Ford introduced its seventh-generation Mustang at the Detroit auto show on Wednesday. Contrary to Dodge’s latest electric muscle car in the Challenger Daytona, this generation of Mustang will stay gasoline powered, but will draw from the fast and electric Ford’s that came before.
But not under the hood. The engine bay will look familiar in the 2024 Mustang with two options. The 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine will continue in the less expensive models while the iconic 5.0-liter V8 will find a home in the Mustang GT.
The 5.0-liter engine will make this generation’s GT the most powerful Mustang ever, Ford says, though it won’t be revealing the exact amount until closer to its launch in 2023. The current model makes 450 horsepower.
Ford also didn’t reveal horsepower for the smaller engine but did say both will offer a six-speed manual transmission or a 10-speed automatic transmission.
The Performance Pack returns with upgraded parts including a front strut tower brace, limited slip differential, MagneRide adjustable suspension, wider wheels and bigger brakes. The GT Performance Pack adds more cooling and active exhaust. Speaking of exhaust, the 2024 Mustang will come with a Remote Rev feature that allows owners to rev the engine from the key fob.
“The Mustang has stood the test of time and is cemented as one of the most recognizable and iconic nameplates in the auto industry, despite its relatively modest sales figures today,” Paul Waatti, manager of industry analysis at AutoPacific told Newsweek. “It has a proven recipe that Ford was careful not to totally rewrite in its seventh generation.”
For the first time the Mustang GT will get a different front fascia than the lesser models. As expected the GT looks much more aggressive while the version with the four-cylinder looks more restrained, but still like a Mustang.
“Mustang is not just an American icon, it’s a global icon. And we have a lot of international designers,” Chris Walter, Ford exterior designer said at a press event. “But it doesn’t matter where they are, they know a Mustang has long beautiful hood and a short deck, and all of the details.”
“So, the seventh-gen Mustang is a modern interpretation of the heritage classic and we’re setting out to capture our broadest Mustang customer base so that we can learn to appeal to that new generation of buyers,” he said.
The new Mustang draws on heritage, but it also takes enthusiast and technology cues from the Focus RS, the Ford GT and even the electric Mustang Mach-E crossover.
Starting with tech, the new Mustang comes with the Sync 4 infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The central screen including the animations is backed by the Unreal video game engine. That means when you see the graphic representation of the Mustang and parts are changing color to note if they’re in normal, sport or track mode, it’s brought to you by the same programming that made the popular video game Fortnight.
“That’s a real-time render vehicle and that helps reinforce the selection capabilities throughout the custom modes. We’re using the vehicle and the visuals to help reinforce what they’re changing as they’re seeing the exhaust, suspension and steering,” Craig Sandvig, Ford Mustang interaction design manager said at a press event in Dearborn.
“For the Track Apps, a lot of the development work by the engineering team was done at Grattan racetrack. So that’s why we want to have a little bit of reference to that on the track icon. And what we’re really proud of is the way this entire team blended the exterior interior and digital space all together.”
Mechanically, Ford borrowed its Drift Stick from the now-gone Focus RS. That special parking brake handle works electronically in Track Mode to lock up the rear wheels instantly. That makes the back end slide, which can then be coerced into smoky drifts. That’s when the car slides at an angle while the rear tires continue to spin.
The rectangle 13.2-inch touchscreen glass in the center uses many of the same functions of the Mach-E, though it ditches the screen-mounted volume button for one mounted lower. The drive modes change the themes, colors and moods like the Mach-E, both on the central screen and the connected 12.4-inch digital driver information cluster. In less expensive models the screens are separate, but still digital.
“We really wanted to allow the customers to choose between the three different things that they’re seeing. We also looked at our own lineup like the Ford GT for inspiration for stuff like Track Mode,” Sandvig said.
“On the right, speed is sort of tucked away and gear is front and center. This is stuff that we really want to embrace for the track experience. We also looked at the Mustang Mach-E, so we want to continue developing the Ford Smart surface design language, which is a combination of the 2D and 3D elements but also integrated with the copper theme.”
The gauges have more customization too, including both digital and analog looks from the Ford GT. There are several options for looking at the tachometer and speed, while the central screen can display classic looking round gauges in three or five parts. Buyers can also customize the gauges to look like the 1980s Fox Body Mustang.
The flat-bottom steering wheel is standard, as are cloth seats. Microsuede and leather inserts are optional; top models get a full leather steering wheel and perforated seats. Several interior color options are offered to go with the 11 exterior paint options. Wheels range from 17 to 20 inches.
“The 2024 Mustang addresses two of the major pain points from the current model: interior and tech. The cabin is a thoughtful mix of Mustang heritage and modern styling with a driver-focused cockpit that integrates a slick dual screen layout,” said Waatti. “The move to a new electrical architecture that enables over-the-air updates and more advanced driver assistance system features is a big step forward for the new generation.”
On the list of Ford Co-Pilot360 safety features like Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go, Lane Centering Assist, Evasive Steer Assist and Reverse Brake Assist, Ford didn’t mention its hands-free, eyes up BlueCruise driving system that works on prescreened roads in the U.S. and Canada. But it seems to have all the hardware, and will be getting frequent over-the-air updates so it could come at a later date.
There was no price quoted, but the current base EcoBoost Mustang with the 2.3-liter engine starts at $27,470 and the least expensive V8 GT is $38,045.
“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,” said Jim Farley, CEO of Ford Motor Company in a press release. “Ford, however, is turbocharging its ICE growth plan, adding connected technology, opinionated derivatives, and hybrid options to our most profitable and popular cars.”