2005 Pontiac GTO vs. 2005 Ford Mustang GT

2005 Pontiac GTO vs. 2005 Ford Mustang GT 2005 Pontiac GTO vs. 2005 Ford Mustang GT
Comparison Tests

The selection process for this comparison began with a mental gathering of four-seat coupes costing from $25,000 to $35,000. Included were the 238-hp Mazda RX-8 and the 298-hp Infiniti G35 coupe, and even a 240-hp Honda Accord V-6 coupe was briefly considered. In the end we decided you had to have a V-8 to play, so we were left with two cars-the Ford Mustang GT and the Pontiac GTO.

The all-new Mustang is about as all-new as you can get these days. Loosely based on the Lincoln LS platform, the Mustang received some much-needed solidity and modernity. Having a solid rear axle is a cost-cutting move that may turn off some car buyers, but with 300 horsepower for $24,995, transgressions can be forgiven. Fresh off a 10Best victory, the Mustang looked like the clear favorite, but we hadn't yet driven the enlivened 2005 GTO.

Sales of the Australian-built GTO amounted to a trickle in 2004, but the Goat's unremarkable skin hides a refined and fast performance car. As in the Mustang, a near-luxury-sedan platform underpins the GTO-it's a massaged version of the Cadillac Catera architecture. This platform's independent suspension remains intact, as does its solid and refined nature, but those advantages come at a cost-its as-tested price is about $5000 higher than the Mustang's.

Many upgrades were lavished on the GTO for 2005. The major change is under the hood, but there are sprinklings of changes throughout. It's a stronger participant, but is the GTO hot enough to take the Mustang?