Ford Motor Co. has drawn some criticism for feeding buyers a steady diet of sometimes minor variations of its popular Mustang ponycar.

Who cares if Ford's big Mustang news for the year is a glass-roof option, or it orchestrates releases of a new “Bullitt” or a dozen other versions, as long as there's a Mustang that moves you?

That's how we feel about the dazzling 4.6L SOHC V-8 that is the signature — and seminal — Mustang engine.

There's been a sudden proliferation of variants of the chesty modular V-8. Although the differences in the recipe are comparatively minor, we definitely aren't going to argue about too many choices for the industry's most emotive-for-the-money V-8.

With a fourth straight win, the 4.6L is creating a legend that will make aficionados finally forget the long-loved 4.9L V-8 of the previous-generation ‘Stang.

ENGINE SPECS

Engine type: 4.6L SOHC 90° V-8

Displacement (cc): 4,604

Block/head material: aluminum/aluminum

Bore × stroke (mm): 90.2 × 90

Horsepower (SAE net): 319 @ 5,750 rpm

Torque: 330 lb.-ft. (447 Nm) @ 4,500 rpm

Specific output: 69 hp/L

Compression ratio: 9.8:1

Assembly site: Romeo, Michigan

Application tested: Ford Mustang Shelby GT/Bullitt

EPA fuel economy, city/highway (mpg): 15/23