2024 Ford Mustang GT Review: V-8 standard-bearer gets even better
The Ford Mustang was the very first V-8 pony car, and the 2024 Mustang GT is looking like it will be the last, what with the exit of the Challenger and the Camaro this year, perhaps to be replaced by electric facsimiles. Whether you’re gaga over Mustangs or just “meh,” you have to respect Ford’s loyalty to the model and its millions of fans. It is now Ford’s oldest nameplate, having been in continuous production since 1964—unlike all of its competitors, which came and went… and then came and went again.
And except for a brief period during the Mustang II years, the model has always featured an optional V-8. Every red-blooded American—and especially the haters—should probably own a Mustang at least once in their lives. Otherwise, you just don’t know the joy of it all, of roaring at the horizon as if you can outrun age and responsibility, of squirming out of a corner with the rear tires aflame and the engine bawling at the heavens, of being 19 again if only for an hour or two on a Saturday.
We all know Mustangs can do respectable quarter miles; over the years they’ve become ever more competent at turning, and the 2024 model (the S650, in Ford-speak) continues the trend with a slightly quicker steering ratio (15.5:1 vs 16.0) and even better suspension composure. The helm response is gratifyingly quick for a four-seater with a 107-inch wheelbase—ten inches longer than a Toyota Supra’s—and a curb weight licking at two tons. The Performance Pack ($4995) fitted to our sampler includes 19-inch wheels on Pirelli PZero summer rubber surrounding huge six-piston Brembo front calipers and four-pot Brembo rears. That’s fairly serious performance kit, and even on a car this size and this heavy, the stopping power was enough to impress even the smack-talkers in their Porsches.
So, it’s hardly a street-racer one-note. Yes, it has the optional Drift Brake for sideways hoonery, and you can rev the engine with the key fob for some juvenile curbside theater. But aside from that, this is a Mustang that has gone to college, has become exactly what its GT badge says it should be: a comfortable, fast grand turismo capable in all situations. As a low-4s-to-60 adrenaline shot goes, it’s a pretty cheap one for the amount of juice it supplies.
We’re not surprised. Ford has made continuous improvements to the car nearly every year it has been in production. Some big. Some small. All for the good of the car and its buyers. For 2024, the Mustang isn’t exactly “all new” as claimed in the press bumf (see our companion story on the 2024 Mustang EcoBoost for details), but plenty of this GT is.
Specs: 2024 Ford Mustang GT
Price: Coupe $44,090 / Convertible: $53,110
Powertrain: 5.0-liter V-8, 6-speed manual; 10-speed automatic
Horsepower: 480; 486
Torque: 415; 418 lb-ft
Layout: Rear-drive, two-door, four-passenger coupe or convertible
EPA-rated fuel economy: 14–15 city/23–24 highway
0–60 mph: 4.3-sec (est)
Competitors: Toyota GR Supra, BMW M240i, Nissan Z, (the last) Chevrolet Camaro SS
First, the prices: The base 2024 GT commands an $11,575 premium over the base EcoBoost, for a starting price of $44,090, representing a big bump of around $4000 over the base 2023 GT. Inflation, baby! You do get some extra features in the deal, including all those digital screens, but you are also paying a lot for the privilege of a V-8. Even so, we’re told that 2024 preorders are heavily favoring the GT, by a ratio of 68 percent to 32 percent for the EcoBoost. No doubt that will adjust in favor of the EcoBoost as time marches on and the first-in-line enthusiasts all get their cars. The GT convertible starts at $53,110.
We talked about the new in-car screens in our companion story, so let’s flesh out some of the exterior styling changes. The grille grows larger and taller visually. In GTs, two pronounced bars separate the grille into distinct quadrants. The GT’s cheek nostrils get snarlier, too, and the GT hood sprouts black extractor vents to further separate it from the EcoBoost. “I like cars that look menacing,” explained exterior design manager Chris Walter. “I don’t like friendly cars.” To be sure, the 2024 Mustang face won’t be mistaken for Thomas the Tank Engine’s, but it’s the rear where the new styling seems most successful.
Below the rear bumper, designers have increased the blackout panel/faux undertray/decorative cladding—call it what you will—to visually pinch the rear end and make the Mustang look wider and lower. They’ve also ditched the plain flat panel that last year separated the taillights, instead shaping what designers call “a deep break,” or an inward slanting concavity, that helps make the rear end look like it’s squatting provocatively.
Down the sides, they’ve smoothed the flanks, shaving down some of the pronounced streamer lines of the previous model, and re-cut the break between the plastic rear bumper and steel quarter-panel. Now the break is one continuous straight line angled down at the rear wheel to, we’re told, accentuate where the Mustang puts its power to the road. “It’s more broad, more brazen—I’m gonna say a little more American,” said Walter.
A little less American is the Gen-4 Coyote V-8. Well, of course this 5.0-liter V-8 is all-American by definition (except that it’s made just across the river from Detroit, in Canada). But by that we mean that this four-cam, 32-valve wailer feels even a little more Italian, sounding like a ripping Maserati at full revs—if you select full-loud in the menus; you can pick from four levels of tailpipe blast, which also vary depending on which drive mode you’re in.
For 2024, Ford has split the intake with twin induction tubes and two separate 80-mm throttle bodies, the plastic pipes angled off the front of the engine like two fearsome ram’s horns. One reason may have been to upsize the throttle body volume and enable a 500-horse rating for the Dark Horse without major production variation among the models. Another is to give the engine computer some flexibility; it can open one throttle body in low-power situations and then bring the second one online, first in phases, then synced with the other throttle, when the driver calls for higher power. The benefit is better breathing and lower emissions.
Another change to the V-8 is a new steel oil pan that supposedly cuts the oil sump by half a quart to make internal engine breathing easier. We’ve seen a shift toward less oil used more efficiently in other cars, including the Corvette Z06. As it was, the sump of the previous Coyote held a sloshy 10 quarts.
The base 2024 GT now out-gooses 2023’s top-of-the-line 470-hp Mach 1. The new GT gets 480 horses at a very Italian 7150 rpm—or 486 horsepower with the new active valve exhaust system, a $1225 stand-alone noise-making option. The torque figure of 415 pound-feet, or 418 with the fancy exhaust, is almost unchanged from last year. No doubt, a lot of the Coyote’s revisions, including new camshafts, are for the Dark Horse, or for tightening emissions standards. Or for other horsepower upgrades planned but as-yet unannounced.
Both the standard Getrag MT-82 six-speed manual and $1595 10-speed automatic are carryover, though the $60,865 Dark Horse performance model will have a Tremec TR-3160 six-speed manual along with an automatic (watch for a Dark Horse writeup in the coming weeks).
The Getrag probably isn’t quite as buttery as the Tremec, but it’s still a willing partner in making good go-fast, with notchy throws and an organic clutch heft and take-up. We found the 10-speed is mostly well calibrated and delivers seamless upshifts but could knock your head forward with the occasional rough downshift. A blip in the software, perhaps.
Manual-shift paddles are fitted standard to the GT’s steering wheel (you must pay extra for them in the EcoBoost), though paddling among ten ratios is not exactly fun. The 10-speed has three—three!—overdrive ratios, and above fourth gear you pretty much lose interest.
By the way, that racy flat-bottomed steering wheel, fitted to both EcoBoost and GT Mustangs for 2024, is a change of which the Mustang’s creators are inordinately proud. We’re told that they have been pushing for such a flat-bottom wheel for years, but the suits were reluctant to tool up a unique internal ring, a part that is common across a lot of Ford products. Well, for 2024 the factory, ahem, ponied up and you get a flat-bottomed steering wheel.
Nobody including Ford knows how long cars such as the Mustang GT—expect a frightful 17 to 18 average mpg—have before encroaching technology, or regulation, or both, drive them to extinction. In the meantime, the 2024 Mustang GT proves that it’s going to keep doing what it’s always been doing, getting better with each passing year.
2024 Ford Mustang GT
Highs: A Ford with the heart of a Maserati; turns and stops as well as it quarter-miles; tons of options to make one all your own.
Lows: Fuel goes whoosh; two tons of fun; the V-8 price premium is growing; the back seat did not grow at all.
Takeaway: American as all hell, the Mustang GT takes another step forward. Get one while you still can.