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2024 Mustang Dark Horse Has ‘A Track-Hungry Attitude’

Ford's Mustang crew has a lot to be proud of, especially the Mustang Dark Horse. Today, Torque News looks at the 2024 Dark Horse, talks to developers, and lets you in on some inside stuff.

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Amplifying the handling precision of the all-new 2024 Mustang Dark Horse, the Mustang team has created a distinctive collection of colors and materials that amplifies its dark aura and digital-age style.

“The sinister and track-hungry attitude of Mustang Dark Horse inspired us to curate colors and materials in a way that underscores the vehicle’s athleticism,” said Carrie Kennerly, Ford’s senior color and materials designer. “We spent extra time on the cockpit, ensuring the look, feel, and function of everything a performance driver could want conveys the performance Mustang Dark Horse is capable of.”

Interior Designed with Athleticism

The heart of the Mustang Dark Horse interior is its all-new anodized blue, lightweight titanium manual shift knob. The lightweight six-speed knob is hollow and does not get as hot to the touch as similar aluminum knobs in warmer weather. For customers who chose the 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission, anodized silver paddle shifters provide almost-instantaneous gearshifts with the tactile feeling of metal.

Mustang Dark Horse features a flat-bottomed steering wheel uniquely wrapped in performance suede for added grip while contrasting Bright Indigo Blue stitching adds detail across the instrument and door panels, seats, gearshift boot, and center console trim and lid. The sport-contoured steering wheel enhances the digital experience with buttons that control vehicle functions like drive mode selection, the instrument cluster, and the 13.2-inch SYNC 4 center stack, which is elegantly angled toward the driver behind a single piece of integrated glass.

The available and class-first electronic drift brake is leather-wrapped and features an anodized lever with precise action to help the driver easily modulate the rear wheels to a full lock while in track mode for sideways movement.

Special Dark Horse Appearance Package

For customers who want an even more sporty look, the Mustang Dark Horse Appearance Package includes especially bolstered Recaro performance seats featuring exclusive Deep Indigo Blue bolsters trimmed with Bright Indigo Blue accent stitching, plus black Dinamica suede in the seat’s center for improved lateral grip. Deep Indigo Blue seatbelts and distinctive seat perforations with blue accents beneath the seating surface round out the blue theme.

The design team also developed all-new color and trim surface selections. The bezels and vents were finished in Black Alley – a dark metallic gloss replacing the familiar bright silver shades found in other Mustang trim levels.

Enhancing the contemporary aesthetic of Mustang Dark Horse, interior textures have evolved from aggressive animal skin patterns to tech-inspired “white noise” and carbon fiber-inspired grains. Lasers are used to create the grain on top of the instrument panel to convey a more technical feel and reduce the amount of gloss. A carbon fiber grain wraps the front of the instrument and door panel trims and is tied to the look of the three-spoke steering wheel. All leather and vinyl-wrapped parts feature a luxury grain texture that highlights their form and amplifies the vehicle’s performance feel.

As a final touch, each Mustang Dark Horse features an instrument panel badge that includes the vehicle’s chassis number.

All-new color-shifting Blue Ember

From the outset, the design team knew Mustang Dark Horse needed a signature paint color to reinforce its name – something shadowy and sinister but complex enough to force a double take on the street. The result was Blue Ember metallic paint, a shade with special effect pigments of deep blues infused with a warm amber hue to give this exterior paint a dramatic color shift in different lights and angles.

“If color is a reflection of a vehicle’s personality, Blue Ember transforms the Mustang Dark Horse and highlights a natural saddle-color horse hidden inside the strong chiseled fastback’s exterior form,” said Kennerly. “Multiple elements are combined to give Blue Ember its intriguing and stealthy appearance that really drives home how unique Mustang Dark Horse is.”

To develop Blue Ember, the Ford Color Mastering team intermixed complementary or harmonious colors opposite each other on the color wheel. Special effect pigments are used in a higher volume than other paints to enhance the color by reflecting light to create a striking amber highlight that looks different throughout the day.

Two exclusive stripe options add to the sinister look
Underscoring the shadowy, muscular physique of the Mustang Dark Horse, available vinyl and hand-painted graphics create a cohesive visual language throughout the vehicle and artfully accentuate its performance.

The vinyl graphics accentuate the raised center of the hood and the low gloss Tarnished Dark and gloss black finish matches Dark Horse-specific parts on the vehicle. The Appearance Package gets a specialized hood vinyl graphic that builds on the base Dark Horse graphic but visually ties into the black-painted roof. In addition, a third vinyl accent color of low gloss black gives the Dark Horse an even more threatening look.

Premium-painted stripe graphics are the Mustang team’s expression of the ultimate Dark Horse. Inspired by airflow over the vehicle, the painted stripes carry the gloss black finish from the center of the grille through the hood extractor, over the roof, and to the rear spoiler. Tarnished Dark elements frame the center black stripe, adding to the visual aggression of the Dark Horse. The graphics are painted by hand, in a specialized process, different from any other Mustang trim level.

Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent many misspent hours hanging out at gas stations (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper "You Auto Know," an enterprise I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my earnings while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.

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