Nearly 60 years after the first Mustang was unveiled at the New York World’s fair, Ford officially took the wraps off its seventh generation Mustang in a public event in Detroit they dubbed, the Mustang Stampede. Available as both a coupe and convertible with a number of different models and packages, the 2024 Mustang will hit the streets early next summer, but we got a preview of the latest edition earlier this week.
There are many significant changes to Mustang’s exterior and interior styling as well as a complete revamp of the electronics. What you won’t find are big changes to the platform, suspension, steering, and engine options – though the 2.3-liter EcoBoost and 5.0-liter Coyote V8 have been updated to improve both power and efficiency.
Not updating the chassis and mechanicals isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We’ve driven just about every configuration of 6th generation Mustang including the GT, Shelby GT 500, GT 350, Bullit, and others. They have all earned high marks for the way they drive. So keeping the same chassis with relevant updates makes sense, especially since we hear Ford has targeted 2029 as the last year you’ll be able to buy a gas powered version. One example of these improvements a new faster ratio steering rack. They’ve also stiffened the steering column with a spline joint to provide what they claim is a more direct feel. If true, this is good.
The engine updates are more substantial. The V8 gets a new dual intake, dual throttle body design that allows for freer breathing and increased horsepower. How much? The GT will make 480 horsepower and at the reveal event, Ford said the Dark Horse edition will have the most powerful naturally-aspirated V8 ever in a Mustang and is targeting 500 horsepower. The 2.3-liter, four-cylinder EcoBoost is claimed to be all new but no details were given at the briefing on what changes were made and how they will impact performance and fuel economy other than both will improve. With the Gen-7 Mustang hitting the streets next summer, we’ll probably have to wait until after the new year for confirmation on both. Power is delivered to the rear wheel via either a 6-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic on the GT both of which are carryover. The 2.3-liter versions will only be available with the automatic.
One trick performance enhancement is the addition of an electronic “drift brake.” You can set the car in a slide with a tug of the electronic hand brake. Once you’re sideways, it’s up to you to keep it that way by manipulating both the throttle and steering wheel.
What we can tell you is that every piece of sheet metal is new on the Mustang. Ford designers wanted to bring a modern edge to the heritage design and they’ve accomplished this mission with a cleaner profile and significantly reworked lighting front and rear. The triple-beam headlights are not as tall and appear wider than in the previous generation with a cleaner line across the top of the fascia, making the car appear wider, even though its overall dimensions haven’t changed much. For the first time, there are unique fascias for the base and GT models. In back, the signature three-bar taillamp gets a new look with an acute angle under the rear deck. Models are differentiated by either dual or quad exhausts.
There are a number of appearance options for Mustang including two new colors, Yellow Splash and Vapor Blue. You can customize your Mustang with different width and color accent stripes, Brembo brake calipers in three different colors, including for the first time ever, Grabber Blue, and new wheel options. The Bronze Design Series is new for 2024 and features wheels, trim, and badging finished in a dark, warm metallic the design team calls, “Sinister Bronze.”
Inside, the interior has been cleaned up substantially with new surfaces that even in base configurations, give the car a more premium feel. The base cloth seats have the option of adding synthetic suede inserts. As you move up the grades, you can get Ford’s ActiveX synthetic leather surfaces and when you get to GT, you can add real leather seats with contrast stitching and color keyed seat belts.
The steering wheel has been redesigned for 2024, with fewer buttons and a new profile. All steering wheels feature a flat bottom and deeper contouring for more precise hand positioning. Leather wrapping is available in the higher trim levels of the base model and standard on the GT.
Where the 2024 Mustang departs most from its 6th Generation parent is in its information display. Gone are traditional analog gauges and most of the hard buttons. In their place are two screens and capacitive touch controls with haptic feedback. Ford is betting that younger buyers who’ve grown up with gaming consoles and tablets will find this interface both familiar and contemporary. I hope they’re right. Moving controls for the HVAC and audio system into the 13.2-inch center screen has me nervous and I’ll have to use it to determine whether that’s the best choice.
In base models the two screens are separate. In the GT and premium trims the screens are joined into one continuous display panel that is angled toward the driver. These screens are highly configurable and change depending on which drive mode you’re in. they’ve even created a heritage mode replicates the instrument panel of the now surprisingly popular Fox body Mustangs of the 1980s. Enthusiasts of that era will recognize the shape, color and design now rendered in three dimensions instead of actually being three dimensional.
In a nod to the gamers Ford hopes to put behind the wheel, when you customize the vehicle settings a rendering of the car appears in the center screen, with systems highlighted as you change them much like when you’re configuring a car in a video game.
A lot more information will becoming out about the 7th Generation Mustang over the next few months. We’ll make sure to keep you up to date. We’ll also let you know how the changes impact the driving experience when we get behind the wheel early next year. Bottom line is, we’re happy the Mustang will still be produced in its traditional configuration with a big V8 up front. We know that eventually, the venerable pony car will succumb to the inevitability of electrification, but until then, we’ll enjoy the roar and row the gears on our favorite back roads. Just like Mustang owners have been doing since 1964.