Revealed: 2024 Mustang keeps manual and V-8, adds pixels
Very few cars actually require no introduction, but when Ford rolls out a new generation of Mustang, there’s not much need for ceremony.
It’s pony car time. What more could you want?
Not much, if early signs are any indication.
The seventh-generation Ford Mustang had its “hello world” moment tonight in the heart of downtown Detroit. Much of its spec sheet will be familiar reading to fans of the outgoing, sixth-gen (S550) Mustang, but don’t read that as a knock. Plenty of brands would kill to have a sport coupe as good—and as beloved—as the existing Stang.
So what’s new?
Ya gotta start with the engine—well, engines, in this case. The 2024 Mustang will offer two: a 2.3-liter, turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder or the 5.0-liter Coyote V-8. Each engine has been thoroughly reworked, says Ford. It promises that this fourth-generation Coyote will offer the most naturally aspirated horsepower of any Mustang GT yet thanks to new, dual air intakes and a new, dual throttle-body system.
Quick math: The 2022 Mustang GT has 450 hp, so we’re looking somewhere north of that. The fact that Ford chose to specify the most horsepower “of any GT” makes us suspect that Ford’s making an exception for the current Mach 1, whose 470-hp Coyote may still top the regular GT. We’ll ballpark 460 hp and sit tight until Ford confirms output.
Ford was very sparse on details with the EcoBoost engine, but we’re expecting output to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 330 hp. Still sounds like fun.
Each engine will pair with either a six-speed manual (automatic rev-matching included on V-8 GTs) or a 10-speed automatic. We’ve known for a while now that the new Mustang would retain a manual gearbox, but hearing it said at a vehicle launch event—said with pride, no less—made us want to snap a salute.
As expected, there was no mention of either a hybrid or an all-wheel-drive variant of the Mustang. For the time being, this one is straight gas, no chaser.
The driving experience of any new Mustang will be heavily customizable through electronic programming. Steering, throttle response, transmission mapping, and electronic stability control can all be modulated by thumbing through the new Mustang’s six drive modes: normal, sport, slippery, drag, track, and custom.
An optional performance package, available on either engine, includes the hardware you’d need to really tear up a track: front strut tower brace, Torsen limited-slip rear differential, wider wheels and tires, and larger Brembo brakes. (MagneRide suspension is a stackable, additional option.) Spec the performance pack on a V-8-powered GT and you’ll also get additional brake ducts and an auxiliary engine oil cooler. Ford’s slick Recaro sport seats and an active exhaust system are also optional as part of the package.
(Want to get even more serious? Ford coined the “Dark Horse” name for a lineup of 500-plus-hp, Coyote-powered Mustangs in three flavors: one street-legal, two track-only. Check them out here.)
Two new, techy features will debut on the seventh-gen Stang. The first is Remote Rev, which does exactly what it says: Allows you to rev your engine with your key fob. (Sigh.) The second is Electronic Drift Brake, which uses a very mechanical-looking lever in the cabin—that’s not directly connected to a parking brake—to electronically modulate the brakes on the rear wheels, like you see drifters do. We’ll reserve judgement on the latter until we’ve had a chance to test it out. For now, just know you’ll need to spec the aforementioned performance package to get access to this not-a-parking-brake.
If the new Mustang doesn’t strike you as radically different than its predecessor, it isn’t. Although we expected the new Mustang to ditch its bespoke platform in favor of the RWD/AWD architecture of the Explorer/Aviator, that’s not the case. Instead, the S550 platform will get another go around the block for the seventh-generation, which is a largely why the new Mustang looks very similar to the outgoing model. The car is a bit more muscular over the front and rear wheels, but carryovers like the sloped nose and the triple vertical taillamps still help ensure you won’t mistake it for anything other than a Mustang. As is customary, you can opt for a coupe or a convertible right from the get-go.
But the carryover is limited to generalized styling cues. For the first time, the Mustang GT and its smaller-hearted sibling will sport unique front ends. The GT will wear larger front grille openings for better airflow to the necessary coolers, as well as distinct hood vents and a unique front splitter. There are 11 exterior colors on offer at launch including two new ones—Vapor Blue and Yellow Squash—as well as a host of stripe packages.
Inside, Ford chose to get techy. Two curved screens, a 12.4-inch unit ahead of the driver and a 13.1-inch unit mounted in the center, dominate the layout. The instrument cluster is exceedingly customizable, allowing futuristic gauges or, if retro is more your thing, a gauge cluster mimicking that of the 1987–93 Fox-body Mustang. (Hell yeah.)
We’re disappointed to see that the physical buttons for climate control and the excellent flip switches at the bottom of the center stack for things like traction control, active exhaust, and a few others are gone. Controls for each now live within the pixeled world of the screen. Ford says research indicated that removing physical buttons and integrating them into the display was popular among millennials, Gen Z, and traditional Mustang drivers alike, but we’re skeptical that such an arrangement is truly in tune with a driver-oriented vehicle.
Elsewhere, the news is better. The flat-bottomed steering wheel looks slick. Ford even went so far as to install USB outlets overhead by the rear-view mirror to power things like cameras that you’d mount up for a track-day. Mustang GTs will have full leather seats as an option, while EcoBoost models will get synthetic leather in a host of colors. There’s slick accent stitching and tasteful flourishes to the upholstery as well.
The new seventh-gen Mustang will be built at Ford’s Flat Rock assembly plant south of Detroit. Expect the revitalized pony to go on sale in the next summer. Key details like power figures, pricing, and more will arrive in the coming months, and we’ll be ready and waiting when that happens.
With both of its cross-town rivals either headed to the big drag strip in the sky or already there, news of an all-new generation of Mustang is significant. It’s fitting that the nameplate that started the pony-car wars would be the one to have the last word.
Hell yeah, Ford. Let’s run it back one more time.
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I own a 1995 Mustang Cobra R that I’ve had since late 1996. That car is extremely fast and has the frame, brakes and suspension to handle the 650HP normally aspirated 429 CID aluminum 4-bolt 351W that powers it. The problem is, it is not exactly a great daily driver. It is a great open track and club racing car, but it has no creature comforts like A/C, radio, cruise control, rear seat, insulation, etc. So I’m very interested in this new Dark Horse decked out with all the best stuff. This is the first time I’ve been excited about a new Mustang in a while. My desire is to have something I can use as my daily driver that I can also let my son or friends take out on the track. I want one, but if AWD is coming, I may wait for that.
Article should have mentioned that the entertainment system no longer provides the AM band on the radio. Since my Mustang GT is a driver, how am I supposed to listen to LOCAL sports talk radio, which is mostly on the AM band with no AM available on the radio? And this is a MAJOR market problem – both sports talk stations in Chicago are on the AM band. Seems to be very short sited by Ford, I mean, I don’t want to burn cell phone data using IHeart to be able to listen to something that I should be able to hear over the air.