First Look: 2024 Ford Mustang Arrives With V8, Manual Trans And New Dark Horse Performance Model

09/21/2022

First Look: 2024 Ford Mustang Arrives With V8, Manual Trans And New Dark Horse Performance Model

09/21/2022
2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost

2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost


Ford just took the wraps off the 2024 Mustang, and it looks like fans of rowdy V8s, manual gearboxes, and smoky burnouts will have plenty to look forward to in the coming years. The seventh-generation pony car has been updated from stem to stern and boasts a more aggressive look than the car it replaces, while the cabin – which Ford says was inspired by the cockpit of a fighter jet – gets thoroughly updated technology to go with its revamped design.


There’s more performance on tap as well, along with the debut of the first all-new Mustang model in two decades. Let’s take a closer look at what the S650 Mustang brings to the table.

Inside and Out

While the seventh-generation car gets its familiar proportions from a revised version of the S550 platform that underpins the sixth-generation Mustang, Ford says that the updated architecture yields immediately noticeable handling improvements over the outgoing machine. A new steering rack with a quicker 15.5:1 ratio and a stiffer cross-car beam are on board as part of that effort, along with revisions to components like the lower control arms, rear suspension links, shocks, dampers, and sway bars.


The exterior adopts a more chiseled and angular look that seems to borrow some inspiration from the latest hot rods coming out of BMW’s M division as well as the Mustang’s cross-town rival, the Chevrolet Camaro, but there are also a number of styling cues that are unmistakably Mustang, like the large trapezoidal grille and tri-bar taillights. To create more visual differentiation between the EcoBoost and the GT, each model will get its own unique grille, front splitter, and hood, the latter of which will feature a large heat extractor on GT models. Base EcoBoost models will ride on 17-inch wheels while the GT gets 19-inch wheels as-standard, and 20-inch wheels are optionally available as well.


2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost rear

The Mustang EcoBoost gets an upgraded fuel system and a new twin-scroll turbocharger to go along with its updated look.


The new Mustang’s interior ditches the classic double-hump instrument panel design to make way for a pair of large digital screens. Base models will use two freestanding displays for the gauge cluster and the infotainment, while Premium trim models will utilize a single large housing for the 12.4-inch digital gauge cluster and 13.2-inch infotainment display. Ford’s Sync 4 software controls the proceedings and brings with it wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto functionality. A new flat-bottomed steering wheel adds to the cabin’s sport-oriented vibe.

All 2024 Mustangs that are equipped with the Performance Package will score the new Performance Electronic Parking Brake, an upgrade which allows the hand brake to function as a drift brake by locking up the rear wheels to initiate a slide. The system is designed to make it easier for novices to learn how to drift by working in conjunction with the main rear brakes and the stability control system to automatically adjust brake pressure as needed in order to maintain the slide. In another not-so-subtle nod to hooliganism, 2024 Mustangs that are equipped with the automatic transmission will also score a new Remote Rev feature. As the name implies, Remote Rev will allow owners to blip the throttle via the key fob after remotely starting the car.


The aforementioned Performance Pack will be available for both EcoBoost and GT models. Along with the trick parking brake, the package includes a strut tower brace, a Torsen limited-slip rear differential, an upgraded Brembo brake package, and a staggered tire setup. Opting for the Performance Pack also allows buyers to spec their cars with the optional MagneRide dampers.

Under The Hood

There was a lot of speculation that the seventh-generation Mustang would go hybrid, but that isn’t the case – at least, not yet. The 2024 Mustang will be an internal combustion-only affair, with a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder motivating EcoBoost models and the venerable 5.0-liter Coyote V8 providing the grunt in the GT.


S650 Mustang overhead

The 2024 Mustang is underpinned by an updated version of the outgoing S550 chassis. The shared hard points result in familiar proportions, but the look of the new car is much more angular and athletic.


Both engines have received some tweaks which Ford says will improve peak output. The 2.3-liter gains a new port and direct injection fuel setup as well as a new twin-scroll turbocharger with an electronically-controlled wastegate, while the V8 is now equipped with a dual throttle-body intake system with inlets on each side of the front grille.


Official output numbers for the revised power plants haven’t been made available yet, but during the Mustang’s debut at Detroit’s Hart Plaza a Ford engineer mentioned that the GT is expected to make 480 horsepower, and it’s safe to assume that the new EcoBoost models will make more than outgoing engine’s 330 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. All 2024 Mustangs will be offered with a ten-speed automatic transmission, but only the GT will be available with the Getrag six-speed manual gearbox this time around.

Behold, A Dark Horse

2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse

With a 500 horsepower naturally-aspirated V8, an available Tremec six-speed close-ratio manual gearbox, and a chassis tuned for the racetrack, the Dark Horse will sit at the top of the Mustang high-performance totem pole for 2024.


Perhaps the biggest news in to come out of the S650 Mustang’s debut was the announcement of the all-new Dark Horse model. As evidenced by the sinister look provided by its larger air intakes, more aggressive aero, and lower stance, the Dark Horse is a decidedly performance-focused model. Thanks to connecting rods borrowed from the current GT500, the Dark Horse’s 5.0-liter V8 is expected to offer up a healthy 500 horsepower, making this the most powerful factory-produced iteration of the Coyote that’s ever made. Power will be sent to the rear wheels by way of a Tremec close-ratio six-speed manual transmission with automatic rev-matching and an external oil cooler – a setup that’s similar to what you’ll find in the outgoing Mach 1. The ten-speed automatic is available as well, but trust us, you want three pedals in this one.


Larger rear sway bars and MagneRide adaptive dampers are standard on all Dark Horse models, as is a new lightweight strut tower brace and K-brace. A number of upgrades that are normally part of the GT Performance Pack – like the Torsen differential, staggered tire setup, and big Brembo brakes – are also part of the deal.


2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse brake calipers

Brembo brakes (shown in Notorious Blue) are standard on the Dark Horse, as is the strut tower brace, K-brace, Torsen differential and the staggered wheel/tire setup.


An optional Handling Package is also available to take the Dark Horse’s capability several steps further with stiffer springs, larger front and rear sway bars, beefed up aero, and super-sticky Pirelli Trofeo RS track tires. Carbon fiber wheels produced by Carbon Revolution are also expected to join the options list at a later date.


On the aesthetic front, the Dark Horse model gets its own unique badging as well as dark trim and an exclusive Blue Ember metallic paint hue. Notorious Blue Brembo brake calipers with a Grabber Blue logo are optionally available as well. To also give the interior a sense of occasion, Dark Horse models get a suede-wrapped steering wheel, blue contrast stitching, blue seatbelts, and a special 3D-printed titanium shift ball on models that are equipped with the manual transmission. A B&O premium audio system also comes as standard equipment in Dark Horse models.


S650 Mustang Race Car Models

The Dark Horse S and Dark Horse R join Ford’s planned assault on race tracks all over the world in the coming years. The automaker plans to produce specialized iterations of the S650 Mustang for IMSA, SRO, FIA GT, Australian Supercars, NASCAR, and NHRA series racing.


Ford Performance will offer two track-only versions of the Dark Horse as well: The Dark Horse S and the Dark Horse R. Both are stripped-down race cars with FIA-certified roll cages, race seats, quick-release steering wheels, fire suppression systems, and other components you’d expect to find on a non-street-legal track machine. Ford says the S model is designed for track day enthusiasts and features adjustable Multimatic DSSV dampers as well as upgraded brakes, while the R is intended for wheel-to-wheel racing. Along with all of the Dark Horse S equipment, the Dark Horse R gains strategic seam welding, a fuel cell for increased range, and unique wheels. The R is also fully homologated for motorsport use.


Ford hasn’t announced pricing for any of the new Mustang models as of yet, but we do know that the road-going versions of the Blue Oval’s latest pony car will go on sale in the summer of 2023. We’ll have more as additional details are announced.


2024 Ford Mustang Convertible


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