1979-1993 Mustang Horsepower & Torque Ratings

January 26, 2021

Fox Body Horsepower Numbers

In addition to performance capabilities, Mustang horsepower and torque are often about bragging rights. Proud Mustang owners want to see how one 'Stang compares to the next. Let's look at horsepower and torque numbers for the fifteen years of Fox Body Mustangs. The specifications in this story are sourced from Ford-supplied data and online information. The horsepower and torque numbers cited here are based on new, factory-built engines and exhaust systems. Engine performance can decrease over time and change due to aftermarket modifications.

If you're looking for more information about the 1994-2004 Mustang, then look no further than our complete breakdown of the Fox Body article!


1979 1980-1982 5.0 HO 1989 6-Cyl 4-Cyl Specs Table



1979 Fox Body Mustang

1979 Mustang Horsepower And The Windsor V-8

The 302 "Windsor" 8-cylinder was used for the 1979 model year, the Fox Body platform's debut for the Mustang. While called a "5.0" engine, its actual displacement was more accurately 4.9L (4.942cc, to be precise) and only saw duty for this year. Horsepower was rated at 139 along with 250 lb-ft of torque.



1982 Fox Body Mustang

1980-1982: The "Lean Years" Mustang Horsepower And Torque

America's second energy crisis, which lasted for about a year, started in 1979. This predicament, along with stricter emissions regulations, caused car manufacturers to de-tune engines in response.

For 1980-1982, Mustang was the unfortunate recipient of a modified Windsor V8 that now had a 255 cubic inch/4.2L displacement. Available only with a three-speed automatic, the 255 power plant offered better gas mileage and anemic performance at 119 hp and 194 lb-ft of torque. Some sources spec the engine with as little as 111 hp. Fortunately for enthusiasts, a GT model is relaunched helping 1982 Mustang horsepower along with a high-output 5.0L V-8.



1983 Fox Body Mustang

Fox Body Mustang And 5.0 HO Engine Are A Classic Combination

Thanks to a restyled Camaro and Firebird and more potent GM engines, Ford re-introduced the GT trim for the Mustang in 1982—the GT label last saw Mustang duty in 1969. Now equipped with a high-output or "HO" 5.0L engine, 1982 Mustang GTs enjoy 157 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque handled through a four-speed manual transmission. Other GT standard equipment includes a 3.08:1 rear with Traction-Lok, traction bars, and power steering. Also, the "302" cubic-inch displacement designation gave way to the "5.0" label.

Humorously, the 1982 Ford Mustang sales brochure recommends less powerful engine options if the 5.0L engine "is a bit too spirited for you." The Fox Body Mustang pairing with the HO power plant creates a memorable impression among car enthusiasts that lasts through today. While Wilson Pickett's 1966 tune, Mustang Sally, embraced the first-generation pony car, Vanilla Ice's Rollin' In My 5.0 from 1990 captured the idea that Mustangs and high-output engines go hand-in-hand.

1983 Mustang horsepower and torque see improvements continue as the 5.0L gets a four-barrel Holley carburetor with performance specs to 175 hp and 245 lb-ft of torque. For 1985, a steel camshaft and revised lifters— along with the same carburetor set up—bring the horsepower total to 210. 1985 Mustang torque hits 270 lb-ft. Electronic sequential fuel injection is introduced in 1986, causing a ten horsepower drop while increasing torque by 15 lb-ft. At the same time, the engine block was strengthened for better durability, and a dual exhaust system with two separate catalytic converters was introduced.



1989 Fox Body Mustang

1989 Mustang Horsepower Beats Chevy Corvette

For 1987, Ford tweaked the 5.0's heads, electronic engine control module, and exhaust system resulting in horsepower increasing to 225. 1987 Mustang torque now hits 300 lb-ft. In 1989, new engine air sensors were introduced to the HO engine, causing a modest five horsepower drop in performance but the change allowed for easier engine modifications by tuners. 0-60 time for a 1989 Mustang GT was recorded at a very respectable 6.1 seconds. In comparison, a same-year L98 Corvette took 6.6 seconds to hit 60 mph.

Horsepower and torque ratings for the 5.0L remained the same at 225 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque until 1992 when Ford acknowledged that its previous performance specs for the engine were overrated. Revised figures show output reduced to 205 hp. 1992 Mustang torque for this engine dropped to 275 lb-ft. For 1993, the Fox Body Mustang's last year, an SVT Cobra was offered. This variant used GT40 cylinder heads in the 5.0L engine to push 1993 Mustang horsepower to 235 and torque to 280 lb-ft.



Mustang Horsepower With 6-Cylinder Engines

Six Cylinder Fox Body Mustang

While speed demons and Mustang enthusiasts may turn their noses at engines without eight cylinders, six-cylinder Mustangs offered a "sweet spot" for buyers seeking lower costs and reduced operating expenses. There were two six-cylinder options for the Fox Body's first year: the 2.8L Cologne V-6 pushing out 109 hp and 142 lb-ft of torque and the 3.3L Inline-6 generating 85 hp and torque at 143 lb-ft. Ford dropped the Cologne engine after its first year, and the I-6 continued as-is through 1982. The 3.8L Essex V-6 offering 112 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque was introduced as Mustang's only mid-tier engine for 1983. Electronic fuel injection was later added to the Essex engine for 1984, bumping up performance to 120 hp and 205 lb-ft of torque. The Essex V-6 continued unchanged through 1986. The Fox Body Mustang's 1987 refresh included dropping a six-cylinder option.



Fox Body Mustang SVO

Fox Body 4-Cylinder Engines

Only one engine was continuously used, without significant change, throughout the 15-year model life of the Fox Body Mustang, the 2.3L Inline-4 Lima engine. The base engine began in 1979 with 89 hp and 120 lb-ft of torque. Except for receiving a distributorless ignition system in 1989, the engine was basically unchanged through 1993.

However, Ford did use the Lima 4-cylinder engine as a base for turbo-charged power in some Fox Body Mustangs. From 1979-1980, Ford produced a non-intercooled 2.3L turbo 4-cylinder, producing 132 hp and 143 lb-ft of torque, the engine powered the Cobra variant Mustang for these years. Due to reliability issues, this turbo engine was discontinued beginning in 1981. The turbo 2.3L engine with intercooler was re-introduced for 1983-1984 as the Turbo GT model's power plant. It produced 145 hp with torque at 180 lb-ft. Also, during 1984, the noteworthy Mustang SVO was powered by a reworked 2.3L turbo 4-cylinder. 175 hp and 210 lb-ft of torque helped give the SVO some scoot. Outputs for the 1986 SVO were increased to 205 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque.



1979-1993 Mustang Horsepower & Torque Ratings

Year 8-Cyl HP TQ 6-Cyl HP TQ 4-Cyl HP TQ
1979 5.0L 2V V8 140 250 2.8L V6 109 142 2.3L I-4 89 120
1979 cont.       3.3L I-6 85 143 2.3L Turbo 132 143
1980 4.2L 2V V8 119 194 3.3 I-6 85 143 2.3L I-4 89 120
1980 cont.             2.3L Turbo 132 143
1981 4.2L 2V V8 119 194 3.3 I-6 85 143 2.3L I-4 89 120
1982 4.2L 2V V8 119 194 3.3 I-6 85 143 2.3L I-4 89 120
1982 cont. 5.0L 2V HO V8 157 240            
1983 5.0L 2V HO V8 175 245 3.8 V6 112 175 2.3L I-4 89 120
1983 cont.             2.3L Turbo 145 180
1984 5.0L 2V HO V8 175 245 3.8 V6 120 205 2.3L I-4 89 120
1984 cont.             2.3L Turbo 145 180
1984 cont.             2.3L Turbo SVO 175 210
1985 5.0L 2V HO V8 210 270 3.8 V6 120 205 2.3L I-4 89 120
1985 cont.             2.3L Turbo SVO 175 210
1986 5.0L 2V HO V8 200 285 3.8 V6 120 205 2.3L I-4 89 120
1986 cont.             2.3L Turbo SVO 205 248
1987 5.0L 2V HO V8 225 300       2.3L I-4 89 120
1988 5.0L 2V HO V8 225 300       2.3L I-4 89 120
1989 5.0L 2V HO V8 225 300       2.3L I-4 89 120
1990 5.0L 2V HO V8 225 300       2.3L I-4 89 120
1991 5.0L 2V HO V8 225 300       2.3L I-4 89 120
1992 5.0L 2V HO V8 205 275       2.3L I-4 89 120
1993 5.0L 2V HO V8 205 275       2.3L I-4 89 120
1993 cont. 5.0L 2V HO V8 (Cobra) 235 280            

Note: The best effort was made to reference accurate information for this article. As some of this data is more than 40-years old, there may be small discrepancies among available sources of Mustang engine information.

Source: Ford | Mustang Specs | Mustang Lab | Road & Track | Mustang360





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