In the age of electrification, the Mustang is still kicking ass and taking names with V8 power and more tech than you can shake a Gen Z-er at.
The seventh-generation Ford Mustang was unveiled to the world in Detroit last night. While it might not be as all-new as everyone says - it's a thorough reworking of the old car's platform and engines - it has been improved in multiple facets. The styling may not appeal to everyone, but the V8 lives on, as does the manual gearbox, and there's no hybridization or any sign of the rumored all-wheel drive we were told to expect. It's still a sports car, and whether you like it or not, it's going to sell in droves.
But if you missed all the hubbub, or perhaps simply can't keep up with all the 'Stang content doing the rounds, then you've come to the right place to find out about the coolest new features of the latest pony car.
You know we had to start with a V8 for the original pony car icon, right? Well, Ford calls the Coyote V8 in the Mustang a new one, but we're not entirely certain of that. It still displaces 5.0 liters, but it now generates more power than ever before. The Blue Oval hasn't really given us exact figures, but we have been told to expect a target of 500 horsepower in the new Mustang Dark Horse, which is the first time Ford has introduced a new performance Mustang variant since it gave us the Bullitt special edition in 2001. Integral to the increased power of the Coyote V8 and in enhancing its aural delight is a new dual intake box and twin throttle body design. Ford says it minimizes induction loss thanks to higher flow rates, which should, in theory, also aid throttle response. Power goes solely to the rear axle, and there's a choice of a six-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission.
Cue the angry commenters about how this is just a gimmick, and OK, we'll agree, there's a certain level of cheesiness about this, but the new Mustang has a Remote Rev feature. Taking the concept of remote start to a new level, you can now start your car and rev it to the delight, or chagrin, of onlookers, all from the comfort of your key fob. While it seems gimmicky and lazy, we can see some fun being had by scaring passersby, or the thrill of remotely revving your V8 while a child looks on in awe - that's bound to leave a lasting impression. Also, and we have to look on the fun side here, at least spectators at your nearest Cars & Coffee meet will have an audible warning to go look for cover before you actually get in your car and attempt to drift your way out of the event.
Speaking of drifting, Ford has added an electronic drift brake to the Mustang with the Performance Pack in what it calls a segment first. The brand even goes so far as to say it will "quickly turn a novice into a drifting pro, like Vaughn Gittin Jr." Now, that's not something we'd take as a serious claim, but the drift brake is a seriously cool piece of kit in an era when handbrake levers are becoming a rarity. Mimicking the appearance of a mechanical handbrake lever, the drift brake locks up the rear wheels to initiate a drift. Ford, and Vaughn Gittin Jr. himself, say it imitates a hydraulic handbrake, letting you live out your smokey dreams right off the showroom floor. And, if you ever need to prolong the slide, you can rip it again when the grip returns to reinitiate the slide. Naturally, we don't endorse doing this anywhere outside of a controlled environment, but we're all for a bit of sideways action.
We're not saying Ford's latest safety tech will save you when you overcook the drift brake on your way home from that car meet, but Ford's CoPilot360 technology on the Mustang now features speed sign recognition, intelligent adaptive cruise control, lane centering assist, reverse brake assist, and, get this, evasive steer assist. The latter will detect another car swerving into your lane and take evasive action, but we have to wonder if it might help steer you away from a crowd. Let's just say we won't be testing that one to find out.
On a more serious note, there's a new Active Pothole Mitigation system included on vehicles with the Performance Package. Thanks to MagneRide adaptive suspension, this system can adjust the suspension to reduce the harshness of pothole impacts by continually monitoring suspension, body, steering, and braking inputs and reacting accordingly when an impact is detected.
The Mustang enters a new era thanks to a slew of digital enhancements. The most noticeable is the new 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster that's powered by the Unreal Engine 3D software that has helped create some of the best video games around. Thanks to this software, the Mustang's displays will change with vivid graphics and present epic welcome animations when you climb into the car.
While changing drive modes and custom settings, the car's setup is visually projected on the central infotainment screen in real-time, and you can swipe and rotate the vehicle a full 360 degrees. Gimmicky, yes, but pretty cool for those who like to interact with their vehicle. That central infotainment can be specced as a 13.2-inch screen with SYNC 4, which flows into the instrumentation in one massive widescreen display behind a single pane of glass, all angled towards the driver.
As an extra cool easter egg, the digital instrumentation can be customized to simulate the retro gauges of the 1987-1993 Fox Body Mustang. The tribute uses white lettering during the day and green when night falls.
Anyone who's spent time tracking their car and filming their exploits may have experienced the frustration of trying to keep a phone or action cam charged while on the go, with USB cables trailing from the center console or armrest up to the suction mount on your windscreen. Ford has thought of this and equipped roof-mounted USB ports, letting you use shorter cables while keeping necessary devices charged. Again, it's gimmicky, and it will mean absolutely nothing if the Mustang isn't great to drive, but if Ford has pulled off a dynamically talented sports car and all these little details add to the experience, we're all for it.