Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins, www.AutomotiveRhythms.com
Ford’s American icon continues to evolve with the visceral performance and athletic styling enthusiasts crave. The world-famous pony car has lived with us for nearly six decades in our driveways, on our roads, at our racetracks, and on our TV screens. From “Bullitt” to “Gone in 60 Seconds,” you’d be hard-pressed finding a cult classic car movie devoid of the Mustang’s presence. Today, Ford ushers in another chapter for the storied Mustang.
Currently in its 7th generation, the maturation of Ford Performance continues with the arrival of the 2024 Mustang in the form of the Mustang GT, Mustang Dark Horse, and the efficient-focused Mustang EcoBoost that we specifically challenged through various motorsports courses at Irwindale Speedway in California during the national press launch. Muscle fanatics can choose between the fastback coupe or the convertible. Jim Owens, Mustang Marketing Manager, was on hand to discuss the brand’s passion and its customer’s deep, methodical dedication to the Mustang across generational platforms. Ford knows their customers because they are them, and has a keen understanding of their lifestyles and psychographics by showing up at owner car shows and track events to integrate with the Mustang family.
“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.”
Starting at $30,920, customers can now configure their new 2024 Mustang, including the option of 11 paint schemes featuring Rapid Red Metallic, Shadow Black, Grabber Blue Metallic, or the new Yellow Splash and Vapor Blue at the Ford Build & Price Website. Ford knows that GT customers love custom wheels, over-the-top racing stripes, hood stripes, and side stripes, so they can now order their desired accessories directly from the factory through this seamless process.
Although updated iterations of a new model must meet today’s expectations, original DNA must take precedence to maintain the initial love affair with the muscle car. For that reason, the chiseled Mustang is more aggressive than ever with the top half of the grille paying homage to the original 1960s design and the Tri-Bar LED headlamps sticking to the recipe of the Mustang’s traditional lighting signature. The sports car sits low with a widened rear, flowing roofline, and NFL running back stance to indicate speed and agility. For optimized rear aero, the diffuser has been redesigned and an updated signature tri-bar lighting highlights the extended trunk deck. Brembo brake calipers can pair with your ride in Black, Red, and Grabber Blue. The GT adds an aggressive wing, larger grille openings to handle the amplified flow of air, restyled front splitter, and new hood vents. Lastly, a Bronze Appearance Package gives you a customized throwback package right from the jump. Available on both EcoBoost and GT grades, it updates your Mustang with a set of Sinister Bronze alloy rims and bronze appearance badges.
The Mustang EcoBoost performance setup commingles RWD (limited-slip differential) with the 4-cylinder turbocharged 2.3-liter engine pushing out 315-horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. It pairs with a standard 10-speed automatic transmission with optional SelectShift (paddle shifters) when you upgrade to the Performance Package. If you require supplementary power, move up to the 4th generation naturally aspirated 5-liter Coyote V8 in the GT Coupe and GT Convertible, which ups the ante to 486-horsepower and 418 ft-lb of torque. Quad exhaust tips let spectators know you have that additional rumble. A 6-speed manual with Rev Matching is standard on the Coyote for drivers looking for a mechanical “in control” feeling. With a wide torque band and long gears, we flew around California in just third gear at 90 mph in the GT.
Yet, the EcoBoost was tamed through the autocross and felt balanced in tighter turns. With a sport-tuned suspension and reduced horses, I never had to worry about the rear jumping ahead and swinging out on me. And with sticky Pirelli P Zero 275/40-19 rear and 255/40-19 front summer street tires as part of the Performance Package, I felt even more confident. Moreover, the Mustang is enhanced with three steering modes (normal, comfort, sport) and six selectable drive modes (normal, sport, slippery, track, drag strip, custom).
Perhaps the new Mustang’s newest and most thrilling performance evolution is the Electronic Drift Brake, which will make an experienced drifter out of anyone. I evaluated the feature in the EcoBoost on a short course and it is worthy once you get down the strategy sequence. Then there is the party trick, aka Remote Rev, which lets owners rev the Mustang’s engine using the key fob while standing outside the vehicle. How cool is that? It is available on 2.3-liter Mustangs with Ford Active Exhaust and all Mustang V8 models with the 10-speed auto. For drag racers, Line-Lock brakes the front wheels so the driver can spin the rear tires for better off-the-line grip.
Step inside to explore the most digital and driver-centric cockpit ever found in the Mustang. A few highlights include a flat-bottom steering wheel, an Immersive Digital Cockpit featuring a 12.4″ digital driver cluster, an expansive 13.2″ center touchscreen, SYNC 4 Tech, and an available B&O sound system. Specifically, the touchscreen navigation is a voice-activated system with pinch-to-zoom capability. EcoBoost models also highlight Ford ActiveX synthetic leather upholstery with various color choices. And with six unique interior themes, rest assured that every daily commute will be inspiring. Gone is the unique Mustang retro feel, but now you have much to play with from customizable gauges to videogame-like graphics, allowing Ford Performance to target younger Mustang fans. I loved the optional RECARO bucket seats, red seatbelts, and digitized temperature control. Don’t forget Track Apps, which highlights your performance data on the center screen or digital instrument cluster. It showcases an acceleration timer, brake performance, lap timer, performance shift indicator (manual only), drift brake, line lock, launch control (manual only), and rev match (manual only).
Even a muscle car requires advanced safety features to keep that elevated power and performance in check. No worries as the new Mustang is enhanced with standard Ford Co-Pilot360 technology that includes:
Other available safety systems include Speed Sign Recognition and Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go. Well, what are you waiting for? The all-new 2024 Mustang is on sale now and built right at home at Ford’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Flat Rock, Michigan. Let’s ride!