• Auto123 headed to California to test drive the 2024 Ford Mustang.
Arcadia, CA - Nine years after introducing the sixth generation of its legendary Mustang, Ford is ready with Gen 7, coming for the 2024 model-year.
Now, It's not every day we get a new generation of such an iconic product, one that has been assembled without interruption for almost 60 years. Indeed, the world first discovered the Ford Mustang, Gen 1, at the New York International Auto Show on April 17, 1964.
The arrival of this new vintage is significant. Even more so because this may be the last time we get a new gasoline-powered Ford Mustang.
It may also be the first time in 60 years, or at least in 50 (the Mustang II), that we're talking about a ponycar that isn't just for purists. More on that later, but first, here are the essential changes coming toe Mustang for 2024.
Design of the 2024 Ford Mustang
It's not a drastic departure from the outgoing model, but the changes are visible. At the front, the grille takes up more space and the headlamps have been redesigned, as have the bumper and diffuser. The front ends of the 4-cylinder EcoBoost version and the V8-powered GT variant also distinct from each other; the latter features an air extractor on the hood.
At the rear, the signature triple lights with sequential illumination on each side are retained, but the latter are cut in half with a highly concave design of the panel housing them. Older drivers will recognize the 1967 touch, although Ford has accentuated it further here. Our images give you a good idea. It’s a matter of taste, but the design is eye-catching.
For the rest, everything has been redesigned, but the styling remains highly recognizable. Ford mentions having lowered the beltline, a good thing for visibility and to avoid the car starting to look like a creation made for a Transformers movie.
Eleven colours are available, including three for the Brembo brake calipers. There’s one way to personalize your car.
The interior of the 2024 Ford Mustang: Proper screening
The biggest transformation is inside. The dashboard, which up to now had retained a fairly traditional appearance even with a screen available in the instrument cluster, is now dominated by two screens grouped together, angled 10 degrees towards the driver.
The left screen display in front of the driver is 12.4 inches, while the console display spans 13.2 inches diagonally. Both are customizable, and the clarity is remarkable. Truly, the dashboard dazzles, it’s a fine piece of work.
In front of the driver, fans of the Mustang's Fox Body generation will be pleased to learn that the driver screen can be made to show the instrumentation of the era, possible of course because this is all digital. It’s an interesting retro touch. I suggested to the designer to add other years (1964, 1967, 1972...); an idea that seemed to enthuse. We’ll see.
The centre screen features Ford’S Syn4 multimedia system, and frankly, there's little to complain about. Well there is actually, and that concerns designers ditching the buttons for the audio and climate controls. Everything is now touch-sensitive, on-screen. According to Ford, this is what the younger folks, but also the Mustang’s as traditional customers, want. We’re not quite sure about that. And the result is, not surprisingly, that while driving it wasn't easy to adjust the temperature. Worse, it was impossible to do so without taking our eyes off the road.
Overall, the new Mustang gets a more modern presentation. It will be interesting to see what the purists think. In any case, that's certainly the biggest shock with this new generation.
Otherwise, several seating configurations are possible, with a host of materials and accents available, depending on version. The convertible top is once again operated in the same way, with the last operation (or the first on opening) left to the driver, either locking or unlocking. And there's no shortage of interesting amenities, from ambient lighting to a Bang & Olufsen audio system.
2024 Ford Mustang: The powertrains
Let's keep it simple. The engines are the same as before, so the offer includes a 2.3L EcoBoost 4-cylinder and a 5.0L naturally aspirated V8. Ford calls the former a new 4-cylinder, but the block is the same. It's the turbo around it that changes, as does the cooling system, said to be improved.
As a result, the 4-cylinder now offers 315 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, while the V8 delivers up to 486 hp and 418 lb-ft of torque. Each can be mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission, whose gear ratios have been reprogrammed to better reflect the different driving modes on offer. The manual gearbox is no longer offered with the 4-cylinder (fewer than 10 percent of buyers were choosing that option). It is still included standard with the V8.
Note that with each model, you can opt for a sporty exhaust system (Activ Exhaust). This de facto places four tailpipes at the rear, making it easy to recognize which model you’re looking at. With the 4-cylinder, I'd avoid this expense. On the other hand, with the V8 under the hood, the symphonic response is all the more pleasurable under acceleration. Great added value.
2024 Ford Mustang: The drive
What about behind the wheel? Here, it's important to make the distinction, because the experience is different from that of the mechanics. This is also true according to the performance options, added or not to the model.
With the 4-cylinder, power is ample, but the sound is not. If you care, you won't like it. If not, you'll be fine. With the V8, it's a different, much more sonically significant kettle of fish. We drove convertibles equipped with both mills north of Los Angeles, on winding roads that invite delinquency. With the 4-cylinder, we pushed the machine, but ended up preferring the smoothness to admire the scenery. With the V8, we attacked the road with purpose and pleasure. Clearly, with almost 500 horses under the hood, there's plenty to enjoy.
With the V8, we also got a load of what a smooth operator the manual gearbox is. It's also equipped with downshift synchronization, a feature that makes ordinary drivers into experts on winding roads.
The Mustang is still heavy, and when you push it, you end up discovering its limits, as well as those of its tires. That's part of the Mustang experience, it must be said. Feeling that the rear end is sometimes unstable under braking, or chasing the car out of a corner under acceleration, requires constant concentration and intense commitment behind the wheel. There's a fine line between fun and combat, however; if you push a too hard, you're fighting with the car. With any GT model, we naturally recommend the selection of performance-enhancing packages. It adds to the driving pleasure and ensures an easy and profitable resale, the day you decide to move on.
One thing's for sure: this is the best Mustang yet. We put it through a barrage of exercises that would have been too intense for a ponycar from 10 or 20 years ago.
What’s more, the vehicle's parameters can be played with to settle on the settings that suit you, whether it's steering wheel sensitivity, chassis response, etc. The possibilities are virtually limitless.
Of course, there's a world of difference between a 4-cylinder convertible and a GT coupe, which we also tested.
One gadget fun, another useless
A word about two new features introduced with this year's model. One rather amusing, another of consummate uselessness.
First, we're talking about an electronic drift brake, which comes standard with the performance package (with both powertrains). It allows drivers to have the rear of the vehicle skid and then perform a drift manoeuvre, with the dexterity of a professional.
Honestly, it's a lot of fun. In a straight line, when you want to start the manoeuvre, simply release the gas pedal and pull the lever on the center console. The rear end then drives in the opposite direction to the angle you set on the steering wheel. When you release the lever, you press the gas pedal to continue skidding, while regaining control of the vehicle. It takes a few attempts but it’s great fun once you've mastered it.
Note: bring a set of tires for the exercise...
The other gadget is a device that allows you to rev the engine remotely using the car’s fob, and certainly the most useless thing I've seen in recent years. But why? To impress people? Who thinks this is practical anymore? Ford mentioned at the presentation that this device would change enthusiasts' gatherings forever. Obviously, they don't know that in most self-respecting gatherings, it's now forbidden to have your engine revving in this way.
Let's just say we found it very childish. But hey, it’ll probably float some folks’ boats...
The final word
It's impossible to fully describe everything that's new about the Ford Mustang 2024 here. We can confirm the 2024 vintage is the most accomplished, the most interesting in many respects, and that it is, more than ever, aimed at everyone. Now, more than ever, it's possible to simply enjoy the comfort level of this model, without the hassle.
And as mentioned, we are also possibly welcoming the last gasoline-powered generation of the Ford Mustang.
Your questions about the 2024 Ford Mustang:
Is the Ford Mustang really different in 2024?
Yes and no. It's a new generation, but the powertrains are the same, apart from a few improvements. Most of the interior is new, however, and there are more ways to customize the space than ever.
Does the new 2024 Ford Mustang offering include any electrified variants?
Not yet, no. At the time of writing, no hybrid or electric variants have been announced by Ford. That said, this could well be the last gasoline-powered Ford Mustang.
Which version of the 2024 Ford Mustang is the most interesting?
That's really a matter of taste. The EcoBoost-powered variant is packed with quality, but for performance enthusiasts, it can never replace a V8-powered edition.