It's an exciting time for Mustang fans! Ford recently revealed the 7th-generation Pony car and there are three big pieces of news: It keeps a gas engine and doesn't go electric. It also keeps the manual gearbox alive with a standard 6-speed. And last but not least. It will also introduce a new Dark Horse-badged Performance Series - the first new Mustang performance series in 21 years and first new Performance name since Bullitt was introduced in 2001.
“Investing in another generation of Mustang is a big statement at a time when many of our competitors are exiting the business of internal combustion vehicles,” said Jim Farley, CEO of Ford Motor Company. “Ford, however, is turbocharging its ICE growth plan, adding connected technology, opinionated derivatives, and hybrid options to our most profitable and popular cars – all in the Ford Blue family – on top of investing $50 billion in electric vehicles through 2026.”
The new Mustang will be available as either a convertible or coupe, with either a V8 or turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and either a manual or automatic transmission. Oh and if you love the sound of an engine revving, Mustang introduces Remote Rev, which gives you the ability to rev the car’s engine remotely using the key fob.
Mustang Dark Horse
Ford says engineers worked three years to create the Mustang Dark Horse. With the available Handling Package, it's the most track-capable 5.0-liter V8 street-legal Mustang ever, delivering 500-horsepower.
Ford says its performance is thanks improved aerodynamics, upgraded hardware, new software and tuning with an available six-speed manual transmission. It also looks very visually different too, with a dual throttle-body intake design to improve engine breathing, accentuated by the open nostrils in the front grille. Blue Ember metallic paint is exclusive the model and new Mustang Dark Horse badges were designed for this performance version of Mustang to visually separate it from other models.
“This is the first time for Mustang that we’ve ever had a forward-facing horse,” Piaskowski said. “It’s aggressive, a bit sinister and it’s coming from the shadows head-on to win.”
The all-new Mustang Dark Horse S and Dark Horse R track-only models are part of six new racing Mustangs coming soon. Ford says Mustang Dark Horse S is designed for the weekend track day enthusiast while Mustang Dark Horse R has been developed for racing.
Ford calls the seventh-generation Mustang the most tech-advanced, driver-centric cockpit of any Mustang to date. A 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster that can be customized to display different animated designs and new drive-mode dependent visuals. Ford says it's based on the same Unreal Engine 3D creation tool used in modern video games, and that when choosing personalized drive mode settings, the car’s current setup is displayed on the center stack as real-time graphical renderings. Drivers can adjust the settings by simply swiping the graphic to rotate the car virtually in a true "gamified" style.
“We’re taking advantage of every pixel,” said Craig Sandvig, Ford Mustang interaction design manager. “We can be creative in showing necessary driving information and give the driver control of selecting colors, classic Mustang gauges or even a ‘calm’ screen where only minimal details are displayed.”
Mustang’s default instrument gauge also forgoes its traditional cool blue and light grey tones in lieu of an ultra-modern, copper appearance theme shared with Mustang Mach-E. This digital cluster can be optionally configured to flow seamlessly into a 13.2-inch SYNC 4 center stack behind a single piece of integrated glass that’s angled toward the driver.
“We knew what customers wanted and designed the most digital Mustang ever while retaining the all-important driver-focused cockpit,” said Ricardo Garcia, Ford interior design manager. “Removing some of these physical buttons, such as radio and climate control, and integrating them into a digital display was popular in research with Millennials, Gen-Z and traditional Mustang drivers alike.”
The Mustang's cabin is inspired by the cockpit of a fighter jet. A cloth interior is standard and features all-cloth seats with optional Micro Suede vinyl inserts and black seat belts. Premium models get upgraded wrapped and accent stitched across the instrument panel and door trim. EcoBoost models feature Ford’s ‘ActiveX’ synthetic leather upholstery with multiple color options, while GT models gain leather seat inserts.
Ford says an all-new race-inspired flat-bottomed steering wheel provides more space when getting seated. Upper trims enjoy a full-leather steering wheel, with a choice of color accent stitching and a unique upholstery perforation across the seat inserts, complemented by color-coordinated, asymmetric accent striping on the seat belts.
An available wireless charger is available for the center console, while new overhead USB ports are installed above the cockpit, designed to be in easy reach for track cameras and other devices, and help prevent wires from draping across the cabin.
If music is important to you, you'll likely want the available B&O Sound System. Ford says it's optimized for the car’s interior. Ford's SYNC 4 system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as Amazon Alexa Built-In with Ford Streaming which allows music and podcasts to be played with simple voice commands.
Following in the Mustang Mach-E SUV footsteps, the all-new Mustang features Ford Power-Up software update capability.
Outside the vehicle, animated welcome lighting greets drivers as they approach.
Ford hopes to attract the broadest Mustang customer yet with the seventh generation Mustang's mix of modern chiseled looks and heritage-inspired design. A low, horizontal brow across the front emphasizes overall frontal width, while you can see influence from the original 1960's design in the upper grille design shape. Tri-Bar LED headlamps continue the Mustang’s classic lighting signature.
A sleek roofline, broad sprinting stance and shortened rear overhang are keep things authentic as they are proportions of the first generation. A widened rear haunches point to the power over the wheels in true Mustang style.
Ford says it designed the roofline so track drivers could get in and out without removing their helmet. An extended rear deck houses a new signature tri-bar lighting and redesigned diffuser for improved aerodynamic balance in the rear.
Each model carries its own unique front end. GT is differentiated from EcoBoost models by larger, more aggressive grille openings, engineered to allow increased airflow, reflecting the increase in power and performance. The car’s aerodynamics are optimized further with the addition of new hood vents and redesigned front splitter.
“Both the EcoBoost and Mustang GT have unique styling cues that deliver on their promise of Mustang Performance,” said Christopher Walter, Ford Mustang design manager. “The new Mustang is more chiseled and edgier, leaning into Mustang’s classic brawniness and timelessness.”
There is, of course, a drop-top version. Simple, one-touch activation with a single-handle center latch opens and closes the fully lined and insulated fabric roof.
The compact roof design and independent rear suspension also contribute toward segment-leading trunk space that can accommodate up to two golf bags.
There are 11 colors to choose from including two new Mustang shades, Vapor Blue and Yellow Splash. There are also three Brembo brake caliper color options: Black, Red and Grabber Blue, plus an all-new lineup of alloy wheels, ranging from 17-inch standard size on base models to 19-inch for GT with optional 20-inch alloy wheels.
Ford is also introducing the Mustang Design Series, which allows customers to further customize straight from the factory. Also, a Bronze Design Series Appearance Package adds Sinister Bronze alloy wheels with bronze badges, and is available on both EcoBoost and GT models, with or without the optional Performance Pack.
Most Advanced Engines Ever
The Mustang GT is now powered by an advanced, 5.0-liter Coyote V8 engine. The fourth-generation 5.0-liter is set to deliver the most naturally aspirated horsepower of any Mustang GT thanks to an innovative dual air intake box and dual-throttle body design. Ford says it helps minimize induction loss by enabling higher air flow rates.
“This is the most athletic and confidence-inspiring Mustang EcoBoost and GT to drive yet,” said Ed Krenz, Ford Mustang chief nameplate engineer. “Whether driving an automatic or manual transmission, thanks to drive modes combined with fine-tuned digital engine, suspension and steering controls, we’re now able to give drivers peak performance everywhere, from their favorite roads to their local track.”
And yes, as we mentioned up top, Ford is saving the manual transmission for a new generation. The 5.0-liter V8 continues to offer a standard six-speed manual transmission for customers with an advanced 10-speed automatic transmission available.
If you're looking for a fun ride with fuel efficiency benefits you can opt for the EcoBoost model, powered by an all-new, four-cylinder turbocharged 2.3-liter powertrain.
Drivers will be able to adjust steering, engine response and other systems using 6 available drive modes: Normal, Sport, Slippery, Drag, Track plus a customizable setting with up to six individual profiles, tailored to the driver’s view ahead of them.
Mustang GT and EcoBoost models are both available with an optional Performance Pack, which adds a host of track-focused features, including a front Tower Brace, Torsen® Limited Slip differential and optional MagneRide active suspension, wider rear wheels and tires, and larger, 390-millimeter front and 355-millimeter rear Brembo brakes. The GT Performance Pack adds brake ducts for even more enhanced cooling and a standard auxiliary engine oil cooler. Performance Pack also offers optional Recaro® seats and active exhaust.
Mustang GT with manual transmission includes standard rev-matching that helps hold engine RPM when the clutch is engaged. This retains peak torque between manual gear changes, delivering even more precision, thrill and better refinement.
Quicker steering ratios and minimal compliance from steering wheel to tire significantly enhances the car’s cornering dynamics, with increased straight-line power.
A segment-first electronic drift brake takes new technology to the racetrack, unlocking the rear-wheel-drive drifting capability of Mustang with the visual appeal and functionality of a traditional, mechanical hand brake. The Performance Electronic Parking Brake comes standard with the Performance Pack on all Mustang models, engineered for novice drivers to learn and improve their drift skills while also providing expert drivers with a competition-ready system.
More Available Driver Assistance
The new Mustang comes equipped with Ford Co-Pilot360 features, including Speed Sign Recognition, Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go, Lane Centering Assist, Evasive Steer Assist and Reverse Brake Assist. Another key feature is Active Pothole Mitigation, included with the Performance Package, which continually monitors suspension, body, steering and braking input and adjusts suspension response accordingly.
Owners can use the FordPass app to access free features like remote vehicle start and stop, door locking and unlocking, scheduling a start time, locating the vehicle, and vehicle health and status checks. The FordPass app provides important vehicle information available to users, including fuel and oil levels, service history and warranty information.
On Sale Date
The all-new 2024 Mustang goes on sale starting in the summer of 2023. It will be built at Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Flat Rock, Mich. Stay tuned for pricing details closer to launch.
All photos credit Ford Motor Company.