MotorTrend Comparison: 2011 Ford Mustang GT vs. 2011 BMW M3 Coupe

BMW M3 | August 24th, 2010 by 40
2011 mustang gt 2011 BMW M3 front end

BMW M3 vs. Audi RS5….BMW M3 vs. Mercedes C63 AMG….BMW M3 vs. Cadillac CTS-V. And the list could continue. What these cars have in common? …

BMW M3 vs. Audi RS5….BMW M3 vs. Mercedes C63 AMG….BMW M3 vs. Cadillac CTS-V. And the list could continue. What these cars have in common? A lot of things and therefore automotive journalists have been having a field day comparing them in the past few years.

Therefore, we have nothing but admiration for the folks at MotorTrend who stepped out of their comfort zone and planned a head-t0-head showdown between the 2011 BMW M3 Coupe and the same year’s Ford Mustang GT.

Did we mention it was all done on the race track?

Despite losing to the M3, we have to hand it out to Ford, the GT is a true contender and an exceptional sporty car.

Let’s have a look at an excerpt from MT’s review.

2011bmwm32011mustanggtr 655x409

“Now are you high or just stupid? An M3 against a Mustang GT? On a racetrack? Seriously, son, which one is it? High or stupid?”
Yes, we know how this sounds. And had we suggested this matchup just a few months ago, we would deserve more withering scorn than can be found in a week-long Judge Judy marathon.
Why? Because this Munich versus Motown matchup has never been done before. Not even considered because it just didn’t make sense. Sure, the M3 went V-8 in 2008, but that’s not the issue. The truth is, the Mustang GT was never good enough to challenge Bavaria’s finest. That is, until now.

2011 BMW M3 coupe 2011 mustang GT front ends 2 655x409

Your doubt is understandable, but check the specs. For 2011, both rear-drive, four-seat coupes use all-aluminum V-8 engines with double-overhead camshafts tickling 32 valves. The M3’s 4.0-liter carryover makes 414 horsepower at 8300 rpm and 295 pound-feet of torque at 3900 rpm. The Mustang’s all new 5.0-liter V-8 cranks out 412 ponies at 6500 rpm and 390 pound-feet at 4250 rpm. But the most compelling number is 0.2: the difference in power-to-weight ratio between the two. The Mustang carries 8.8 pounds per pony to the M3’s 8.6. And yet, at the test track, the 5.0 equals or betters the M3 in every performance category we measure. Both hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, but the Mustang is faster to the quarter mile by a tenth of a second and 0.7 mph-12.7 seconds at 111.6 mph. It also stops two feet shorter from 60 mph-a tie as far as we’re concerned-and the GT really shatters the M myth on the skidpad. America’s original ponycar manages to outgrip one of Germany’s most iconic sports cars to the tune 0.2 second through our figure eight and by 0.01 g in lateral acceleration.


For the definitive answer, we go to Randy’s times: 87.67 seconds in the BMW to 87.76 seconds for the Ford. That’s right, the difference between the fastest laps of the M3 and Mustang GT is, literally, less than an eye blink: 0.09 second, to be exact.


Did you blink and miss the M3’s onionskin advantage over the GT? Here’s a hint: It’s in the chassis, not underhood.

Never has a loss felt so much like a win. From not once considered to full-blown contender, 5.0 officially puts the world on notice.

Full review and photos at MotorTrend

40 responses to “MotorTrend Comparison: 2011 Ford Mustang GT vs. 2011 BMW M3 Coupe”

  1. Laszlo says:

    been telling people all year, performance bargain the Mustang GT. I’m actually surprised that it lost. I would have bet that it will come out on top by a very small margin. Then again, if you compare the prices, the GT wins hands down. 2 to 1 actually, as in you could buy 2 Mustang GT from 1 BMW M3’s price :-)

    • Daniel Hoang says:

      Its like the comparo between the CTS-V and the E63 AMG. The CTS-V preformed very well against the E63 but the E63 won mainly because of the higher quality of its materials.

    • Shincai says:

      As a BMW enthusiast I would never buy the Mustang.
      I don’t care how cheap it is.
      If I really wanted to buy an M3 I would save money for years just to have one.
      I wouldn’t feel good in the Mustang don’t care how fast it is.

      • XC says:

        As much as I agree with you, and being a BMW fan for years, I don’t discard Mustangs as easily; you see, Mustangs have their own aura, like it or not, and Mustang owners till now didn’t really care if they could beat BMWs or not (aside from the fact that you actually couldn’t). You are a Mustang fan because you like its performance to price ratio or because you like its history and soul. (Vintage Mustangs are a lot sexier than vintage BMWs, to say something). I know because I owned one years ago, and I still have fond memories of that car. I feel somehow glad that Ford has upped its game with this new 5.0. Anyway, BMW is in another league in terms of quality and technology, and it would be hard for me to ‘go back’, so to speak, to Mustangs, but we can deny that this new car is a winner in its own scale, so much it can now be compared to such formidable competition.

        • XC says:

          (CANNOT, that is). In conclusion, Mustangs are Mustangs and will always be, and this is the best Mustang ever… but BMW M3s are in the automotive pantheon.

          • THa’ts a fair statement. I think that people shouldn’t dismiss the Mustang. While I wouldn’t compare the two (a $20k pricing difference between the two buys you a bit more kit) I think that Ford has made some great strides in the last few years with design, aesthetic, and performance and the new Mustang carries a lot of those qualities.

            However, someone shopping for a Mustang is probably not going to consider a BMW and vice versa. Both great cars but certainly made for very different market segments.

          • XC says:

            Other thing to consider is that most Mustang owners (not all, of course) buy Mustangs because is within their budgets… now, isn’t it great to get M3 like performance for 25+K less? I you were shopping for a performance car within that 40K budget, and as much as you can consider BMW a better, upper, premium brand, et al, a Mustang GT 5.0 is as good as it gets for your dollar… Ford is actually sticking to its own Mustang original philosophy, to offer bang for the buck ‘european like’ style and performance. In that sense Mustangs offer just that. And is A remarkable achievement from Ford.

            Now, would I buy a Mustang GT 5.0 instead of a BMW M3? No.

            BMW M3 is a true icon, a benchmark.

          • Jjacona says:

            A person should buy a mustang just because it gives you the biggest bang for your buck and you dont have to get riped of by the germans an you cand be a true blue american and not a wana be BMW M3 move over its Mustang time you lost  

          • XC says:

            (For those who don’t know the meaning of ‘pantheon’, confusing the term with ‘cemetery’)

            The collective gods of a people, or a work treating of them; as, a divinity of the Greek pantheon.
            A temple dedicated to all the gods; especially, the building so called at Rome.

  2. Daniel Hoang says:

    Step up your game BMW, America’s taking the crown. Ford just proved that a muscle car can now preform on par with the more exotic competition while being more fuel efficient, reliable, and cheaper.

    • kcsnyud says:

      Just wait for the new m3

    • SEAN says:

      i think its ford that IS stepping it up to BMW’s level, not BMW stooping to ford’s level… im the biggest fan of bmw cars i know, im not a ford fan but gotta give them credit if they’ve made a car even comparible to the M3.

  3. Bryce says:

    You could buy a GT500 for $10,000 less than the M3. Of course, it’s not going to drive like a BMW but if the GT kept up with the M3 then I bet the GT500 would beat it.

    • Daniel Hoang says:

      Personally, I think the GT is better than the GT500. The GT500 is good just on the stript but it wont turn well because the suspension is just too weak for the 550hp.

      • Laszlo says:

        u coul buy 2 GT from 1 M3 ! The VOlvo S60 is crap and will be crap. I read the stats and early tests. Much better then the before but still far away from the best Germans and from Ford Mustang GT.

        The Mustang GT for 32k is the best performance vehicle. A real 2+2 , as even the back is somewhat comfortable for kids/small adults and sure quality is not BMW level, but not half the money bad either. The 2011 model looks much better then previous years, looks even better then the 2010 model. Ford really outdid itself with the Mustang. The V6 Mustang isn’t a bad choice either, easily in level with anything almost twice as expensive. A 335i is the actual competitor with around 300HP for both. A V6 mustang can be purchased for about 22k-26k and then 335i Coupe starts at where ? 42k ? not quite half the price but significant difference, and neck to neck performance and handling.

        Now Ford has to come up with a 4 door Mustang and Station wagon mustang and a SUV Mustang… well not a Mustang but you know what I mean, a vehicle that is real competent in its segment. If they can do it with a Mustang, they might be able to do it with all.

  4. I love the M3 :))
    Can’t wait for the new one!

  5. 1Mc says:

    Would rather start a conversation about turd consistency at a meeting than turn up to work in that Mustang.

    It’s a redneck car, keep it. The M3 has it all.

    • XC says:

      No need to be rude. Some other people think that M3s are parvenu’s cars (like Clarkson).

      Unfair tag for a piece of fine machinery that classify you in a snap.

      And I simply do not agree.

      • 1Mc says:

        Wasn’t being rude. I was stating a fact. Given the choice between turning up to work and having people see me in that Mustang, or having a conversation with colleagues about turd consistency – I would personally choose to have a conversation about turds.

        These two cars may have similar specs, but they’re tailored towards people on different rungs of the evolutionary ladder.

        • Bobby says:

          Only a poser douchebag would equate his car to his “status” in life. You are a true douchebag, nobody cares what car you want or drive. Empty headed loser.

          • XC says:

            Agree, the gentleman inside makes the car, not the other way around.

          • 1Mc says:

            You’re right. I don’t even agree with myself on this one. I only buy cars I enjoy driving and quite like controversial choices.

            I have the luxury of not having to care what the office think of my car either as I run my own business, I just made that stuff up earlier. If I wanted a pink Mustang, I’d have one.

            I just like to wind up the occasional American every now and then though ^^

  6. Babken says:

    Nothing beats the M3.

    • kcsnyud says:

      A Bugatti Veyron does.

    • Stephen says:

      A V-8 Mustang came within 0.09 seconds of beating it. I’ve owned 3 generations of M3s and this is what I’ve been expecting for years. BMW M has been too busy making SUVs and lost sight of the cars that were flanking their poster child.

  7. belenkas says:

    Stephen –
    But BMW is still the best in it’s class,no mercedes or audi beats it,so that means every car companie lost sight…

  8. Dan Ponjican says:

    Wondering how this head to head would have ended if it was a true apples to apples… i.e. the BMW M3 vs. The Mustang Shelby GT500. This test should have been the Mustang GT vs. the BMW 330i

  9. bob12 says:

    but when it comes to handling and safety the m3 is way btr like all american muscle cars they all lack the safety systems 1 crash the car would probably be total lost so the m3 less in 1L has almost the same number of hp which is gr8…m3 is prbbly much more expansive than the mustang coz u r buying a car that is made up of high quality …

  10. The Mustang wins from the red light launch all the way to Red Lobster for all you can eat shrimp night.

  11. Tomozuki says:

    Well, because people likes BMWs so much, I don`t :) And I am glad, that Ford showed BMW, how to create a comparable car for half the price. Germans are overpriced. They even don`t have the aura or soul. It`s just a car like KIA or any other. I wish I lived in US.

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