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The 2003 Mustang Cobra - Under-rated by Ford
The 2003 Cobra exploded on the automotive scene with a super-charged 4.6 Liter DOHC V8 engine. Compared to recent SVT Cobras, the 2003 has been labeled "King of the Hill" by auto enthusiasts. Ford claims that the Cobra's engine produces 390 horsepower and 390 ft./lb. of torque.

Now that this new Cobra is finally out on the streets, owners have been taking them in for dynamometer testing. The results--encouraging. Assuming a 16% drivetrain loss with the 6 speed manual transmission, this Cobra should theoretically produce between 325-335 horsepower and torque to the wheels. However, after multiple dynamometer results have been obtained from many different owners, the 2003 Cobra is producing well above Ford's advertised horsepower. Typically these cars are producing between 350-365 horsepower and torque to the wheels. With a 16% drivetrain loss, this equates to 406-423 to the flywheel (engine output).

The graph to your right illustrates the dynamometer results of a stock 2003 Mustang Cobra, producing well above 330 peak horsepower and torque.

Now, why did Ford under-rate the power of the 2003 Cobra in their advertisements? Some speculate that Ford did not want to experience the same backlash from the false advertising of the 99 Cobra, which produced well under the advertised horsepower and torque. Others say Ford did this to keep insurance costs down for their customers, which in turn would increase sales. Regardless of the reason, the new Cobras are making owners very happy. With over 400 horsepower for $34,000 the 2003 Cobra holds one of the best horsepower to dollar ratios in the automotive industry today.

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