POWER SHIFT HERE WE GO…

October 1, 2017 | By Ted Kade

The 2018 Mustang GT will have at least one very distinctive feature. When equipped with the redesigned 5-liter V-8, a new 10-speed SelectShift automatic and customdesigned Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tires, the Ford pony car will be able to travel from 0 to 60 mph in less than four seconds.

That’s right; in the time it takes to read these twelve words…the Mustang will be passing 60.

The engineering behind this responsiveness—Ford says it’s faster than a $94,000 Porsche 911 Carrera—starts with a V-8 that’s rated at 460 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque. (The current model has 435 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft.)

From there the 10-speed automatic transmission (it replaces a six-speed) comes into the picture. It can be set for one of five driving modes— normal, sport, track, snow/wet and Drag Strip.

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Here’s how Ford describes this electronically controlled shifter: “The 10-speed architecture features Ford-patented power-flow and Ford-patented direct-acting hydraulic controls. It’s designed for optimum ratio progression and efficiency, and provides more accurate, quicker upshift and downshift capability. In addition, an all-new electronic control system features real-time adaptive shift-scheduling algorithms engineered to help ensure the right gear is engaged at the right time, including skip-shift and direct downshift capability.”

In other words, select your driving mode and leave the rest to the computerized transmission.

Of the five choices, Drag Strip mode no doubt is the most intriguing of the group. Ford says it “has been designed to provide maximum acceleration and performance for straight-line driving. Drag Strip mode is primarily controlled by the transmission and delivers a significant acceleration boost, eliminating the lost time usually associated with automatic shifting.”

Carl Widmann, Mustang chief engineer, put it this way: “Typically, when you shift gears, you give up time. In Drag Strip mode, the engine torque doesn’t drop when you’re shifting. You get peak engine torque and horsepower straight through thanks to our new Ford-built 10-speed transmission.”

So that’s the secret… lots of power teamed up with computerized, electronically-controlled power shifting.

You remember power shifting. That’s where you shift gears without letting up on the accelerator. It’s something you did in your younger days but then stopped as you became more mindful of the strain it was putting on your car’s mechanicals.

As you probably recall, power shifting was immortalized in that Beach Boys’ classic “Shut Down” wherein they beat a 1962 Super Stock 413 Dodge Dart in their 1963 Corvette with a 327. How they managed to beat a 413 Dart equipped with dual quads and ram induction even if they did have “a fuel-injected engine sittin’ under my hood,” is a question for another day. But as the Dart started to pull ahead the Boys sang “Gotta be cool now, power shift here we go.” Makes you wonder how they’d do against the new Mustang. In fact, it’s too bad that the original group isn’t around anymore. They could’ve recorded “Shut Down II.”

—Ted Kade, Editor