there's even more significant news for the 70 percent of Mustang buyers who will choose the base V-6 engine -- an all new design with over 300 horsepower and MPG numbers of up to 31.

"There's still going to be a somewhat of a horsepower war. But let's at the same time let's now have it with fuel economy so people can stomach it a bit better," said San Hall, analyst for Auto Pacific.

Ford had to try and trump Chevy's Camaro, which debuted last year with an equally powerful engine and nearly the same fuel economy numbers. The Camaro offers 304 horsepower, so Mustang engineers went for 305.

In the wake of $4 gasoline two years ago, the industry is trying to offer appealing efficiency.

"It helps them with their CAFE standards, you know, their government standards with regards to their fuel economy of their entire fleet, so they need these vehicles that get fuel economy," said Hall

Ford's on a campaign to showcase this newfound combination of power and efficiency. They were even able to get over 48 miles per gallon with the Mustang on a race track, under ideal conditions of course.

These modern sporty cars really are amazing with over 300 horsepower and pretty good gas mileage too. However, there is one area where a 6-cyclinder just can't measure up to an 8, and that's the sound.

And for those who only want that 8-cylinder song?

"The people that really want a V-8 are going to pay the money for the V-8, the people that are really enthusiastic about it," said Hall.

The odd car out of this race for efficiency is the Dodge Challenger. Its V-6 is woefully outdated. But a new engine could be making its way into the Chrysler muscle car soon enough.

Back in the 1960s it was all about horsepower and nobody seemed to care about gas mileage. Today's sporty coupes can brag about both those things.


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