This is some text inside of a div block.

Ford shuts down Detroit with the launch of the new Mustang GT; EcoBoost and …. #DarkHorse

The V8 remains but now in its 7th generation, the famous Ford nameplate beckons drivers to be more playful. 

Avon Middleton
September 14, 2022
No items found.

This is the new Ford Mustang: it’s all Fun and Games and V8 noise. Now in its 7th generation, the famous Ford nameplate beckons drivers to be more playful.  

It’s here and it’s real, fully revealed in the flesh at the Hart Centre in downtown Detroit, just a block from the Detroit Auto Show, a new Ford Mustang was always going to be an occasion. Where better than to reveal it to the world for the first time, in Dearborn, Michigan, the home of Ford Global just hours after US President Joe Biden was in town to ogle the NAIAS metal. Detroit residents and Mustang fans came out in their droves to get a glimpse of the new Mustang and Ford didn't disappoint as far as the fanfare, reveal and announcements go.


Design: evolved to meet customer demands

The new Mustang is unmistakably an evolution of the 6-generation that bows out after a decade. All of the hallmarks of Mustang remain: a bonnet for days, the coupé roofline that descends into bulging haunches and a short-deck rear. Changes to the overall picture will reveal a design that is edgier at the front and rear with broader surfaces on the flanks. The rear takes ‘edgy’ design to new level with a very chiselled tail section that houses traditionally Mustang tri-bar LED taillights. This design trait is also carried into a new front element that sports tri-bar LED’s for the DRL’s alongside a new bonnet, grille and air intake design with key differentiations on the EcoBoost vs the V8. (That’s out the bag now.) Mustang will be offered once again in coupé and convertible body styles. 


Keen-eyed and dyed-in-the-wool Mustang traditionalists should be smitten with the new design, but, according to Ford, so too should Millenials and Gen-Z’ers. Ford’s latest progressive mantra is that they know exactly who their customers are and what they want. The new Mustang comes out of a process of extensive customer consultation and so its biggest change, to my eye and ear is in its focus on delivering enjoyment to the driver in more ways than you might imagine.


And to the Gamer…

An all-new cabin architecture goes hand in hand with a new operating concept and driver-focused layout. The driver-centric nature of the cabin hints at Ford’s key touchpoints with this car: customisation & gamification. There’s a new pair of displays that, in the presented car are housed within one large glass piece. Ford’s team has taken the graphics and UX to a new level – one inspired by gaming and quite literally translated into a very game-like experience. The depth of customisation is more vast than I’ve seen before but it’s adopted into a highly graphic, colourful and animated interface. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – yes, but these are so yesterday. This is the next step in on-board visualisation that plays to Mustang owner's enjoyment of anything that enhances the owner's engagement. It may be too much for some, but Ford’s smartly worked in ‘Calm’ displays that can totally declutter the view and this isn’t a bad thing.  

Reworked Recaro sports seats, a new flat-bottom wheel and new material composites reveal a fresh yet familiar interior.


More Power

Continuing in a theme of playfulness, this generation of Mustang is being revealed with a set of powertrains that will sound all too familiar…literally too. The cars will come with two engine choices, the 2.3L, inline 4-cylinder EcoBoost as well as the GT 5.0L V8 as before. Ford’s engineer’s promise improved efficiencies and power hikes as well as aural pleasures that are just within the limits of what the law will allow. It isn’t just power that’s been added, but Ford has done work on the steering ratios and set up feel for more driver engagement. Each of these engines will be mated to the option of an ‘improved’ 10-speed Auto or a 6-speed manual transmission. 


In addition to new aesthetic combinations and new colours that will be added to the palette of this new Mustang, the Performance packages will include things like Limited Slip Differentials, engine bracing, active suspension and Brembo brakes with callipers that can be finished in a variety of colours too. There are a number of new, customised details here in addition to what you would have expected, i.e. line-lock and rev matching on the manual for instance. 


Pony Party Tricks

The whole car is a party but take note of these two new technologies incorporated into the new Mustang. Firstly: the new 7th-generation Mustangwill come with an electronic drift brake for unmitigated tail-happiness and tyre-screeching. It’s madness…but we love it. The Performance Electronic Parking Brake will be available as part of a Performance Pack and will turn normal, warm-blooded Mustang drivers into hot-blooded hooligans. We’ll be sure to bring you a real test of this tech when the car eventually does get launched. 


E-Drift Brake anyone?

Party Trick #2: Remote Rev as the name suggests is a feature that allows you to rev your burbly Mustang while sitting on your camp chair around the fire. Depending on who’s around, it’s a feature that will either cost you your reputation or solidify it. 

Enter the Dark Horse - Hardcore pony with racing firmly in its sights

We knew about the Mustang being unveiled today but Ford's announcement and reveal of a new name in hardcore Ford Performance took us all by surprise. The Dark Horse makes up the sinister, unbridled flagship of the new Mustang stable. It's Ford's answer to beefed-up performance that will form the basis of even more track-focused and race-bred iterations for purpose-built racing. The Dark Horse is also powered by a 5.0-litre, V8 with promises of 500hp when the taps are opened.

First of its name, Dark Horse is introduced to the world.

The introduction of the Mustang Dark Horse will birth the Mustang Dark Horse S and Dark Horse R. The S is a street-legal, stripped out, powered up sportscar that can be enjoyed on the road but with a track focus. The 'R' is a track-only version for customers. These models form the base of a huge offense of six new racing Mustangs that will compete across the globe. These include the Australian Production Cars champs; GT4 and GT3 championships in Europe and Asia as well as the NHRA Factory X drag series. As a performance derivative of Ford Mustang, the Dark Horse is the beginning of a full-on onslaught of performance competition but also of customer-oriented performance enhancements and customisations that take factory-backed performance to new levels.

Full-Send: The Ford Mustang Dark Horse is bliss to petrolheadinism!

Ford is going back to Le Mans

As if that wasn't enough, the Executive Chair of Ford Motor Company closed the show by announcing that Ford will compete in the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans once again, with the Dark Horse Mustang. He has laid down the gauntlet once again in search of more honours for the the Blue Oval's performance arm.

In a time where Ford is investing mega bucks to scale the production of EV's, this new Mustang is a great statement to say that 'ICE ain't dead' - and we're quite pleased with that.

As to when that is, expect it to launch in the US in June 2023 with possibilities of the car reaching Mzansi by the end of 2023. 


Get the full scoop on the new Mustang in the next issue of TopGear South Africa magazine. 


Get Top Gear SA news and reviews in your inbox

Enter your email address to receive regular Top Gear SA newsletters

By clicking below you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear SA. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get Top Gear SA news and reviews in your inbox

Enter your email address to receive regular Top Gear SA newsletters

By clicking below you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear SA. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Verify Your Email
To be part of the PETROLHEAD club please verify the email that has been sent to you.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.