Maybe we can have it all.  That’s what Ford is telling consumers with the release of its 2011 Mustang, the first car introduced to the public at large that has over 300 horsepower and gets over 30 miles per gallon (19 city, 31 highway).

Ford Mustang

All new for 2011: better gas mileage than the VW Beetle

Considering the struggle Ford and other Detroit auto makers have had recently, I’m betting that Ford is hoping to show up other luxury car makers like Lexus.  The Mustang has some stiff competition from the Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger, but Ford is working hard to come out on top.  They’ve made the Mustang body more aerodynamic, slapped on a dual exhaust, and developed a new six-speed transmission, in addition to a new electronic steering system.

The new Mustang is expected to hit showroom floors this summer with a base price of about $23,000.  Is this a new era for the sports car, with manufacturers focusing on fuel economy in addition to performance?  To be honest, I don’t think that people buying these sporty cars have gas mileage on the brain when they’re picking out new rides.  But one thing is clear: in the sports car market, the competition is getting stiffer, and fuel efficiency is now a part of the game.  Let’s hope other automakers rise to the challenge.