Whatever it costs, it's worth it for that anodized blue titanium shifter alone.
Ford has unveiled new design details of the upcoming pinnacle of the all-new Mustang lineup, the 2024 Mustang Dark Horse. According to Ford's press release, it will be the halo 5.0-liter V8 model until the inevitable track-prepped and supercharged Shelbys are launched, and it sounds demonic.
The Dark Horse will be equipped with the most potent version of the fourth-generation Coyote V8, producing 500 horsepower and 418 lb-ft of torque. Normal Mustang GTs have to make do with 480 hp and 415 lb-ft. Because it will be the most aggressive 'Stang, Ford had to ensure that the exterior and interior amplify its intentions.
That's why the car is getting several signature appointments, the best of which is an anodized blue titanium shift ball for the six-speed manual transmission. You can have it with a 10-speed automatic, in which case you get anodized silver paddle shifters, but we can't imagine anyone not wanting that shift ball in their life, so why even bother with an automatic?
The shift ball is not a solid piece of titanium, however. According to Ford, it's hollow, so it remains cool in warmer weather. We can only hope that's what left is heavy enough to provide a satisfying and accurate shift action from second to third. The electronic drift brake is leather-wrapped, and the lever is also anodized. The Dark Horse also has an instrument panel badge that displays the vehicle's chassis number.
While the shift ball is the highlight, you'll also note a flat-bottomed steering wheel wrapped in suede for extra grip. Bright Indigo Blue stitching is standard on instrument and door panels, seats, gear shift boot, and center console trim and lid.
As we already know, the 2024 Mustang has a digital interior with a 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster powered by the Unreal Engine 3D software. The 13.2-inch infotainment is also angled toward the driver to give a cockpit-like feel.
The interior design team even went as far as designing all-new trim surface selections. Instead of the standard bright silver trim pieces, customers can opt for a new dark metallic gloss called Black Alley. Ford evolved the grain patterns of the interior plastics, settling on a unique carbon fiber grain used on the instrument panel, door panels, and three-spoke steering wheel. All leather and vinyl surfaces come with a model-specific grain pattern to further enhance the experience, and Ford uses lasers to create a grain effect on top of the instrument panel to reduce glare.
Customers can go sportier via the Mustang Dark Horse Appearance Package, which includes Recaro performance seats with Deep Indigo Blue bolsters and the same color stitching. A bit of suede on the seat's center also provides extra support when pulling on the e-brake. This package includes Deep Indigo Blue seatbelts and distinctive seat perforation with blue inserts underneath the seating surface.
Ford knew the Dark Horse would need a model-specific color, and it settled on the color-shifting Blue Ember. According to the Blue Oval, it's "shadowy and sinister, but complex enough to force a double take on the street."
Blue Ember is made up of special effect pigments in deep blue and warm amber, which produces a color change depending on where you view it from.
"If color is a reflection of a vehicle's personality, Blue Ember transforms the Mustang Dark Horse and highlights a natural saddle-color horse hidden inside the strong chiseled fastback's exterior form," said Carrie Kennerly, Ford senior color and materials designer. "Multiple elements are combined to give Blue Ember its intriguing and stealthy appearance that really drives home how unique Mustang Dark Horse is."
Buyers can add some customization via available vinyl and hand-painted graphics. The vinyl graphics were designed to accentuate the raised center of the hood. These vinyl applications are finished in Tarnished Dark and gloss black, which work beautifully with the Blue Ember exterior.
No Mustang would be complete without stripes, and the Dark Horse's premium-painted stripes are inspired by airflow over the vehicle. The painted stripes carry the gloss black finish from the center of the grille through the hood extractor, over the roof, and to the rear spoiler. Unlike other Mustangs, these stripes are painted by hand, bringing back the option seen previously on the Shelby GT500.
The Dark Horse goes on sale in the summer of 2023.
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