For die-hard Mustang fans (and we know there’s lots of ‘em), rolling out of the holidays into a new year probably never looked better with the return of an all-new Ford Mustang 5.0.

The last time the Mustang line-up included a “5.0” was in ‘95 before Ford moved to a 4.6-liter for a higher performance V8.

Santa’s better late than never right?

The new 5.0 part of Ford’s 2011 Mustang lineup features an all-new advanced 5.0-liter V-8 engine delivering more than 400 horsepower.

To be exact, the 5.0-liter four-valve Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) V-8 engine in the new Mustang GT will deliver 412 horsepower and 390 ft.-lb. of torque.

More impressive is that all that power comes with fuel economy numbers projected to be better than the previous model.

“This all-new 5.0-liter engine is the next chapter in the development of the world-class Mustang powertrain portfolio,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. “It’s a thoroughly modern engine for the times, delivering the performance and fun-to-drive factor that enthusiasts want, while improving fuel economy.”

The Mustang team began developing the 5.0-liter engine with the objective of delivering 400-plus horsepower, on a timetable accelerated by 12 months with a focus on not compromising anything in areas like reliability, durability, fuel economy, or the basic feel of the vehicle.

“Nearly all of the team members have worked on other high-profile powertrain programs,” said V-8 Engine Programs Manager Mike Harrison. “They all had a clear vision of the work required on their particular component or subsystem. Their passion for engines, racing and delivering every last ounce of performance throughout the engine speed range really demonstrated that they put their heads and their hearts into this powertrain.”

Development test engines and benchmarks included 5.0-liter blocks, employing different bore and stroke measurements, GT500 four-valve-per-cylinder heads and cams, various intake manifold runner configurations, differing compression ratios and a deep-sump oil pan. The team also evaluated Ford Racing’s 5.0-liter “Cammer” V-8 crate engine for transferable best practices.

A critical element in the 5.0-liter V-8’s ability to deliver 412 horsepower, with improved drivability, tractability and fuel economy over the 2010 Mustang GT powertrain, is enhanced Ti-VCT.

The speedometer increases to 160 mph and the tachometer redline advances from 6,500 to 7,000 rpm

Fuel economy? An estimated 25 mpg highway and 17 in the city for the six-speed automatic transmission on the 2011 Mustang GT, which is up from 23 mpg highway and 17 city for the 2010 model. The six-speed manual transmission Mustang GT models for 2011 are projected to deliver, matching the 2010 model.

A Brembo brake package upgrade will be available for serious enthusiasts. The package includes 14-inch vented front discs from the GT500 Mustang, unique 19-inch alloy wheels and summer performance tires.

The new “5.0” features a number of cool Ford gadgets, including standard message center, integrated blind spot mirrors, MyKey programmable vehicle key, illuminated visors, a universal garage door opener and SYNC hands-free technology, which we feature Wi-Fi in the next generation.

You would’ve had a tough time pulling that off in your old “5.0” considering the first wireless network had just been built a few years before Ford stop making the engine for the pony car back in ‘95.

Three vibrant new colors will be added for 2011 including Yellow Blaze Tri-Coat, Race Red and Ingot Silver.

Styling details also include a new engine cover and of course, those legendary “5.0” badges.

The new 2011 Ford Mustang 5.0 goes on sale Spring of 2010.

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