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Ford’s new pony car gallops into town

Seventh-gen Mustang debuts at NAIAS ahead of late-2023 Oz launch, is last V8-powered model

15 Sep 2022

FORD will continue making the Mustang coupe and convertible with V8 and turbocharged four-cylinder internal combustion engines until late this decade. After that it will become an EV.


Generation seven of the iconic ‘Pony Car’ rolled into Motor City (Detroit) today in a celebration to mark the launch of the latest iteration of this American icon.


The new Mustang goes on sale in Australia in late 2023 and is assembled at Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Flat Rock, Michigan in the United States.


Ford's last ICE powered Mustang will be replaced sometime late this decade by a new electric ‘Pony Car’ based on underpinnings from the Mustang Mach-E SUV.


A selection of models will be available in the US including EcoBoost four cylinder and GT V8 versions of coupe and convertible variants with manual or automatic transmissions on V8, auto only on the four.


Ford Australia will add a new special edition nameplate to the new Mustang stable, Dark Horse.


Dark Horse is a street and track-capable performance Mustang with striking visual cues and all the capability sports car lovers expect. With sinister looks and a specially modified 5.0-litre V8, Dark Horse will “set a new benchmark for Australian street and track performance,” the company said.


Speaking at the US launch event, Ford Motor Company CEO Jim Farley said: “Investing in another generation of Mustang is a big statement at a time when many of our competitors are exiting the business of internal combustion vehicles.”


“Ford, however, is turbocharging its ICE growth plan, adding connected technology, opinionated derivatives, and hybrid options to our most profitable and popular cars – all in the Ford Blue family – on top of investing $50 billion in electric vehicles through 2026.


“I can’t think of any more important product in my life. We have been able to build the best damn car you’ve ever seen.”


The launch event, televised internationally was unashamedly aimed at Mustang fans telling them the new model was a “Wake-up call,” to “Forget sensible” and “No apology needed.”


As it was driven onstage, devotees in attendance seemed to reflect these sentiments in response to the new model that is a further development of the muscular, imposing sports car it has been most of the time over the past 60 years.


Ford says the car is the most exhilarating and fun-to-drive yet, thanks to a completely reimagined driving experience.


In terms of the car, it’s pretty much all-new though with some revised, carry-over components.


The dash interface between car and driver is enhanced, the exterior design is an evolution of the current car complete with pumped out rear guards that give new ‘Stang a wide-body look and the two engines – a 2.3-litre EcoBoost and the GT’s 5.0-litre Coyote V8 – have both been upgraded.


The outgoing model’s 2.3-litre produces 236kW of power and 448Nm of torque, while the V8 produces 339kW and 556Nm. Ford Australia has not yet announced outputs for either engine on the new Mustang.


The car features enthusiast-targeted technology including an electronic drift brake. It’s not known if the drift brake will make it into Australian spec’ models.


Behind the muscular exterior silhouette lies the most technologically advanced, driver-centric cockpit of any Mustang to date. The fighter jet-inspired cockpit offers the driver two curved displays that can be customised to show information the driver wants or needs to see.


Based on the same Unreal Engine 3D software technology found in modern video games, Mustang’s digital instrument cluster can be customised to display different animated designs and new drive-mode dependent instrument clusters.


“We’re taking advantage of every pixel,” said Ford Mustang interaction design manager Craig Sandvig.


“We can be creative showing necessary driving information yet also give the driver control to decide how to display everything from selecting colours to classic Mustang gauges to simply creating a ‘calm’ screen where only minimal details are displayed.”


This digital instrument cluster can be configured to flow seamlessly into a SYNC 4 centre stack behind a single piece of integrated glass that’s angled towards the driver.


“We knew what customers wanted, it was a case of designing the most digital Mustang ever while retaining the all-important driver-focused cockpit,” said Ford interior design manager Ricardo Garcia.


Beyond the screen, a race-inspired flat-bottomed steering wheel provides more space when getting seated inside and while performing a heel-toe downshift during spirited driving.


The centre console can incorporate a wireless mobile phone charging pad while new overhead USB ports are installed above the cockpit, conveniently located for track camera and other devices, and helping prevent wires from draping across the cabin.


The seventh-generation car is low, with a horizontal brow across the front of Mustang’s signature three-section hood that aligns with LED headlights to create an aggressive front end, influenced by the original 1960s design.


Its sleek roofline, broad athletic stance and shortened rear overhang are a head nod to the proportions of the first generation, while the widened rear haunches point to the power over the wheels.


The roofline is optimised for driver entry and exit without the need to remove their helmet on the track.


The extended rear spoiler module houses crisp, signature tri-bar lighting and a redesigned diffuser for improved aerodynamic balance in the rear.


Each model in the Mustang line up carries its own dedicated front end. GT is differentiated from EcoBoost models by larger, more aggressive grille openings, engineered to allow increased airflow reflecting the increase in power and performance.


The car’s aerodynamics are optimised further with the addition of new hood vents and redesigned front splitter.


“Both the EcoBoost and GT Mustang have dedicated styling cues to differentiate,” said Mustang design manager Christopher Walter.


“The new Mustang is more chiselled and edgier, leaning into Mustang’s classic brawniness and timelessness.”


Mustang convertible continues its drop-top legacy offering maximum open-air freedom. A simple, one-touch activation with a single-handle centre latch opens and closes the fully lined and insulated fabric roof. The compact roof design and independent rear suspension also contribute to generous luggage space.


Ford says new Mustang delivers an even more exciting drive experience with new and advanced engine technologies starting with Mustang GT’s 5.0-litre Coyote V8 engine. The fourth-generation unit, now with dual throttle bodies and dual air intakes delivers the most naturally aspirated horsepower of any Mustang GT.


“This is the most athletic and confidence-inspiring Mustang EcoBoost and GT to drive yet,” said Mustang chief engineer Ed Krenz.


“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 favourite roads to their local track.”


The 5.0-litre V8 continues to offer a six-speed manual transmission for customers who want an uncompromised connection to V8 power while a 10-speed automatic transmission is also available.


Customers who desire Mustang’s fun-to-drive feeling with fuel efficiency benefits can opt for the EcoBoost model, powered by an updated, four-cylinder turbocharged 2.3-litre powertrain.


Selectable drive modes are provided in Normal, Sport, Slippery, Drag, Track plus a customisable setting with up to six individual profiles that can be tailored to the driver’s choices. 


The Mustang GT with the manual transmission includes standard rev-matching that helps hold engine revs when the clutch is engaged to retain peak torque between manual gear changes.


The new Mustang is available with next-generation driver assistance technologies including speed sign recognition, intelligent adaptive cruise control (with stop-and-go functionality on automatic variant), lane centring assist, evasive steer assist and reverse brake assist.



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