Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough
Finally – this is the brand new Mustang
Ford has finally taken the covers off the seventh-generation of
Ford Mustang at a special showcase in Detroit.
The new pony car will once again come in the V8 flavour, a retuned version of the existing 5.0-litre naturally aspirated engine, along with an updated 2.3-litre turbocharged fourcylinder.
Ford isn’t confirming power, performance or fuel consumption figures beyond saying the V8 has more than 358kW, which already puts it above the outgoing V8’s height of 345kW. It gets twin airboxes and dual throttle bodies, and sounds absolutely fantastic.
Transmissions include a sixspeed manual and ten-speed automatic, same as before, both of which have been reworked for the new car. The automatic is the only transmission available for the Ecoboost model.
The looks have been changed for the new generation, with updated tri-bar headlights, more angular taillights and a heavily sculpted front end.
In fact, the grille differs between V8 and Ecoboost models, the former getting a large, gaping hexagonal grille with style bars in the corners that look a bit like the DRLs on RTR models, and the latter having a slimmer, more subtle nose. The V8 also gets bonnet vents and a rear-mounted spoiler.
Inside is a pair of new digital displays (12.4 inches behind the wheel and a 13.2-inch infotainment screen), inspired by the cockpit of a fighter jet. The dash runs on the Unreal Engine, used to make photorealistic video games, and can be customised to display different animated designs and new drive-mode dependent instrument clusters.
One of those modes is a special Foxbody throwback, which shows analogue gauges from the 1980s that get the same green backlight at night, which is beyond cool.
Ford tapped drifter Vaughn Gitten Jr. to help develop a new electronic drift brake, which looks like a traditional handbrake but can apparently make even the most novice of sliders look like professionals.
The steering wheel now has a flat bottom, and the physical buttons below the infotainment screen are no longer toggle switches. Speaking of steering, Ford says it’s faster than before with ‘‘minimal’’ slack.
Ford also teased a bunch of upcoming special edition models, namedropping Shelby, Bullitt and the Mach 1 during the presentation. But it also showed off a new addition to the family, the Dark Horse.
It gets a slew of performance upgrades including better suspension, louder exhaust and power bump targeting around 375kW, as well as a general blackout design.
Eventually a hybrid version will surface, hinted at by Ford’s chief executive, Jim Farley.
‘‘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,’’ he said.
‘‘Ford, however, is turbocharging its ICE 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 US$50 billion in electric vehicles through 2026.’’
Finally, Ford talked about its racing pedigree, confirming entries into the 2024 GT3 and GT4 classes as well as the 24 Hours of Daytona and Le Mans races that year.
We can expect the new Mustang to hit Kiwi showrooms some time in late 2023, before which we’ll get full specifications and pricing.