This is the 2024 Ford Mustang, probably the last Ford Pony to be built according to the mold that the original laid out in 1964, and almost certainly the only car that will let you rev up its V8 by pressing the key fob while parked on the curb.
Unveiled today at the 2022 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the first new Mustang in nine years should find plenty of fans among current car owners. The styling is very similar, again inspired by its predecessors built between 1964-1970, and the powertrain still consists of a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder and 5.0-liter naturally-aspirated Coyote V8. The hybrid engines and all-wheel drive transmission options that Ford were rumored to be working on are nowhere to be seen.
But that doesn’t mean Ford hasn’t moved the Mustang game. The 2024 gets some significant styling and hardware updates that Dearborn managers hope will finally help it outpace the aging but incredibly popular Dodge Challenger on North American sales charts even before the Stellantis sends its Mustang rival to the combustion graveyard.
“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 Ford CEO Jim Farley, clearly trolling his opposite number at Dodge.
Evolved, Sharper Styling
The 2024 car, codenamed S650, is instantly recognisable as a Mustang, but the styling is updated with Tri-Bar LED headlamps and wider rear arches to give a more muscular stance. Once again there’s a choice of convertible and fastback coupe body styles, and this time the fastback has a longer roofline that Ford says was created to make it easier to get in and out while wearing a helmet. Sounds good to us, because even if you never get near a track, it means Ford has given the ’24 car’s handling some serious attention.
For the first time it will be easy to distinguish between 2.3-liter EcoBoost and 5.0-liter GT cars when they cruise up behind leaving you wondering whether or not you’d be able to drop them. The V8 GT cars get a different front-end design with the upper portion split into three sections, and the lower intakes enlarged to feed the 32-valve motor, plus new hood vents and a redesigned front splitter.
Both models though, are available with a Bronze Design Series appearance package that brings Sinister Bronze wheels and bronze badges, and an optional Performance Pack that consists of a front strut brace, Torsen LSD, 390-mm front- and 355-mm rear Brembo brakes, and wider rear wheels and tires. Performance Pack cars can be further optioned with MagneRide adaptive dampers, Recaro seats and an active exhaust.
GT cars with the Performance Pack also get brake cooling ducts, an oil cooler, something called Active Pothole Mitigation, and one of the Mustang’s most intriguing features: an electronic drift brake. What looks like an old fashioned mechanical hand brake actually operates the rear stoppers using electric motors, and says Ford, is “engineered for novice drivers to learn and improve their drift skills while also providing expert drivers with a competition-ready system.” Get ready for a heap more Mustang crash videos from next summer.
Base cars ride on 17-inch wheels, while GTs enjoy an upgrade to standard 19s, with 20-inchers only an option tick away. Other personalization options come in the form of three available Brembo brake caliper colors, and 11 exterior paint choices that can be complemented by new stripe colors and designs.
Retro On The Outside, All-New On The Inside
Some of the biggest 2024 Mustang changes, unsurprisingly, take place inside the cabin, which definitely looks like its been taking a peek at BMW’s homework. The new car gets a high-resolution configurable 12.4-inch digital instrument pack with the option of extending the display by adding a 13.2-inch SYNC 4 touchscreen complete with Amazon Alexa.
The result is a dramatic departure from previous Mustangs’ retro-style cabins, but it brings the pony car bang up to date, the quality appears good, and the graphics are incredibly clear thanks to Ford’s use of the same Unreal Engine 3D tech responsible for the way your favorite video games look. There are still a few hard keys, but most controls have migrated to the touchscreen, a move Ford claims was supported by existing Mustang owners it surveyed, and not just millennials.
Other modern touches include a flat-bottom steering wheel, optional wireless phone charging pad, and a full suite of safety systems including adaptive cruise, road sign recognition and Reverse Brake Assist.
You even get USB ports located above your head so you can attach trackday action cameras and other devices to the windshield without having wires draped hanging everywhere. Cloth seats are standard, with Premium models gaining accented stitching on the instrument panel and door trim, while GT models get leather seat inserts.
Familiar 4-Cylinder And V8 Engines, Now With Extra Oomph
Which leaves the engines. And in a way, there’s both good and bad news. Bad news in that there are no major advances here, but good because that means we still get to buy a Mustang with a naturally-aspirated V8 and manual transmission for a few years yet.
Ford hasn’t yet revealed how much power the new 2.3 and 5.0 engine make, but says the V8 has an “innovative dual air intake box and dual-throttle body” that improves airflow, and claims the V8 will be the Mustang GT’s most powerful standard V8 yet. That means the new GT needs to do better than the 460 hp (466 PS) and 420 lb-ft (569 Nm) provided by the current car before it lost 10 hp (10 PS) due to emissions regulations for the 2022 model year. We’d also like to see the EcBoost improve on its 310 hp (314 PS) and 350 lb-ft (476 Nm) totals.
The 10-speed speed automatic is bound to be a popular option for both cars, but could you really choose it knowing you’d just turned down the last ever manual transmission available on a Ford Mustang? As before, the six-speed stick-shift manual comes with rev-matching software.
When Does It Go On Sale?
The all-new Mustang goes on sale in the U.S. starting in the summer of 2023. Prices will be announced later. What do you think of the 2024 ‘Stang? Has Ford done enough, or has it gone too far, especially with that interior? And would you buy one over a Dodge Challenger? Leave a comment and let us know.