By Steve & Tamami Laser
When Ford rolled out the all-electric Mustang Mach-E last year, we wondered what the next Mustang® car might look like? Would it go bolder and deliver a totally new look? Or would it go retro, and bring back styling cues from the past? With the reveal of the 2024 Mustang this week in Detroit, the answer is, well, both.
We imagine the conundrum that designers faced when drafting the styling for the seventh generation models. If they took a radically different design approach, would Mustang’s huge fan base approve? (We remember the Mustang II launch in 1974).
As it turns out, designers did embark on a bold new road, without losing sight of Mustang’s amazing heritage. Meanwhile, the new Mustang stays true to its roots and continues with a rear-wheel-drive platform, powered by turbocharged and naturally aspirated gasoline internal combustion engines, and offers a choice of two-door coupe and convertible body styles.
Design Analysis – Creating the Seventh Generation
The illustrations below (courtesy of Ford), call out key design elements for the new Mustang EcoBoost® coupe and GT convertible (both wearing optional 19-inch wheels).
- A lowered beltline in the side view balances the Mustang with less wedge and more muscle
- The all-new bodyside offers a sheer, chiseled section with no undercuts between shelf and lower door
- Horizontal brow emphasizes frontal visual width
- Grille periphery between harkens back to original Gen 1 ’64-’67
- The shark-nose grille allows a long hood, emphasized by the chamfered corners in plan view
- GT has a unique, aggressive fascia with larger side outboard grilles
- Both EcoBoost and GT front fascias have wider corners which enhance visual width and improve aerodynamics
- A sharp undercut at the rear deck and fascia amplifies the sharp, chiseled edginess, while maintaining the heritage inspired design
- The light catcher section gives extra prominence to lower door/rocker feature
- Tri-Bar taillights are neither ornate nor discrete; this no-nonsense execution harkens back to the Mustang’s straightforward “pony-car” roots
- Sharpness and attitude of rear fascia feature line enhances side view drama and adds visual width from a rear view
The new Mustang Dark Horse™ model, shown above in design development, gets its own unique look, with bold shadow graphic surrounds on darkened LED headlights, a gloss black grille with “trapezoidal nostrils,” a special lower front bumper with high-gloss “fangs,” lower side skirts, a fixed rear wing, race-inspired diffuser, and darkened quad exhaust.
What’s Under the Hood?
In the powertrain department, Mustang offers a new EcoBoost 4-cylinder, 2.4-liter, turbocharged engine, while the GT features a new generation 5.0-liter Coyote™ V8.
Transmission choices include a 6-speed manual (with rev-matching on GT), or 10-speed automatic, with Drive Modes. An optional Performance Pack includes a front tower brace, Torsen® Limited Slip differential, MagneRide active suspension, and larger Brembo™ brakes.
Ford says the Mustang Dark Horse V8 is projected to offer 500 horsepower. When fitted with an available Handling Package, it’s said to be the “most track-capable 5.0-liter V8 street-legal Mustang ever,” thanks to improved aerodynamics, upgraded hardware, new software and tuning, with a 6-speed manual gearbox. The 10-speed automatic includes sport paddle shifters.
New High-Tech Interior
The new Mustang’s interior goes high-tech with a 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster and customized displays. For the ultimate digital cockpit, it can be optionally configured to flow with a 13.2-inch SYNC® 4 center display, both positioned behind a single pane of glass. A B&O® Sound System and wireless mobile phone charger are also available.
Cool features include the ability for the instrument cluster to display various animated designs, including drive-mode visuals.
Ford says that based on the same Unreal Engine 3D creation tool used in video games, when selecting personalized drive mode settings, the Mustang’s current setup is displayed in real-time graphics.
By selecting the GT Performance Pack, customers can opt for the comfort and support of Recaro® front seats. Mustangs are equipped with Ford Co-Pilot360™ driver assistance features, including Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go, Lane Centering Assist, Evasive Steer Assist, Reverse Brake Assist, and Speed Sign Recognition.
2024 Mustang street models are expected to begin U.S. sales in the summer of 2023.
Dark Horse Leads New Track Models
Ford says that the intro of the Dark Horse includes a broader launch for six new racing models planned to compete on the track and in global racing events such as GT3, GT4, NASCAR and NHRA Factory X races.
Track-only Mustang Dark Horse S is designed for track day enthusiasts, with “non-essential” parts removed. An FIA-certified safety cage, safety nets, racing seat, safety belts and race steering wheel with quick disconnect are installed. Meanwhile, Dark Horse R gains serialization for racing, plus strategic seam welding, a fuel cell, and Ford Performance Parts wheels.
Also slated to roll out during the next year is an all-new Mustang GT3 IMSA. Built by Ford Performance and Multimatic, the racing car is powered by a 5.4-liter Coyote-based V8. In addition, a new Mustang GT4 is also planned for the 2023 season, and offered for global GT4 classes in IMSA, SRO, and FIA GT.
Ford adds that a new version of the Mustang will debut next season in the Australian Supercars series. And new models are also planned in the years to come for the NASCAR Cup series and NHRA Factory X racing. Ford also plans a return to Le Mans, with the Mustang GT3, said to be eligible for racing at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2024.
Note: Preproduction models with optional equipment, along with development vehicles and design illustrations are shown above. Features, specifications and launch timing for future U.S. regular production and special racing models is subject to change without notice
News sources and photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company and Ford Performance
Story (intro and commentary) © 2022 CarNichiWa.com