Yeah, the only bird truly worthy of the 5 speed is the super coupe. It is definitely worth the cash, although it books at double the LX. Not only this, but they have better mileage, they have automatic ride control, and seat bolsters that you can adjust to fit you tight into the seat. There are many other extra goodies, such as the sleek BMW-like styling - in my opinion anyways - and just the plain awesome sound of the supercharger! 5.0's don't turn heads, because they look and sound like plain old birds. Supercoupes are sleek and you can hear the jet from a block away.
Sc's get much better mileage than a 5.0, and they are still more powerful! The supercharger does not guzzle gas, it just runs off of a pully from the engine, and puts more into it than it takes out. So, it may get better than a normal 3.8. Plus, SC's are the only 5 speeds, and manuals get better mileage... if you know how to drive them. It is true that the mileage on SC's is getting up there, but they are worth it. I have put less money into my SC than I have my LX, but that will change eventually. Superchargers can go bad after a while. I would definitely go the extra mile for the SC. I have, and I am only 17, it can't be too hard!
I have a 93 LX with the 5.0 HO option, and I manage 26mpg city and 29 highway-and my foot tends to be heavy.
I like the Supercoupes, but I have always owned small block Fords.
One thing to note about the 5.0 HO Birds-for the 93 model year, Ford felt that the current V-8 did not have enough bottom end torque, so they took the same cam used in the Cobra for that year, and placed it in the Thunderbird 5.0. This engine dynos at 275HP at the flywheel, and 230 at the rear wheel at 4300 RPM and 290ft-lbs of torque at 2400RPM. I think Ford fudged on the short side in it's ratings for the 5.0 and the 3.8SC engines-probably because of the CAFE requirements.
What are the 4.6s getting? I'm looking at one now.
My AED supercharged 4.6L 1995 T-Bird gets 15 city/25 hwy. It really depends on how much I'm in the boost though. It also makes 294 RWHP and 375 RWTQ and should go 12's this spring (current best is 13.302 @ 103 mph).
Retail on the kit is $3,500.00. If you have a '94-'95 T-Bird/Cougar you need an extra $500.00 in parts to make it work (i.e. '96 fuel rails, '96 EGR valve and tube, etc). So the kit set me back $4,000.00.
I went 15.5's @ 88-89 mph before the blower and 14.23 @ 98 mph after the blower kit. It took us 40 hours to install it, but it was well worth it. I eliminated the fmu, installed 30 lb./hr. injectors, a Lightning 80mm MAF and a reflashed EEC-V by an ex-Ford engineer and the car went 13.84 @ 101.14 mph on street tires. Going to a smaller blower pulley and a Mark VIII Torque converter netted 13.37 @ 103 mph on drag radials. My best has been a 13.302 @ 103 mph with 3.73:1 gears. It will go 12's now, high 12's but 12 seconds none the less.