The 2024 Ford Mustang made a smashing debut at the Detroit Auto Show, marking the seventh-gen iteration of Ford’s legendary pony car that first debuted to an adoring public in 1964. We love the Ford Mustang here at Automoblog, but allow us to spill the beans on what we genuinely think about Ford’s newest pony car.
Setting The Stage
We first caught wind of the S650 Mustang wearing thick camouflage and production-intent body panels in 2021 and early 2022. Based on the spy shots, we didn’t think the seventh-gen Mustang would be an all-new vehicle since it still had the general silhouette of the outgoing S550 Mustang. Imagine our stoic faces when Ford lifted the curtains on what could be the last breed of the pony car, the burning flame of good old muscle car goodness until electrification spoils the fun.
“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.”
2024 Ford Mustang: What’s New?
We may be talking about an extensively redesigned S550 Mustang, but the new S650’s appeal goes beyond skin-deep. And besides, Ford did enough to make it look edgier and more modern without giving up the iconic Mustang DNA. “The new Mustang is more chiseled and edgier, leaning into Mustang’s classic brawniness and timeliness,” said Christopher Walter, Ford Mustang design manager. It has a low and deep-set brow highlighted by updated and slimmer LED headlights. The roofline and rear haunches are classic Mustang styling cues.
In the back, the 2024 Ford Mustang has an extended deck, redesigned tri-bar taillights, and a new bumper design with an integrated diffuser to help tame the wind. Meanwhile, the convertible variant has a one-touch center latch to open or close the fully-insulated fabric roof. And thanks to its compact top design, Ford claims the new Mustang convertible still has enough boot space to accommodate two golf bags. The available Performance Pack adds 19-inch alloy wheels, a sport limited-slip differential, an active valve exhaust, and 19-inch Brembo brakes. Ford’s MagneRide active suspension is optional.
Engine & Transmission Specs
Ford was not ready to talk about performance numbers and horsepower figures at the Detroit Auto Show, but it did say the 2024 Mustang’s familiar engine choices have more power and are more efficient than before.
The base motor remains a 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost inline four-cylinder. At the same time, the Mustang GT has a Coyote 5.0-liter V8 with new electronic throttle bodies, dual air boxes, a new exhaust manifold, and a new oil pan to make it the most potent iteration of the Mustang’s venerable, gas-burning V8. The former is strictly available with a 10-speed automatic, while the GT is standard with a six-speed manual. Both motors have a new remote rev feature that lets you rev the engine by pressing a button on the key fob.
Interior & Technology Updates
The 2024 Ford Mustang’s ultimate level-up card is the overflow of new technology and digitalization in its redesigned cockpit. The outgoing ‘Stang’s double-brow upper dashboard is gone with the wind, replaced by an open center stack dominated by a 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster and a 13.2 Sync 4 infotainment touchscreen powered by Unreal Engine 3D software.
“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.”
In addition, the cabin is brimming with soft-touch plastics, authentic cowhide, ambient lighting, and premium stitching. Of course, other tech features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, overhead USB ports (prevents track camera wires from “draping across the cabin,” said Ford), and a 12-speaker B&O audio system are available.
Advanced Safety Features
The 2024 Ford Mustang is home to the brand’s next-generation driver assistance technology, similar to what you’ll find in the all-electric Mustang Mach-E. It has speed sign recognition, intelligent adaptive cruise control, lane centering assist, evasive steer assist, and reverse brake assist, to mention a few. Active pothole mitigation and Stolen Vehicle Services are new to the Ford Mustang, and the latter is part of the standard FordPass mobility app and connected services.
Ford Mustang Dark Horse: Racetrack Ready
The newest S650 Mustang commemorates the marquee’s dedication to racing with the launch of Mustang Dark Horse. Ford claims the Dark Horse Mustangs are the most precise and track-focused editions of any Mustang to date, and both will feature a higher-output variant of the Gen IV Coyote V8.
“We’ve taken the all-new Mustang, the best of our new 5.0-liter V8 performance, and added power, improved the aero, tires, steering, and provided an interactive cockpit to create a Mustang that goes beyond any 5.0-liter Mustang before it,” said Ed Krenz, Mustang chief nameplate engineer.
Again, Ford is unwilling to reveal performance numbers, but the Dark Horse Mustang has race-proven goodies to make any muscle car lover scream in delight. For starters, a bespoke Tremec six-speed manual stick with a 3D-printed titanium shift ball is standard fare, but you can also have a 10-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Additionally, the Performance Package comes standard and includes an auxiliary engine cooler, transmission oil cooler, a lighter radiator, and more robust cooling fans.
Setting it apart from a regular pony car are new badges and logos, darkened LED headlights, a gloss black grille, a new lower front bumper with high gloss “fangs,” a fixed rear spoiler, and darkened exhaust tips, among many others. Dark Horse Mustangs also get a Torsen limited-slip differential, larger rear anti-roll bars, heavy-duty front dampers, a strut tower brace, a rear K-brace, magnetic suspension, 19-inch Brembo brakes, and staggered-fit 19-inch wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero PZ4 tires. Other performance-oriented features like an electronic drift brake are unique to the Dark Horse Mustang and are essential for drivers wishing to hone their drifting skills.
Ford is preparing two track-only versions (meaning neither are street legal) of the Mustang Dark Horse: Dark Horse S and Dark Horse R. The former is a true-blue track machine for muscle car enthusiasts, but the latter is for professional racing.
2024 Ford Mustang: Pricing & Availability
Ford will reveal more about the 2024 Mustang in the coming months, including the starting MSRP, trim variants, and standard equipment. We expect the first deliveries by the summer of 2023.
Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.