Autos

Ford unveils the new V8 Mustang: Iconic muscle car lives on – This is Money


Fans of American muscle cars can rejoice – the new Ford Mustang is here and it will continue to have a burbling 5.0-litre V8 engine under its bonnet.

At its public unveiling at the Detroit Auto Show today, Jim Farley, CEO of Ford Motor Company, 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.’ 

The seventh-generation Mustang is only the second iteration that will be sold as an official UK car in right-hand drive layout and is due to arrive in Britain late into 2023. 

Not only will it have a completely-revised eight-cylinder petrol powerplant but also updated styling and a redesigned digital cockpit, with the US brand promising that it will be the ‘most fun-to-drive Mustang ever’.

The American muscle car lives on: Ford has taken the covers off its new seventh-generation Mustang, and confirms it will keep its rumbling 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine, despite rivals switching to electrified drivetrains

The American muscle car lives on: Ford has taken the covers off its new seventh-generation Mustang, and confirms it will keep its rumbling 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine, despite rivals switching to electrified drivetrains

While Ford has already attached its most iconic nameplate to its first purpose-built electric vehicle, the Mustang Mach-E, the blue-oval brand was always reluctant to make an early transition to battery power for its famed sports coupe and convertible.

Confirming that the next-generation car will refrain from adopting electric powertrains, Mr Farley says: ‘Ford is turbocharging its ICE [internal combustion engine] 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 $50billion [£43bn] in electric vehicles through 2026.’

The news will be celebrated by muscle car enthusiasts and the Mustang’s huge cult following on the back of almost six decades of unerring popularity.

Over 10 million have been bought in its 58 years of continuous production and it has made numerous appearances in film, television, music and video games – as well as being the ‘most-liked vehicle on Facebook’, Ford claims.

The new car aims to build on the overwhelming success of the soon-to-retire sixth-generation model, which has been the best-selling sports coupe every year since it hit the market in 2014 – and around 16,000 have found a home with UK customers after RHD versions hit the market for the first time ever in 2015.

Since the last generation’s arrival in the UK, the Mustang has proved a hit on these shores, with British buyers keen to partake in a motoring experience unlike many others on offer to them. 

Prices are widely expected to remain consistent with the outgoing car, starting at around £50,000 for the V8 GT version, and order books will open next summer.

The 2023 Mustang is only the second iteration that will be sold as an official UK car in right-hand drive layout and is due to arrive in Britain late next year, with prices expected to start at around £50,000 for the V8-powered GT

The 2023 Mustang is only the second iteration that will be sold as an official UK car in right-hand drive layout and is due to arrive in Britain late next year, with prices expected to start at around £50,000 for the V8-powered GT

Ford introduced the all-new Mustang during a special presentation on Wednesday night at the North American International Auto Show. While it is calling it the 2024 model, UK examples are set to arrive next year. From left to right, the 2.3 Ecoboost Mustang, Mustang Dark Horse, Mustang GT and Mustang Convertible

Ford introduced the all-new Mustang during a special presentation on Wednesday night at the North American International Auto Show. While it is calling it the 2024 model, UK examples are set to arrive next year. From left to right, the 2.3 Ecoboost Mustang, Mustang Dark Horse, Mustang GT and Mustang Convertible

While Ford has already attached its most iconic nameplate to its first purpose-built electric vehicle, the Mustang Mach-E (left), the blue-oval brand was always reluctant to make an early transition to battery power for its famed sports coupe

While Ford has already attached its most iconic nameplate to its first purpose-built electric vehicle, the Mustang Mach-E (left), the blue-oval brand was always reluctant to make an early transition to battery power for its famed sports coupe

2023 Ford Mustang: The V8 lives on…

The biggest talking point for the new Mustang is its updated 5.0-litre V8 motor, which Ford says will provide ‘even greater response and performance’.

Full details are yet to be divulged, so we don’t know yet how quickly it can accelerate to 62mph or how fast it goes flat out.

However, the expectation is for it to improve on the performance figures of the outgoing car, which can sprint to the national speed limit in around five seconds (slightly less if you opted for the automatic over a manual gearbox) and – on closed roads – reach a top speed of 155mph.

Performance upgrades promised for the 2023 model include a new air induction system with a dual air intake and dual throttle body design, while it will also boasts six customisable driving models, including a ‘Drag’ setting and one that is restricted exclusively for track use – whether this is a legal requirement, we do not know.

While it might pack more of a punch, it definitely won’t be green; Ford anticipates that CO2 emissions will be between 260-275g/km, meaning it will sit in the highest VED band, which is a first-year tax sting of £2,365.

It is predicted to guzzle between 24 and 25mpg, though this is to be expected from a machine of this ilk.

The four-cylinder 2.3-litre EcoBoost motor is also set to be carried over from the previous-gen Mustang for those who want to have the iconic car’s looks but a downgraded version of American muscle – though it is yet to be confirmed for the UK market. 

There are assurances from Ford that it will be the best-handling Mustang yet thanks to a quicker steering ratio that should make it feel more responsive and nimble

There are assurances from Ford that it will be the best-handling Mustang yet thanks to a quicker steering ratio that should make it feel more responsive and nimble 

For has yet to confirm performance figures, but it will almost certainly be more powerful and faster than before. While it might pack more of a punch, it definitely won't be green; Ford anticipates CO2 emissions to be between 260-275g/km, meaning it will sit in the highest VED band. Fuel economy will be around 25mpg

For has yet to confirm performance figures, but it will almost certainly be more powerful and faster than before. While it might pack more of a punch, it definitely won’t be green; Ford anticipates CO2 emissions to be between 260-275g/km, meaning it will sit in the highest VED band. Fuel economy will be around 25mpg

The 2023 Mustang will come as standard with 19-inch alloy wheels, a sport limited-slip differential for increased traction and powerful Brembo brakes

The 2023 Mustang will come as standard with 19-inch alloy wheels, a sport limited-slip differential for increased traction and powerful Brembo brakes

There are assurances that it will be the best-handling Mustang yet – not that the car has ever been appreciated for its cornering prowess – with a quicker steering ratio that should make it feel more responsive and nimble.

All models will have a limited-slip differential to help modulate the power to the wheels and – for the first time in the Mustang’s history – it will get a ‘drift brake’, which engages an electric handbrake to make the car going sideways. This is only accessible in ‘Track’ mode.

A line-locking burnout mode is also available so drivers can spin the wheels at a standstill – a foolproof way of destroying the tyres earlier than necessary. 

And it should also massage the ego of its driver, with the six-speed manual gearbox assisted by a feature that holds the revs when the clutch is engaged between shifts, which should make changes through the transmission more precise.

If you don’t want a stick shift, the option of Ford’s latest 10-speed automatic ‘box will also be available to customers at a premium.

Another flashback feature is its manual handbrake over an electronic parking brake, with the latter used on the vast majority of new cars in showrooms today but seemingly not seen as suitable for the Mustang by Ford bosses. 

Other performance highlights includes a standard ‘Performance Pack’ that includes 19-inch alloy wheels, a sport limited-slip differential for increased traction, Brembo brakes and an ‘Active Valve Exhaust’, which allows owners to quieten the raucous engine note to avoid waking their neighbours, but unleash it if they want to wake up a small town. 

Active suspension is also available as an optional extra, which includes an intelligent system that monitors conditions one thousand times per second and readies the dampers to absorb one of the millions of potholes scattering the UK’s road network.

A line-locking burnout mode will be available so drivers can spin the wheels at a standstill - a foolproof way of destroying the tyres earlier than necessary. A 'Drift Brake' function for big skids will also feature but can only be engaged in 'Track' mode

A line-locking burnout mode will be available so drivers can spin the wheels at a standstill – a foolproof way of destroying the tyres earlier than necessary. A ‘Drift Brake’ function for big skids will also feature but can only be engaged in ‘Track’ mode

For customers who opt for the convertible Mustang, they get a one-touch activating power roof, which attaches to the car with a single latch that can be locked and unlocked with one hand

For customers who opt for the convertible Mustang, they get a one-touch activating power roof, which attaches to the car with a single latch that can be locked and unlocked with one hand

‘This is the most athletic and confidence-inspiring Mustang to drive yet,’ explains Ed Krenz, 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 favourite roads to their local track.’

There will also be a new souped-up variant of the coupe, called the Mustang Dark Horse.

This is described as an ‘ultimate expression of track capability and the foundation for the brand’s motorsport efforts,’ and offers even more potency, with around 500bhp on tap. 

Ford UK has confirmed this variant will also be available to UK customers from next year.

The new Mustang has an updated version of the unmistakeable silhouette of the last generation car

The new Mustang has an updated version of the unmistakeable silhouette of the last generation car

The front end has a new brow that runs from the revised LED headlights, over the widened front grille and across the front of the bonnet, which also has a gilled panel for engine cooling

The front end has a new brow that runs from the revised LED headlights, over the widened front grille and across the front of the bonnet, which also has a gilled panel for engine cooling

This is the most powerful of the new Mustang versions available, called the Dark Horse. It has more aggressive looks than the GT and should pack more of a punch

This is the most powerful of the new Mustang versions available, called the Dark Horse. It has more aggressive looks than the GT and should pack more of a punch 

The Mustang’s age-old silhouette, only edgier 

As the saying goes: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ And that seems to be the direction taken by Ford’s design team.

While the seventh-gen car is sharper than before, it’s unmistakably a Mustang, with its extensive hood, bulging arches and wide haunches.

The front end has a new brow that runs from the revised LED headlights, over the widened front grille and across the front of the bonnet, which also has a gilled section for engine cooling.

Ford says the new feature has been influenced by the original 1960s design but will also help to improve its pedestrian protection score in crash tests.

It retains its sleek roofline that extends to a rear end dominated by the introduction of new tri-bar light clusters that sit within an indented panel including the boot opening.

In the convertible's roof in the down position, there is still enough rear boot space to accommodate two golf bags, Ford claims

In the convertible’s roof in the down position, there is still enough rear boot space to accommodate two golf bags, Ford claims

The GT coupes get a small rear wing that stretched across the boot lid. This spoiler is deleted for the convertible version, though both get a reshaped diffuser housing four exhaust outlets

The GT coupes get a small rear wing that stretched across the boot lid. This spoiler is deleted for the convertible version, though both get a reshaped diffuser housing four exhaust outlets

The big reveal of the new Mustang has been teased for months by company officials. The seventh-generation will extend the 58-year lifespan of Ford's most famous muscle car

The big reveal of the new Mustang has been teased for months by company officials. The seventh-generation will extend the 58-year lifespan of Ford’s most famous muscle car

The GT coupes get a small rear wing (which isn’t included for the convertible) and a reshaped diffuser housing the quad exhaust outlets.

For those opting for the convertible, they get a one-touch activating power roof, which attaches to the car with a single latch that can be locked and unlocked with one hand. When in the down position, there is still said to be enough rear boot space to accommodate two golf bags.

Ford has even upgraded the welcome light system that previous shone a prancing mule on the tarmac below when the car was unlocked – this is now animated and runs in unison with the display on the interior screen to greet the driver when they approach.

One of the major upgrades Ford is making a big song and dance about is its new ' technologically advanced, driver-centric cockpit'

One of the major upgrades Ford is making a big song and dance about is its new ‘ technologically advanced, driver-centric cockpit’

This instrument cluster behind the flat-bottomed sports steering wheel is a 12.4-inch digital panel that is fully customisable. Owners are even able to display the classic Mustang's gauges in pixel form on the high-definition screen

This instrument cluster behind the flat-bottomed sports steering wheel is a 12.4-inch digital panel that is fully customisable. Owners are even able to display the classic Mustang’s gauges in pixel form on the high-definition screen

Crowds surround the new Ford Mustang Dark Horse following its debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan on Wednesday evening

Crowds surround the new Ford Mustang Dark Horse following its debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan on Wednesday evening

A Mustang cabin for the digital age

One of the major upgrades Ford is making a big song and dance about is its new ‘ technologically advanced, driver-centric cockpit’.

This includes a 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster that is fully customisable to display whatever mix of information the driver desires. Yet there will still be an option for purists, with owners able to display the classic Mustang’s gauges in pixel form on the high-definition screen.

The HD driver display is linked to a 13.2-inch screen in what looks like a single-piece glass-clad panel sitting on top of the lower section of the dashboard. The main infotainment screen features Ford’s latest Sync4 operating system, which means ‘Power-Up’ upgrades can be added to the car via wireless software updates.

The HD driver display is linked to a 13.2-inch screen in what looks like a single-piece glass-clad panel sitting on top of the lower section of the dashboard

The HD driver display is linked to a 13.2-inch screen in what looks like a single-piece glass-clad panel sitting on top of the lower section of the dashboard

Ford says many of the upgrades to the cabin are to suit 'Millennials, Gen-Z and traditional Mustang drivers alike' who want controls integrated into the infotainment displays rather than individual buttons and switches

Ford says many of the upgrades to the cabin are to suit ‘Millennials, Gen-Z and traditional Mustang drivers alike’ who want controls integrated into the infotainment displays rather than individual buttons and switches

While the V8 represents the authentic muscle car experience, Ford will continue to offer a 4-cylinder, 2.3-litre EcoBoost variant with better fuel economy but less of the famous growl. It hasn't been confirmed is this will come to the UK

While the V8 represents the authentic muscle car experience, Ford will continue to offer a 4-cylinder, 2.3-litre EcoBoost variant with better fuel economy but less of the famous growl. It hasn’t been confirmed is this will come to the UK

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

‘We can be creative in showing necessary driving information and give the driver control of selecting colours, classic Mustang gauges or even a ‘calm’ screen where only minimal details are displayed.’

However, one element that won’t be welcomed by all is the removal of many of the physical buttons. This includes the deletion of radio and climate hard controls, which are now integrated into the digital display – a move Ford says has been made to the preference of ‘Millennials, Gen-Z and traditional Mustang drivers alike’, though will ultimately be more distracting to operate.

Ford has also packed it with the latest safety kit, including Speed Sign Recognition, Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Centring Assist, Evasive Steer Assist and Reverse Brake Assist. A ‘Stolen Vehicle Services 9’ feature, which provides 24-hour support in the event of theft, is also a new feature Mustang buyers can have under a membership scheme.

More details about the Mustang – including its performance stats – are likely to follow in the coming weeks. 

CARS & MOTORING: ON TEST

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