Ford Stays True to ICE with 7th Gen Mustang Muscle

Traditionalists will welcome the seventh generation of the venerable Ford Mustang boasting a new more powerful 5.0-liter V8 gasoline engine and a track focused Dark Horse variant.

While Ford has yet to release just how many ponies are on offer with the new Gen IV engine, it does promote a nod to fuel and CO2 efficiency claiming it should see up to 31.1mpg (26.1mpg US) and 260-275 g/km emissions. The automaker also claims more power thanks to upgraded hardware, software and tuning.

Up to six interactive and customizable drive modes tailor performance capabilities across a variety of driving conditions: Normal, Sport, Slippery, Drag, Track 2 and a setting with multiple available profiles. As each mode is selected, high-fidelity graphics in the digital instrument panel bring the mode to life.

Also driving responsiveness has been enhanced by reduced compliance from steering wheel to tire, while a quicker steering ratio enhances the new car’s cornering. Rev-matching, which holds engine revs when the clutch is engaged to retain peak torque between manual gear changes is standard on the GT version, delivering even more precision.

The GT comes with a choice of Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual transmission. A standard Performance Pack includes 19-inch alloy wheels, a sport limited-slip differential for increased traction, 19-inch Brembo brakes and an Active Valve Exhaust that delivers adjustable engine sounds to suit the driving scenario. Optional MagneRide active suspension monitors conditions one thousand times per second and uses an electronically-controlled fluid to match damping resistance to the road conditions.

Dark Horse Mustang

Mustang Dark Horse comes as standard with the Performance Package enabling the brand’s “Track Sprint” capability requirements. A key enabler of this includes an auxiliary engine oil cooler, transmission oil cooler (with automatic transmission) a unique and lighter weight radiator with greater heat soak rejection, plus more powerful cooling fans to improve endurance and recovery, and rear axle cooler. A standard Torsen limited-slip differential maximizes the available traction for improved acceleration and cornering balance.

This package also includes unique chassis tuning, larger rear anti-roll bars and heavy-duty front dampers, 19-inch Brembo front fixed-piston brakes with larger rotors, strut tower brace, rear K‑brace, staggered fitting wheels (19 x 9-inch front and 19 x 9.5-inch rear wheels), plus Pirelli P Zero PZ4 tires. MagneRide active suspension comes as standard for best performance in both road and track conditions.

An electronic drift brake brings new technology to the racetrack, unlocking the rear-wheel drive drifting capability of Mustang with the visual appeal and functionality of a traditional, mechanical handbrake. The Performance Electronic Parking Brake is engineered for both novice drivers to learn and improve their drift skills and providing expert drivers with a competition-ready system.

Mustang Dark Horse also features visual upgrades designed to reflect its position as the pinnacle of the seventh-generation and increase track capability. Jim Farley, CEO of Ford Motor Company, said: “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, 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 $50Bn in electric vehicles through 2026.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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