Featuring the most powerful naturally-aspirated V8 in a base GT model, this is the Mustang to own for new enthusiasts still looking for a slice of Detroit muscle magic
Everyone’s favourite muscle car classic received a new update this Wednesday, as the Mustang two-door coupe welcomed its seventh generation at a Ford event in Detroit, Michigan.
Despite the Mach-E release from 2020-21, Ford has decided to toss out the capacitors for an all-petrol approach this year, offering two engines depending on how much gas you’d like to guzzle.
The new ‘Stang comes with a 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine for practical fans of the platform, while those looking for the full-beans experience can pick up the beefy naturally-aspirated 5.0-litre V8 Coyote engine — both of which are slightly upgraded versions of the previous gens’ powerplants. Both variants will be available in a coupe and convertible form.
While power and mileage figures aren’t out yet, Ford claims that the four-cylinder is more efficient than the outgoing model, while the new V8 is the most powerful naturally aspirated engine of its kind offered with a base model Mustang GT.
“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,” Ford CEO Jim Farley said in a statement. This rather interestingly echoes Ford’s 2017 statements regarding a push for hybrid vehicles — instead, the American carmaker has focused on all-electric platforms such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E SUV and Ford F-150 Lighting pickup truck.
These projects allowed Ford to sidestep the hybrid route for the Mustang when it came to matching emissions targets. Rival brand Dodge, which will bid farewell to the iconic Challenger in 2023, won’t be so fortunate.
With a few slight changes to the exterior, some fans complained that the model was ‘too close’ to the previous Mustang, although there are big changes on the inside. Ford has finally ditched traditional gauges in favour of a large screen, divided into a front dash and driver-angled central console. While long-time enthusiasts might find this jarring, the dash itself is highly customisable — with an option to display Fox Body Gauges reminiscent of the original 1980s Mustangs.
The car also comes with a host of features including active cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, and emergency braking, although it forgoes ‘Blue Cruise’, Ford’s hands-free highway driving feature. According to Ford Communications Director Mike Levine, the company felt that Mustang owners would much rather keep their hands on the wheel.
In line with this motorhead line of thinking is another neat feature — the ability to rev up your engine using the key fob, of all things. Wholly impractical and definitely fun, it’s sure to put a smile on the faces of many Mustang owners — although I think their neighbours would be less amused. Another neat addition is the introduction of parking brake ‘modes’, which allow for regular use or ‘drifting’ modes, likely derived from the marque’s success in recent Formula Drift outings.
From Shelby editions to Boss, Bullitt, and more models, Mustangs have a long legacy associated with special editions, and the Seventh Gen is no exception.
Sinister, mean, and easily the best-looking variant on offer, the new Dark Horse features a host of track-focused features that make it the must-have muscle car of the 2020s.
Engine upgrades include a set of special piston connecting rods borrowed from the 770 PS Shelby GT500, along with a dual throttle-body design with enlarged front air intakes, both of which can (theoretically) increase power figures and engine responsiveness.
The biggest changes, however, come in the form of aero and handling packages. For starters, there’s a generous 19-inch Brembo brake setup, with six pistons per calliper and 13.9 inch rotors, mated to carbon fibre rims, Pirelli Trofeo RS tires, and MagneRide adaptive dampers. On the rear, you’ll notice a chunky fixed spoiler, as well as quad-tipped tailpipes and a prominent diffuser to increase downforce on high-speed corners.
Apart from the Dark Horse’s two-track and race-focused variants, Ford has decided to take performance extremely seriously for 2023-24, by announcing a host of championship-specific cars for the calendar ahead. These include a Mustang GT3 Mustang IMSA set to debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona in ‘24, a Mustang GT4 car for the IMSA SRO and FIA GT championships, as well as models for Australia’s Supercars championship, NASCAR Cup series, and NHRA Factory X racing — all pictured above.
Lead Image: Ford