DETROIT — As the weather cools and drivers put away their summer tires and dreams of muscle car glory, Ford and Michelin provide cause for hope: The fastest ever Mustang GT is coming for 2018, thanks to a quick-shifting new transmission and sticky performance tires.
The 2018 Mustang GT will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds, the kind of quickness usually associated with super cars like the $119,000 Porsche Carrera GTS and $121,900 all-wheel-drive Jaguar F-type SVR.
The 460-horsepower, 5.0-liter V-8-powered 2018 Mustang will be in dealerships shortly. Prices start at $35,095. The 10-speed automatic transmission _ already available on the F-150 pickup and Raptor sport truck _ adds $1,595. The super-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S summer tires are part of a $3,995 performance package that also includes Brembo six-piston front brake calipers, a Torsen limited-slip rear differential, heavy duty springs, brake rotors and more.
Michelin PS 4 tires are usually seen on supercars and have staggered widths _ the front tires are narrower than the rear. An electronic drag mode that eliminates wheelspin and manages engine rpm is also part of the package that lets the GT hit 60 mph in less than 4 seconds.
Michelin and Ford developed the tire’s materials and tread patterns specifically for the Mustang. Like most high-performance summer tires, they’re not for year-round use. Ford does not recommend using them when the temperature falls below 45.
The Pilot 4 S tires will also be available on the 526-horsepower Mustang GT350, which uses a unique flat-plane crank 5.2-liter V-8. Despite being more powerful and offering the Michelin tires, the GT350 will not be faster than the GT to 60 mph. That’s thanks to the 10-speed automatic transmission, which is faster and more efficient than the GT350’s six-speed manual.
The Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger are locked in a performance battle unlike anything since the 1960s height of muscle car mania. The 840-horsepower Dodge Demon has bragging rights for absolute power and acceleration, while the Mustang and Camaro slug it out over the best combination of acceleration and handling.
Mark Phelan is the Detroit Free Press auto critic. He can be reached at email@example.com.