Introduced in April 1964 at the New York World’s Fair, the Ford Mustang is considered one of the first “pony cars”, characterized by a very basic formula: big engine up front, rear-wheel drive, two doors, and both coupe and convertible body styles. The 2024 Ford Mustang enters its seventh generation, and while the entire automotive world is turning to all-electric powertrains, we are very happy to still find a 5.0 V8 in the model range.
The Mustang continues to offer a turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost at the base level but the V-8 is available in the GT model, which gets a six-speed Getrag MT-82 six-speed manual transmission as standard.
The new S650 platform, features a revised and more reevy Coyote 5.0-liter engine, pushing the numbers up to 486 hp at 7,250 rpm. Our car today is also fitted with the Performance Pack that brings many other improvements such as a front strut-tower brace, Torsen limited-slip differential, wider wheels and tires, larger Brembo brakes, and a MagneRide active-damping suspension.
Designwise, we think it’s more like a restyling than a complete new model. At the front, the grille takes up more space and the headlamps have been redesigned, as have the bumper and diffuser. At the rear we still find the signature triple lights with sequential illumination on each side, with a highly recognizable styling. The biggest change is inside, with the dashboard now dominated by two fully configurable screens grouped together. Everything turned digital now, and the only interface that is analog is the one we care about: the six-speed shifter and the clutch with which it works!
From the foggy Bay of San Francisco, we decided to escape the traffic of the city and drive through the mountains taking our way east inwards to the San Joaquin Valley. The Route 85 north-east is surrounded by dried hills, deserts and mostly flat sceneries. The straight, long and seemingly endless roads are a perfect testing ground for the 5.0 liter V8.
The Mustang is still heavy, and when you push it, you end up discovering its limits, as well as those of its tires. On the straight line though, it is decently fast, with a 0-100 kms/h covered in 4.3 seconds. With a good amount of torque at low rpms, it’s not difficult to do burnouts, as we quickly found out.
After Merced, we pointed the nose up north by running through Route 140 up to the Western entrance of the Yosemite National Park. The active exhaust fitted on our “shadow black” car is always a good companion, together with the downshift synchronization, a feature that makes you smile all the time especially on the winding roads surrounded by rock faces.
The new upgraded Brembo system is very efficient, while the rear end is sometimes unstable under braking. Also the steering transmits insufficient road texture when you drive close to the limit. The updated 5 liter put out enough low-end torque to make revving it to get off the line totally unnecessary and you remember that, despite the lovely soundtrack, this is a Mustang GT, and not a GT500.
The GT is basically an evolution of the previous (and lovely) Mach 1, geared more for everyday cruising and fun on backroad blasts. The combination of the Coyote V8 and the 6-Speed makes it the perfect Escape Car in pure american style.
There is still much to love in this new Pony, even more considering that this may be the last time we get a new gasoline-powered Ford Mustang.