After a teasing campaign, Ford presents the 7th generation of Mustang and reveals the Dark Horse label. The pony car perpetuates the tradition perfectly, for a last stand full of American automotive passion. The argus was at the Detroit Motor Show to discover it exclusively.
It was in Dearborn, very close to Detroit, in the heart of Ford’s headquarters, that we were able to meet the new and 7e generation of the legendary Mustang, known internally under the code name S650. The current model is a huge success, it remains for 7 years the best-selling sports coupe in the world and it allowed the model to pass the milestone of 10 million copies sold over 6 generations. Suffice to say that it was a big challenge for Ford: to renew its pony car, a true icon of American automotive culture. It carries on a tradition of muscle cars that dates back nearly 60 years, when Ford brainstormed a car that might appeal to baby boomers. It was therefore necessary to find the right formula so as not to disappoint aficionados, as was the case for certain generations in the past.
A restyled Mustang? Nope !
Ford did not take big risks for this latest all-thermal version, like an ultra-classic last stand. Fans shouldn’t get lost in it, with typical Mustang proportions with its long hood, its large coupe line (or 4-seater convertible) and its instantly recognizable rear. One could almost believe in a major restyling at first glance, but there is absolutely no common bodywork part with the current model. Very slender, the Mustang 2023 (2024 even according to the American nomenclature) is refined and plays on a tapered design with protruding edges, in particular on the side line of force and the rear wing. Of course, we find the famous galloping pony instead of Ford’s blue oval.
Almost sober in EcoBoost version with the bronze pack, the Mustang 2023.
This slightly metallic color is the most beautiful effect on the GT version.
The convertible, in GT version, remains a call to hit the road in the USA.
The GT V8 version can be recognized by its differentiated front end and the presence of a (functional) air extractor in the middle of the bonnet. In both cases, the designers preferred to play with a form of sobriety and finesse rather than excessive aggressiveness. And the result appeals, after a first period of adaptation necessary to take the measure of the proportions and the delicacy, almost unexpected of the whole. At the rear, the typical vertical triple LED lights adopt a very marked crease that creates a shadow giving the car the impression of being lower, while the dimensions are almost unchanged from the current model.
A cabin inspired by video games
Inside, the change is more striking with the arrival of a very beautiful double screen of 12.4 » and 13.2 » with particularly impressive graphics. Ford is clearly seeking to appeal to a younger clientele more inspired by video games with this playful car par excellence. It is also the ultra-powerful tool for creating 3D images, Unreal Engine, which signs the very impressive animations of the screens. The set is based on a QNX architecture. Naturally, all this also gives the possibility of customizing the displays to your liking, according to many criteria. The instrumentation can take on different aspects, ranging from a racing car atmosphere to an ultra minimalist mode so as not to interfere with night driving, a bit like the screens of Saabs of yesteryear.
However, there are still physical buttons on the new flat three-spoke steering wheel or the center console (here sensitive with haptic feedback), just to not lose the current clientele, very loyal to the USA. The dashboard offers a very neat design and materials like the level of finish take a big leap forward here, even on board our pre-series examples. On the other hand, it loses in passing its typical double bump. The handbrake on the left side of the central console, very close to the driver, is also the magic command for a new drift mode under electronic control, enough to have fun at the wheel (on the circuit), even for the most novices. It will also be possible to start the Mustang and make the engine howl remotely with the key’s remote control. Who said Americans were big kids?
Timid technical developments
If the body and interior are 100% new, the current generation technical platform (6e) has been largely preserved here, except for suspension arrangements (redesigned wishbones, revised shock absorbers) and steering (new rack) in particular. The Mustang 7 also remains very traditional under its hood, simply receiving upgrades to the two current engines, the 2.3 EcoBoost 4-cylinder turbo and above all, the atmospheric Coyote 5.0 V8 gaining power to reach more than 580 hp (the complete technical sheet n is not revealed at this stage), available in 6-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission.
For Europe, only the V8 will be imported, enough to satisfy die-hard American sports enthusiasts. It will have access to the Performance pack which incorporates the active Magneride suspension, the Torsen differential, stiffness reinforcements, larger tires and large Brembo brakes in 390 and 355 mm diameter front and rear. In the GT version, additional brake cooling ducts and an oil cooler are added. Recaro bucket seats can complete the sporty panoply as an option. More pragmatically, the Mustang of 7e generation will also offer a whole range of driving aids, such as semi-autonomous driving with stop & go in traffic jams, as well as an active pothole reaction system for versions with active suspension.
A Dark Horse label for the Mustang
During the XXL show revealing the Mustang 7, bringing together owners of previous generations and the press, Ford had a surprise for all motorsport enthusiasts. The Mustang will inaugurate a new label called Dark Horse, signing the most efficient version of the range. Touted as the best-prepared version for the track, the Mustang Dark Horse, recognizable by its new anodized logo, will offer 500 hp, reworked aerodynamics, specific tires and steering, beefier mechanical cooling capacity and a cockpit with functionalities. adapted. An S version, even more radical and not homologated for the road, will be the basis of the models entered in GT3, GT4 and Nascar. We can expect to see it drive in customer competition during the 2024 24 Hours of Daytona, in GT3 with an engine increased to 5.4. Something to perpetuate the legend.
The Dark Horse version adopts a much more aggressive front face.
A large spoiler completes the aerodynamic racing outfit of the Dark Horse.
The new badge shows a horse’s head seen from the front.
Different versions from the Dark Horse are called to join different championships.
Launch in Europe in fall 2023
The Mustang 7 will be produced in the Flat Rock (Michigan) plant and will be launched before next summer in the USA and at the start of the 2023 school year in Europe. We can expect here a price of around €60,000 for its basic V8 model, real collector in the making.