New Ford Mustang goes sideways with Unreal digital & electro drifting
The all-new Mustang made its debut at the revamped Detroit Auto Show on Wednesday evening. While the muscle icon shows no indications of going electric like that other Mustang, the seventh generation brings loads of Gen Y- and Z-enticing tech to the party. Ford has equiped it with a fighter jet-inspired digital cockpit, electronic drift mode, new turbocharged and natural-breathing engines, and even a remote rev feature that lets the driver unleash the guttural growl of the engine with the tap of a FOB.
"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," says Ford CEO Jim Farley. "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."
Ford is quite overeager to talk all about that connected tech, but as far as we're concerned, the gen-7 Mustang is still a muscle car. So the engines ...
At the top of the heap is a new 5.0-liter Coyote V8 that finds home in what Ford says will be the most powerful naturally aspirated Mustang GT of all time. Ford tightens its lips as to just how much horsepower that GT will tingle toe tips with, so the company will surely make an entirely separate announcement after it puts the howling eight-legged dog through dyno testing at some strategic point before the car's 2023 launch.
GT buyers can either throw a leash around that wild dog and control it themselves via a six-speed manual or leave it to the machine with an advanced 10-speed automatic that matches shifting pattern to selectable drive mode. That 10-speed can also team with the new 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder that serves as the standout option for those who want to keep things cleaner and more efficient.
Whichever engine is livening the rear tires, the driver can quickly and effortlessly send things sliding with the electronic drift brake that comes as part of the performance pack, available across the new Mustang lineup. The new feature, which Ford calls a segment first, allows even the greenest of sports car drivers to go full drift and sharpen their skills.
We have considerable trouble feigning excitement over yet more automotive touchscreen tech, but Ford definitely does not share that condition. The new digital cockpit not only headlines the announcement for the "most digital Mustang ever," it's the very first subject that Ford dives into headfirst ... odd for an old-school muscle nameplate like the Mustang, 2022 or not. Must be some of Farley's "turbocharged ICE growthing" at work.
Wherever the interior tech lands on your personal automotive priority sheet, the Mustang's dual-display interface will be the biggest and brightest thing facing every driver that slides into the lefthand seat. The 12.4-in digital instrument panel can show driver-selected animated designs and digital graphics related to drive mode. The center infotainment display, meanwhile, features a graphical menu of drive mode settings, allowing drivers to swipe and select. The Unreal Engine 3D video game and CGI tool helped Ford create graphics that explode off the screen. Those who prefer one large overflowing screen to two separates can select the option box that melds the instrument cluster and 13.2-in SYNC 4 widescreen into a single curved unit.
Ford deletes some physical buttons and dongles to let the driver keep focus their fingers around the racing-style flat-bottom steering wheel. Other interior equipment and tech include Amazon Alexa voice command, available Bang & Olufsen audio, an optional center console wireless phone charger and overhead USB ports for plugging in track cameras. The remote rev feature adds a new audio dimension to FOB-based remote engine start and gives drivers a soundtrack to match the welcoming light show the Mustang throws on the ground as the driver steps toward the door.
Assisting the driver behind the wheel is the Ford Co-Pilot360 system, which brings tech like intelligent adaptive cruise control with stop/go, speed sign recognition, evasive steering assist, lane centering assist and reverse brake assist.
Ford will build the 2024 Mustang at its Flat Rock, Michigan, assembly plant and open up US sales in summer 2023. The new track-focused Dark Horse line will launch as the first new Mustang performance series in 21 years and will encompass both track-focused street-legal and track-only models with a uniquely tuned Coyote V8, chassis upgrades, carbon fiber add-ons and dark, brooding aesthetics.
You can take a closer look at the new Mustang's incremental styling evolution in the full gallery or see it in some short action in this quick intro video.