Often when someone hears the term "GT" they correlate this with a V8 engine. While this is true, there is a more meaningful description of this term that many might not know about.
The Mustang GT meaning can be defined as either “Gran Turismo” or “Gran Touring”. It is defined as a vehicle with a coupe-style that usually seats two but occasionally four people and is designed for comfort and high speed. The “Gran Turismo” name originated from Italy that refers to cars that may turn out long-distance “Grand Tours” with comfort whereas still maintaining the performance required.
The 1st GT Mustang that was released came out in 1965 and was a $165 upgrade. This Mustang GT was only available for the 289 cubic-inch V-8 which made either 225 or 271 HP. The upgrade included the following:EXTERIOR
The GT was brought back in 1982 and was equipped with the 302 cubic-inch 5.0 V-8 which produced 157 HP. With the GT returning to the Fox Body lineup, this resulted in the Cobra model being dropped for the time being. This GT engine is what birthed the 5.0 GT Fox Body’s of the 80s and early 90s. The Fox Body Mustang was more efficient in that it was lighter which resulted in better fuel-efficiency and faster speeds.
When the Fox Body was retired in 93’ the GT style continued on with newer model Mustangs such as SN95, New Edge, and S197 models and still continues to be the prime example of speed and comfort that enthusiasts are searching for.
Starting with the first SN95 model in 1994, the Mustang GT was reintroduced featuring higher performance and better handling than the base version and its final Fox Body version of 1993. The 302 CID pushrod small-block V8 (known as the 5.0 L engine) was actually carried over from the 1993 Mustang GT and put out 215 HP and 285 lb-ft of torque. Continuing on with the New Edge Mustang in 1999, the body style was completely changed with sharper lines and put out 260 HP and 302 lb-ft of torque. The last year of the New Edge ended in 2004, which began the 9 year run of the S197 Mustang.
Starting in 2005, this Mustang GT featured an all-aluminum 4.6 L 3-valve single overhead camshaft modular V8 which produced 300 HP and 320 lb-ft of torque. This GT came equipped with a limited-slip differential and was outfitted with the same carbon-fiber clutch discs that were used in the 2003-04 SVT Cobra and 2007 Shelby GT500. While in 2010, the S197 Mustang received a completed exterior and interior overhaul (similar to the SN95 transition to the New Edge), it wasn’t until 2011 until the Coyote engine was unveiled.
The Gen 1 Coyote was first used in the 2011 Mustang GT and was able to put out 412 HP and 390 lb-ft of torque. This 302.1 cu/in engine is the latest evolution in modular engines that was developed by Ford as they started to face steep competition from rival automotive companies. Starting in 2015 was the beginning of the S550 Mustang platform which featured the Gen 2 Coyote from 2015-17 and produced 435 HP and 400 lb-ft of torque.
With present-day S550 Mustang GTs (2018+ year models), the 5.0L Coyote V8 is still being used, but has been upgraded to a Gen 3 with an output of 460 HP and 420 lb-ft of torque. This model has options to be increased to a 5.2L Voodoo V8 flat-plane crank engine (GT350) and the Supercharged cross-plane-crank V8 engine (GT500).
Progression is continually increasing with the Mustang GT line with the 2020 Ford Mustang GT500 having 760HP and 625 ft/lbs of torque. This is to ensure that it maintains the Gran Touring name of providing exceptional performance and comfort.
The term "GT" has been such an influential term with not only Mustangs but with any vehicle that came equipped for both long-distance and high-speed cruising. The "Gran Turismo" or "Gran Touring" vehicles are a game-changer in the vehicle world and we don't see them going away any time soon.