Just in: 2011 Ford Mustang GT convertible

Consumer Reports News: July 14, 2010 11:25 AM

Muscle car enthusiasts are a vocal bunch. We caught a lot of flack when we didn't include the Ford Mustang convertible in our last test of drop tops. To plead our case, we were waiting for the new, more powerful V6 and V8 engines to arrive for the 2011 model year. Not surprisingly, these powertrains have been in hot demand; it took several calls to many dealers to find the one we wanted.

It took a bit of hunting to find the right test car, but we think we hit the jackpot with our vibrant "Race Red" pony car. Has there ever been a better color for a Mustang convertible? And with the dual exhausts singing wonderful notes under even moderate acceleration, the wait seems like it was worth it. (See our convertible buying advice and ratings.)

However, our car didn't come cheap. With the six-speed automatic transmission, HID headlights, Comfort Package (which includes heated seats for fall top-down touring), and Shaker 1000 audio system, our pony cost $43,880. The car is pricey, but that's on the low end compared with the other four-seater convertibles (such as the Audi A5, Infiniti G, and Lexus IS) that we've tested this year. (Enthusiasts, take note: We chose the automatic since most convertibles come this way, and we're already testing a GT coupe with a manual.)

How hot is this car? Well, driving over the July 4th weekend, my son and I would say a bit too hot.

It has been particularly hot and humid here in the northeast this month. In a long-distance stint, my son and I were only 30 minutes into our top-down mostly highway drive home after a weekend of fireworks and festivities when we both realized how uncomfortable we were sitting on the black leather seats. When you add the wind buffeting him in the backseat (there is no wind blocker and raising the windows didn't help much) with the scorching 100-degree day, we had to pull over and put the top up.

Normally, you'd think that a sunny summer day would be perfect for a convertible, but the July 4th weekend was simply too hot. Thankfully, the air conditioner blows ice-cold.

Summer's not over, and our evaluation has just begun. We have completed initial studio photography and are putting on some rather entertaining break-in miles now. We'll keep you posted on how the Mustang does as it progresses through our multi-week test program, leading up to the full road test.

Mike Quincy

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