I have long stayed away from comparing Mustangs to non-Fords in the pages of 5.0&SF because I don't think we can really be fair about it. If we pick the Mustang, that's expected. If we don't, we are traitors.
Well, it seems that the magazines charged with fairly comparing cars can't really do it either. Our own sister magazine, Motor Trend, recently compared the Ford Shelby GT500 with the new Dodge Challenger SRT8. Despite the fact that the GT500 put a half-second and 6 mph on the Challenger in the quarter, and bested the Challenger in nearly every one on MT's statistical comparisons (only taking 1 foot longer to stop from 60 mph), the MT writer seemed to favor the Challenger because of its independent rear suspension. If the writer had simply said the Challenger is new, and I like the styling, I could at least respect the honesty.
However, I had to laugh when I read it, because the mainstream wine-and-cheese press has long showed a disdain for the Mustang. They freely put the latest Mustangs on their cover to sell magazines, but pan them inside because they aren't BMWs or Corvettes. MT isn't alone, its competitors outside our company do the same thing.
The funny thing is, most of these guys would never own a Mustang, even if it had IRS. Moreover, those inclined to buy Mustangs prefer the car to have a solid axle. Those of us in Mustang land know the only advantage to the IRS is a bit of ride quality. A Mustang can be tweaked to go around a road course pretty well with a solid axle, but hitting the strip with an IRS is a challenge.
What really put the icing on the cake of this story is that the writer said that the supercharger made the GT500 sound like a toy. Well, all of you know I own a GT500, and I think one of the coolest things about the car is the sound of the supercharger. I have long loved the sound of Terminators and Lightnings, and this car follows in that grand tradition. Better yet, i've heard that Dodge is hiring engineers to work on a supercharged Hemi program. I guess they like toys too.
Anyway, as I once told a newspaper guy that asked the age-old solid axle question at a press event: "The only people that want an IRS in a Mustang work and Car and Driver and Motor Trend. Mustang people like the solid axle."
I'd take my "toy" GT500 with its "archaic" three-year-old chassis over that 4,137-pound tank with IRS any day.
How about you? You can check out the full Motor Trend story by clicking here.