“Investing in another generation of Mustang is a big statement at a time when many of our competitors are exiting the internal combustion engine business,” said Ford CEO Jim Farley in a statement.
While its competitors are dropping gas-powered performance coupes like the Dodge Challenger, the fuel-burning Mustang will carry on, said Kumar Galhotra, who heads Ford Blue’s internal combustion-engine vehicle-focused division.
“We made this investment because we see there will be a market for internal combustion engine Mustangs for the foreseeable future,” he said.
Ford’s competitor, General Motors, has set 2035 as the deadline when its lineup will be all-electric, but Ford hasn’t made a similar commitment in the United States.
While the 2024 Mustang Coupe has an all-new body, it’s clearly reminiscent of previous models. The headlights appear narrower and in this new version have three light bars in a line forming virtual eyebrows. The trunk area is also shorter, and the area housing the taillights is pulled in deeply, giving the lights a natural V-shape. The grille is significantly larger on V8 vehicles than on 4-cylinder models. The V8-powered Mustang GT cars also have a large “heat vent” in the hood that not only releases air coming through the radiator but also reduces drag.
While the car’s exterior closely resembles traditional Mustang design, the interior is radically different. A single large screen replaces traditional gauges and doubles as the central touchscreen. The half of the screen not directly in front of the driver is angled towards the driver. The highly detailed on-screen gauges and graphics are highly customizable, as are most interior car lights.
For those looking to reclaim the Mustangs of their youth, Ford is appealing to Gen X and Millennials who seem to be moving away from the baby boomers who first bought the original pony car. There’s even a Fox Body Gauge option that displays dials like those on 1980’s Mustangs.
The Mustang will be available with modern driver assistance features such as active cruise control, which can maintain the distance to cars ahead even in stop-and-go traffic, lane departure warning and emergency braking. However, it won’t be offered with Blue Cruise, Ford’s hands-free highway driving feature. “There’s a sense that Mustang customers who are buying a car that’s focused on driving pleasure aren’t interested in taking their hands off the wheel,” Levine said.
For better or worse, depending on who you ask, owners of the new Mustang will be able to indulge in a favorite pastime – revving the engine while the car is stationary – without having to be in the driver’s seat. Owners can crank the engine to high RPM with just a button on the key fob remote. With each press, the motor revs up and down several times. This serves absolutely no practical function and is purely an entertainment function.
The car also has a traditional-looking parking brake that’s operated with a lever, but it’s actually an electronic parking brake of the kind usually operated with a small switch on most other vehicles. Special adjustments can enable the parking brake lever used when drifting or pushing the rear wheels sideways.
Ford also introduced a new more powerful version called the Mustang Dark Horse. Along with a 500hp V8 engine, the Mustang Dark Horse will feature various suspension upgrades, as well as dark-tinted headlight covers and other visual cues. This also includes changes to aerodynamics and cooling, such as air ducts for brake cooling and more powerful fans for the radiator. This Mustang will have special insignia showing a horse’s head facing forward, but the front will still feature a matte version of the usual Trotting Pony symbol.
Ford will also offer special track-only Dark Horse S and Dark Horse R versions, which come with safety gear like a roll cage needed for track use, but omit other unnecessary options and features, including a passenger seat. (An optional passenger seat can be added to the Mustang Dark Horse S.)