2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse. Photo: CarPro.


2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse Review

Written By: Jerry Reynolds | Jun 10, 2024 6:30:00 PM

I feel like I am living right by being lucky enough to get the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse for a full week.  The Mustang turned 60 this year, and as we now know, it has outlasted the other Detroit muscle coupes with the gasoline Charger gone, and the Chevy Camaro in its final days.  It will be the last one standing in pretty short order.

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For 2024, Mustang got an update, not a complete redesign, but it was time.  Code named the S650, the 2024 version is longer and taller than it was in 2023, and going against the grain it is also heavier, topping the scales at almost 4,000 pounds.  The Dark Horse is the first new performance nameplate for the Mustang since Ford brought back the Bullitt in 2001.  Ford says it is named Dark Horse because it is “the horse you didn’t see coming.”  Hard to argue that! 


Under the hood of this Dark Horse, you find the tried-and-true Coyote 5.0-liter dual overhead cam V8, that is heavily-braced out of necessity.  The stats are impressive: 0-to-60 in 3.9 seconds, the top speed is governed to 168-miles per hour, and it redlines at 7500 RPM. It has 500-horses, and 418 pound feet of torque when you use premium fuel.

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My review vehicle for this week has a short-throw 6-speed manual transmission, what I called the Millennial anti-theft system in another review, but you can also get a 10-speed automatic with shift paddles if you desire.  However, just don’t.  For me, you can’t really experience the car without shifting gears, but I understand shifting can get cumbersome in heavy traffic, so take that into consideration, especially if this is going to be a daily driver.


The 2024 Mustang Dark Horse styling cues are terrific and in this humble reviewer’s opinion, and those who have seen this speedster, this is one of the hottest Mustangs to hit the road since the 1970s.  It has triple LED headlights; the grill is wider than in the past and the Dark Horse has a unique grill from other pony cars. There are vents on each side of the grill to feed air to the big engine.  The hood is vented to release heat, and the lower front splitter looks super. I dearly love the black hood graphics on the Dark Horse.

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The side profile is gorgeous, too, with the sloping roofline, big black Brembo brake calipers with a white Brembo logo on them, and the 19” wheels look fantastic. The rear tires are wider than the front ones.  The front fender proudly displays the Dark Horse badge, and here is a little trivia for you:  In the 60-years the Mustang has been around, this is the first time the horse has ever looked directly at you. The raised rear spoiler looks terrific and is not too high, and quad exhaust and sequential turn signals finish out the rear view.  No matter which angles you see this Mustang from, it looks fantastic, especially in Race Red.


A pleasant surprise was when I opened the door, the screens jump out at you, but so did the seats.  I am used to seeing a minimalistic interior with Mustang, and this was anything but.  Heavily-bolstered optional micro/suede Recaro leather seats are stunning yet comfortable, and they hold you into place very well in those tight turns. Also new for this year is a thick and very attractive flat bottomed heated steering wheel with controls.  The wheel feels really good in your hands.  There is carbon fiber used sparingly as well as blue stitching that looks great.


When you hit the red start button on the dash, a 12.4” digital dash comes alive and is easy to read and quite colorful.  You can change the way the gauges appear, and my favorite is when you are in track mode.  No matter which gauge display you choose, you get all the info you need including which of the gears you are in at the time.


The gauge cluster then flows into a 13.9” screen that is the central operation system of the Dark Horse Mustang.  The two screens appear to be one huge continuous screen, but it actually is not.  The screens run from the driver’s door to well into the passenger area.  The infotainment screen handles the B&O sound system, Bluetooth, voice activation, Wi-Fi, the rearview camera, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, a host of apps, and the navigation system.  The Sync 4 works flawlessly, by far the best Sync I have used.  While there is no perfect car, one complaint I have is that too much is controlled with the screen, even the climate control, which can be a real distraction.  The only knob is for sound system volume, but voice recognition helps with the tasks for which you would normally use knobs.

The center console has a wireless phone charger, a couple of cup holders, a USB and USB-C port, and a titanium gear shifter. More trivia: The gear shift knob was made by a 3-D printer. I won’t spend much time on the back seat, but small children can go back there, and it’s best suited for purses and briefcases.  The trunk was surprisingly large at 15-cubic feet, and the rear seats fold down for longer cargo if needed. There is a big subwoofer in the trunk, too.


Below the center screen is the wonderful My Mustang button, which will be your new best friend.  You can configure the digital gauge cluster layout for the touchscreen that lets drivers pick from gauge displays from nine possible gauges. Those gauges are: engine oil pressure, inlet air temperature, vacuum, battery voltage, engine oil temperature, accelerometer, air/fuel ratio, axle oil temperature, and cylinder head temperature.  Also, MyColor: primary and secondary color settings for the digital screens, plus a choice of 28 colors of ambient lighting, exhaust mode, and custom drive modes with up to six possible profiles.

Also on the MyMustang screen there are Track Apps: The acceleration timer measures 0-30 mph, 0-60 mph, 0-100 mph, ¼-mile, and 1/8-mile times.   There is brake performance: 60-0 mph and 100-0 mph performance, and a lap timer which can save three tracks, and drivers can edit the name of each.  There is the shift indicator which can present as a light, a tone, or both and be set from 4,000-7,000 rpm that sets a blue line in the tach at the shift point. Drivers can also choose a drag light that glows at the shift point above and below the tach or a track light that starts wide, changes colors, and narrows as it approaches the shift point and ends as a blue light when it’s time to shift. The light becomes red at the 7,500-rpm redline.

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I never tried it, but there is the drift brake, which allows drivers to use the electronic hand-held drift brake lever on the center console to lock the rear wheels for drifts or handbrake turns. You can activate the line lock, just put your foot on the brake, activate on the screen, then floor it and the front brakes will hold to let you do a burnout, which is right up my alley. The launch settings work in tandem with launch control. Go there to set the rpm at which the car will launch, between 2,500-7,000 rpm. You can also activate launch control here. Rev match can be turned on or off on manual transmission Mustangs like this one and it makes downshifting very enjoyable.  As you can see, there is a learning curve for those who want maximum enjoyment and performance.

Standard Equipment and Options

The Mustang Dark Horse comes very well equipped with automatic headlights, dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, and drive modes which include:  Normal, Sport, Slippery, Drag, and my favorite Track mode.  You can choose exhaust modes from:  Normal, Sport, Track, and Quiet to keep from waking your neighbors up in the morning or late at night.

Options on this loaded Mustang include the $500 security package, $200 for floor mats, the Recaro seats are $1,995, and the Race Red paint hue is $295.  It is not optional, but there is a $1,300 gas guzzled tax built-in to the sticker price.


On the safety side, this Mustang comes with Co-Pilot360 Assist + which is blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic warning, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, forward-collision warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency steering, traffic-sign recognition, and Ford also offers a new safe-exit system designed to prevent someone from opening a door in front of a car, motorcyclist or cyclist.

Ride and Drive

The Mustang Dark Horse is a blast to drive, the acceleration is insane, and the car is still pulling HARD at 5,500 RPM.  Handling is awesome, steering is a little light until you do some configuring, then it’s fine.  You’ll love the exhaust settings, especially when you are grabbing a lower gear.  This car is just extremely balanced, and incredibly stable, probably thanks to the MagneRide suspension setup.  It is nice to so easily see your revs to keep from over-taching the big V8.

This car would be at home on your favorite racetrack or in the carpool lane with all the minivans. 

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Fuel economy is 14 in town, 22 on the highway, and 17 overall unless I am driving.  At one point, after a really hard takeoff, it showed I was getting 4.9-miles per gallon, but who cares?  MSRP on this one as equipped is $64,820 and for this car, that is a bargain.  Estimated production number is around 4,000 vehicles, making this a certain future collectible.

On a side note, Ford keeps its press fleet cars much longer than most car companies.  When I got this one, it had 8,000 miles, and that many press driven miles is probably the equivalent of 3-times that many normal miles.  This car is tight, no signs of wear, no squeaks or rattles, and still looks like new.

Camaro and Challenger lovers, you are going to have to make a decision at some point and I would suggest you give the Mustang GT a shot or if you can get one, try out the Dark Horse for your next trip down the performance highway. 

  1. What I Liked Most:  Performance, handling, and all the cool features.

  2. What I would change: If a car ever needed a head-up display as standard equipment, it’s this one.

  3. MSRP: Base price $44,156; Total MSRP: $61,635 with transportation and options.

  4. Fuel Economy: 22 city/25 highway/23 overall.

  5. Odometer reading when tested:  11,100 miles.
  6. Weight: 3,947 pounds

  7. Spare Tire:  Inflator Kit.
  8. Length-Width-Height: 189.4” long/75.4” wide/55” high.

  9. Fuel Tank Capacity:  16 gallons with the filler on the driver’s side.

  10. Official Color: Rapid Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat.
  11. Towing Capacity: N/A.

  12. 2024 Mustang GT in a few words: Best looking, best performing Mustang GT I’ve ever driven.

  13. Warranty: 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper, 5-year/60,000 mile power train warranty with roadside assistance.  

  14. Final Assembly Location:    Flat Rock, Michigan.
  15. Manufacturers website:  Ford


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