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Preview: 2024 Ford Mustang injects modern tech into the traditional pony car

The Ford Mustang started the pony car segment when it hit the market in 1964. Now, it will carry the torch for that segment in an automotive market switching to electric vehicles.

On Wednesday, Ford introduced the 2024 Mustang at the Detroit auto show. The iconic pony car will continue on the same platform with a revised look, a pair of gas engines—including the requisite V-8 with up to 500 hp—and a tech-laden interior to attract a new generation of connected buyers. It also adds two cool new features to show off to your friends: Remote Rev and an Electronic Drift Brake.

2024 Ford Mustang

Ford has the Mustang Mach-E crossover to carry the torch for the EV market, but the 2024 Mustang coupe and convertible get updated versions of its previous gas engines. The base 2.3-liter turbo-4 in EcoBoost models adds port and direct injection, gets a higher compression ratio and higher thermal efficiency, and reduces internal friction to make more power and deliver better fuel efficiency. Ford isn’t stating power or fuel economy figures yet, but the current 2.3-liter makes 310 hp or 330 hp with a Performance Pack and gets up to 25 mpg combined.

The revisions to the 5.0-liter V-8 in GT models include a new dual-airbox intake to feed dual electronic throttle bodies and feed more air to the plenum intake manifold. It also has a longer duration exhaust camshaft to handle the increased airflow, and it continues with port and direct injection. The 5.0-liter V-8 in the 2022 Mustang makes 450 hp in the GT and 470 hp in the Mach I. Ford said it’s targeting 500 hp in the 2024 Dark Horse model. Transmission choices will once again be a 10-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual with rev matching for both engines.

2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse

2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse

Ford said there will be three Dark Horse models: Dark Horse, Dark Horse S, and Dark Horse R. Shy on details, the automaker said the S model will be a track day car while the R model will be built around a marque-specific race series.

2024 Ford Mustang race cars

2024 Ford Mustang race cars

The 7th-generation Mustang will go racing across the spectrum participating in NASCAR, GT3, and GT4 classes. Ford mentioned the Mustang will specifically race at the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

2024 Ford Mustang

2024 Ford Mustang

2024 Ford Mustang

2024 Ford Mustang

2024 Ford Mustang

2024 Ford Mustang

While the new internally coded S650-generation Mustang was rumored to switch platforms to the CD6 rear- and all-wheel-drive architecture from the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Navigator, it instead stays on the Mustang-specific DC2 platform that’s served the car since 2015. However, Mustang Vehicle Engineering Manager Eddie Kahn told Motor Authority that Ford revised several parts, including the aluminum lower control arms, rear suspension links, shocks, springs, and stabilizer bars, all with the goal of providing better dynamics and responsiveness. Ford also revised the steering system with a stiffer rack and and a faster 15.5:1 steering ratio versus 16.0:1 for the last model.

2024 Ford Mustang

2024 Ford Mustang

An optional Performance Pack for both the GT and EcoBoost adds a front strut tower brace and a Torsen limited-slip differential. Performance Pack cars can also get a magnetic suspension, wider rear wheels and tires, larger brakes, Recaro bucket seats, and an active exhaust. The GT Performance Pack also gets brake ducts and an auxiliary engine oil cooler for better cooling. Ford mentioned a Handling Package for the Dark Horse model but didn’t elaborate.

Ford will offer three upgraded brake options. The top version, offered for Performance Pack cars, will feature 6-piston front calipers clamping down on 15.4-inch rotors and 4-piston rear calipers with 14.0-inch rear rotors. All of the calipers are by Brembo and will be available in three colors: black, red, or Grabber Blue.

2024 Ford Mustang

2024 Ford Mustang

The exterior design is an evolution of the throwback look Ford adopted in 2005 and has evolved since. All the body panels are new, and Ford says it will have more downforce than the outgoing model and the lowest coefficient of drag for a Mustang yet. The car gets a lower beltline, which should aid outward vision, more pronounced rear haunches, smoother flanks without as many creases, and revised front and rear fascias with a new take on the Mustang’s tri-bar lighting theme. The noses of the 2.3 and GT models will be unique. Compared to the 2.3, the GT will have struts in the traditional Mustang grille, taller intakes at the corners, and a standard louvered hood vent. Profile images of all seven generations of Mustang will line up along the lower rear glass as one of the car’s Easter eggs. A Bronze Design Series Appearance package will come with bronze alloy wheels and badges.

2024 Ford Mustang

2024 Ford Mustang

2024 Ford Mustang

2024 Ford Mustang

2024 Ford Mustang

2024 Ford Mustang

Inside, the new Mustang goes for revolution. The big change is a healthy injection of technology. Every Mustang will come with a 12.4-inch screen for the digital instrument cluster and a 13.2-inch infotainment touchscreen. The screens will be separated on the base model, but other models will connect them under a single piece of glass, even though the touchscreen angles toward the driver.

The screens will run Ford’s Sync 4 infotainment interface and be configurable. Ford will include five themes for the instrument cluster: Normal, Sport, Track, Calm, and Fox Body, each with a different digital layout. Fox Body will take on the analog look of the beloved Fox body Mustangs built from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. A MyMustang mode will allow drivers to pull up a three- or five-gauge digital auxiliary gauge layout on the center screen. Another Easter egg? The track icon shown in the Track drive mode display will be Michigan’s Grattan Raceway. The other modes will consist of Normal, Sport, Slippery, Drag, and a customizable setting with up to six individual profiles.

2024 Ford Mustang

2024 Ford Mustang

The interior also gets a thicker, flat-bottom steering wheel and improved materials with more soft-touch surfaces and contrast stitching. A new Carmine Red interior color will be offered, and the seats will range from cloth in the base version to cloth and vinyl or to vinyl and leather.

In addition to the line lock and launch control functions of previous Mustangs, owners will have access to two new cool gadgets. The first is an Electronic Drift Brake. It’s an electronic parking brake that the driver controls with a different take on a parking brake handle. Instead of a straight handle, it has a 90-degree bend, and it can be enabled by an icon on the center screen. When used, it automatically puts the car in Track driving mode, and lets drivers control the parking brake like a pro drifter. That’s no coincidence as Ford worked with noted drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr. to develop it.

2024 Ford Mustang

2024 Ford Mustang

The other new feature is a party trick to show off to the neighbors. It’s called Remote Rev and it lets owners not only start the car remotely but also use the key fob to rev the engine and hear its fury.

On the safety front, the new Mustang gets adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, speed limit sign recognition, active lane control, evasive steering assist, and front and rear automatic emergency braking. Performance Pack cars also have Active Pothole Mitigation, which monitors the suspension, body, and steering and braking inputs, and adjusts the suspension to lessen the impact of potholes.

2024 Ford Mustang family

2024 Ford Mustang family

The 2024 Ford Mustang will hit dealerships in early summer 2023. Full specs and pricing will be released closer to the market launch.

For more coverage from Detroit, check out our dedicated hub.

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