All-New Mustang Sets Bold New Style With Cockpit, Advanced Engine; Retains Manual
For nearly 60 years, one of Ford’s top sellers has been the Mustang. Indeed, few people – except perhaps Lee Iacocca, the head of the automaker at the time – had any idea or vision of just how important the Mustang would become.
Mustang, the Early Years
The Mustang was the one that started the Pony Wars of the 1960s as it not only quickly became popular but also started new versions quickly. By the end of the 1960s, the Mustang had established itself as the performance vehicle of the decade. It was quite an interesting turn from the initial Mustang, which featured an inline-six and a three-speed floor-mounted transmission.
From that humble start, Ford has now introduced what it calls a “wake-up call for car lovers around the world.” That wake-up call is the seventh generation Mustang which made its introduction Wednesday at The Stampede, a gathering of Ford vehicles that was timed to coincide with the start of the Detroit Auto Show.
The Detroit Show is a renewal. The show, which had been put off due to Covid concerns for the last few years, began kicked off this week as not only Ford but other automakers saved their new car intro announcements for the exhibition hall.
Torque News will focus this time on the Ford piece of this show as it is one of the most exciting intros the automaker has had in some years. The seventh generation Mustang is the most exhilarating and visceral yet, from its fighter jet-inspired digital cockpit to new advanced turbocharged and naturally aspirated engines to its edgier yet timeless exterior design.
“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. “Ford, however, is turbocharging its ICE (internal combustion engine) 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 $50 billion in electric vehicles through 2026.”
The new Mustang adds another chapter to an icon, delivering the looks, sound, and appeal of the world’s best-selling sports coupe for seven years running*. Whether convertible or coupe, V-8 or turbocharged four-cylinder, manual or automatic, Mustang has options at multiple price points and performance levels.
A completely rethought interior
Behind the chiseled exterior silhouette of the seventh-generation Mustang lies the most technologically advanced, driver-centric cockpit of any Mustang to date. The fighter jet-inspired cockpit offers the driver two flowing and curved displays that can be quickly customized to show information the driver wants or needs to see.
The car’s 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster can be customized to display different animated designs and new drive-mode-dependent visuals. Based on the same Unreal Engine 3D creation tool used in modern video games, when choosing personalized drive mode settings, the car’s current setup is displayed on the center stack as real-time graphical renderings. Settings can be adjusted by simply swiping the graphic to rotate the car virtually in a true gaming style.
“We’re taking advantage of every pixel,” said Craig Sandvig, Ford Mustang interaction design manager. “We can be creative in showing necessary driving information and give the driver control of selecting colors, classic Mustang gauges or even a ‘calm’ screen where only minimal details are displayed.”
Mustang’s default instrument gauge setting has shifted from traditional, cool blue and light grey tones to an ultra-modern, copper appearance theme also shared with Mustang Mach-E. From there, almost everything in the displays – and the ambient interior lighting – can be configured to selected tones, while instrument clusters adapt to drive mode selection.
When choosing personalized drive mode settings, the car’s current setup is displayed on the center stack as real-time graphical renderings. Settings can be adjusted by simply swiping the graphic to rotate the car virtually in a true gamified style.
This digital instrument cluster can be optionally configured to flow seamlessly into a 13.2-inch SYNC® 4 center stack behind a single piece of integrated glass that’s angled toward the driver.
“We knew what customers wanted and designed the most digital Mustang ever while retaining the all-important driver-focused cockpit,” said Ricardo Garcia, Ford interior design manager. “Removing some of these physical buttons, such as radio and climate control, and integrating them into a digital display was popular in research with Millennials, Gen-Z and traditional Mustang drivers alike.”
Beyond the screen, an all-new race-inspired flat-bottomed steering wheel provides more space when getting seated.
Outside the vehicle, animated welcome lighting greets drivers as they approach, and upon entry, Mustang splash screens come to life. And for those who enjoy the sound of a revving engine, Mustang introduces Remote Rev, providing the ability to rev the car’s engine remotely using the key fob.
Mustang has a standard cloth interior featuring all-cloth seats with optional Micro Suede vinyl inserts and black seat belts, while Premium models benefit from upgraded wrapped and accent stitched across the instrument panel and door trim. EcoBoost models feature Ford’s ‘ActiveX’ synthetic leather upholstery with multiple color options, while GT models gain leather seat inserts.
Higher series models offer an upgraded, full-leather steering wheel, as well as a choice of color accent stitching and a unique upholstery perforation across the seat inserts, complemented by color-coordinated, asymmetric accent striping on the seat belts.
The center console can also incorporate an available wireless mobile phone charging pad while new overhead USB ports are installed above the cockpit, conveniently placed for track cameras and other devices, helping prevent wires from draping across the cabin.
The available B&O Sound System is optimized for the car’s interior, contributing to the visceral experience of Mustang ownership. Customers can share the ultimate driving playlist through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both of which are fully compatible with SYNC 4.
Amazon Alexa Built-In with Ford Streaming allows music and podcasts to be played with simple voice commands. Like the all-electric Mustang Mach-E SUV, the all-new Mustang features Ford Power-Up software update capability.
Edgier design with timeless Mustang cues, plus more customization
The seventh generation adds modern chiseled looks to its heritage-inspired design, which sets out to appeal to the broadest Mustang customer mindset yet.
Its low, horizontal brow across the front emphasizes overall frontal width, while the upper grille design shape is influenced by the original 1960s design. The Tri-Bar LED headlamps continue the Mustang’s classic lighting signature. Its sleek roofline, broad sprinting stance, and shortened rear overhang are also true to the authentic proportions of the first generation, while the widened rear haunches point to the power over the wheels in true Mustang style.
The roofline is optimized for driver entry and exit without removing their helmet on the track, and an extended rear deck houses a new crisp signature tri-bar lighting and redesigned diffuser for improved aerodynamic balance in the rear.
Each model in the Mustang lineup carries its own unique front end. GT is differentiated from EcoBoost models by larger, more aggressive grille openings engineered to allow increased airflow, reflecting the increase in power and performance. The car’s aerodynamics are optimized further with the addition of new hood vents and redesigned front splitter.
“Both the EcoBoost and Mustang GT have unique styling cues that deliver on their promise of Mustang Performance,” said Christopher Walter, Ford Mustang design manager. “The new Mustang is more chiseled and edgier, leaning into Mustang’s classic brawniness and timelessness.”
Mustang convertible continues its drop-top legacy offering maximum open-air freedom. A simple, one-touch activation with a single-handle center latch opens and closes the fully lined and insulated fabric roof. The compact roof design and independent rear suspension also contribute toward segment-leading trunk space that can accommodate up to two golf bags.
The all-new Mustang launches with 11 exterior color options, including two new shades, Vapor Blue and Yellow Splash, complemented by new stripe colors and designs. Customers also can choose from three Brembo brake caliper color options: Black, Red and Grabber Blue, plus an all-new lineup of alloy wheels, ranging from 17-inch standard size on base models to 19-inch for GT with optional 20-inch alloy wheels.
New for the 2024 model year is the Mustang Design Series, providing further customization options straight from the factory. The Bronze Design Series Appearance Package adds Sinister Bronze alloy wheels with bronze badges, and is available on both EcoBoost and GT models, with or without the optional Performance Pack.
Most Advanced and Athletic Engines Ever
The way Mustang looks, drives and sounds is key to the experience that makes customers want to get in the driver’s seat and hit the road. The all-new Mustang delivers an even more exciting drive experience with new and advanced engine technologies.
It starts with Mustang GT, now powered by an advanced, 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 engine. The fourth-generation 5.0-liter is set to deliver the most naturally aspirated horsepower of any Mustang GT thanks to an innovative dual air intake box and dual-throttle body desig, that helps minimize induction loss by enabling higher air flow rates.
“This is the most athletic and confidence-inspiring Mustang EcoBoost and GT to drive yet,” said Ed Krenz, Ford Mustang chief nameplate engineer. “Whether driving an automatic or manual transmission, thanks to drive modes combined with fine-tuned digital engine, suspension and steering controls, we’re now able to give drivers peak performance everywhere, from their favorite roads to their local track.”
Ford has saved the manual transmission for a new generation and the 5.0-liter V8 continues to offer a standard six-speed manual transmission for customers who want an uncompromised connection to eight-cylinder power. Ford’s advanced 10-speed automatic transmission is available, and it almost instantaneously reconfigures its shift patterns to match the selected drive mode.
Customers who desire Mustang’s fun-to-drive feeling with fuel efficiency benefits can opt for the EcoBoost model, powered by an all-new, four-cylinder turbocharged 2.3-liter powertrain.
The feeling of freedom and confidence Mustang instills in its drivers is amplified when they take control of how the car behaves.
On a twisty back road or a weekend track day, the driver can quickly adjust steering effort, engine response, and transmission and electronic stability control settings through six available Drive Modes to create the perfect Mustang at any time. These are Normal, Sport, Slippery, Drag, and Track, plus a customizable setting with up to six individual profiles, tailored to the driver’s view ahead of them. As each mode is selected, high-fidelity graphics in the digital instrument panel bring the mode to life.
Mustang GT and EcoBoost models are both available with an optional Performance Pack, which adds a host of track-focused features, including a front Tower Brace, Torsen® Limited Slip differential and optional MagneRide active suspension, wider rear wheels and tires, and larger, 390-millimeter front and 355-millimeter rear Brembo brakes. The GT Performance Pack adds brake ducts for even more enhanced cooling and a standard auxiliary engine oil cooler. Performance Pack also offers optional Recaro® seats and active exhaust.
Mustang GT with manual transmission includes standard rev-matching that helps hold engine RPM when the clutch is engaged. This retains peak torque between manual gear changes, delivering even more precision, thrill, and better refinement.
Quicker steering ratios and minimal compliance from the steering wheel to tire significantly enhances the car’s cornering dynamics, with increased straight-line power.
A segment-first electronic drift brake takes new technology to the racetrack, unlocking the rear-wheel-drive drifting capability of Mustang with the visual appeal and functionality of a traditional, mechanical hand brake. The Performance Electronic Parking Brake comes standard with the Performance Pack on all Mustang models, engineered for novice drivers to learn and improve their drift skills while also providing expert drivers with a competition-ready system.
More Available Advanced Driver Assistance Technologies
The new Mustang comes equipped with Ford Co-Pilot360™ features, including Speed Sign Recognition, Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go, Lane Centering Assist, Evasive Steer Assist, and Reverse Brake Assist. Another key feature is Active Pothole Mitigation, included with the Performance Package, which continually monitors suspension, body, steering, and braking input and adjusts suspension response accordingly.
Owners can stay connected with their car via the FordPass app in other ways, utilizing free remote features such as remote vehicle start and stop, door locking and unlocking, scheduling a start time, locating the vehicle, and vehicle health and status checks. The FordPass app provides important vehicle information available to users, including fuel and oil levels, service history, and warranty information.
The all-new Mustang goes on sale in the U.S. starting in the summer of 2023 and is assembled at Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Flat Rock, Mich.
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 the usual number of misspent hours hanging out at gas stations Shell and Texaco (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 living 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.