2024 Ford Mustang GT

PHOENIX — Just recently, Ford introduced an all-new seventh generation Ford Mustang as a 2024 model. To say I'm a bit surprised isn't much of a reach. Against all odds and in the face of a consumer onslaught of buying trucks, SUVs, and fully electric vehicles, the top brass in Dearborn remains convinced that a goodly number of Americans still aspire to what a Mustang offers.

A car that has looks to die for, tire shredding high-performance, mellifluous exhaust notes that would be the preferred headphone soundtrack when getting an MRI, and all at a price tag that won't necessitate a second job.

So ubiquitous are trucks and SUVs Ford has pulled the plug on all of its passenger car offerings for the U.S .market making the Mustang the sole survivor. Chrysler, now Stellantis-owned, has discontinued both the pony car Challenger and Charger sedan in favor of fully electric power, and General Motors has already announced the Chevrolet Camaro will be discontinued following its production run at the conclusion of the 2024 model year.
That leaves the Mustang as the last pony car standing.

Having just finished a weeklong testing of the new S650-generation 2024 Mustang GT in Premium Fastback trim powered by the GT's most powerful Coyote 480-horsepower 5.0-liter V-8 delivered via the standard six-speed manual-Getrag MT-82 transmission. A 10-speed automatic transmission is an available option.

If that alone isn't enough of a change for a new generation of Mustang, our tester also came equipped with the optional new GT Performance package ($4,995) that includes replacing the standard 3.15 limited-slip rear end for a 3.55 (auto) or 3.73 (manual) Torsen limited-slip unit, 19-inch wheels with summer rubber, six-piston front and four-piston rear Brembos, stiffer springs, additional chassis bracing, and an electronic drift brake, among other things.

Automakers tend to load up media press vehicles by checking most of the optional equipment boxes as was the case with our GT that included the $1,750 MagneRide damping system and perhaps the best optional feature — the active exhaust system that amps up the sound through four levels of mode settings and adds 6 more horsepower and a bit more torque. The Track mode exhaust notes are courtesy of a soundtrack that can be experienced from outside the car as well as in the cabin but only when equipped with the automatic transmission.  

The Mustang GT with the manual shifter includes standard rev-matching that helps hold engine RPM when the clutch is engaged. This retains peak torque between manual gear changes, delivering even more precision, thrill and better refinement. 

Behind the wheel I took our GT through its capabilities on Arizona's Apache Trail one of the best and twistiest canyon roads The Grand Canyon State has to offer. Shod with 255f/276R/40R19 summer tires, the new GT is amazingly poised even with Trigger fish handling darting in and carving through the Trail's two-lane blacktop  with confidence and aplomb feeling exactly like we've experienced in a Shelby-badged Mustang.

There's a lot of shifting on runs through the Apache Trail and although the throws are short and mechanical each gate is confident and easy to find. We really appreciated the automatic rev-matching downshifts but for those with heel-toe shifting precision the feature can be defeated. Braking as expected with Brembos on all four corners is exceptional.

Outside, we like the exterior styling modifications that definitely references the classic Mustang - evolutionary rather than revolutionary. I like how designers treated the back of the Mustang a lot. From the side I'm reminded of the sloping roofline of the Camaro but don't mention that to loyalists.

There's no shortage of re-working on the inside with the dual-cockpit setup completely gone including the double brow dashboard, a Mustang hallmark forever, giving way to a more digital modernization with dual-screens featuring a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 13.4-inch touchscreen Sync 4 infotainment Ford uses in some of its other products.

Ford says the Sync 4 can be updated over the air automatically and uses the Unreal Engine computer graphics lifted from popular video games. The digital gauge cluster lets the driver choose three or five gauge displays from nine possible gauge choices including engine oil pressure, inlet air temp, vacuum, battery voltage, engine oil temp, accelerometer, air/fuel ratio, axle oil temp, and cylinder head temp along with a choice of 28 ambient lighting colors.

The refreshed interior is roomier with more soft touches everywhere in the front seats, but hard plastic trim abounds in the rear seat that's best kept void of passengers except the kiddos for short runs.

Overall for this gear junkie the new Mustang is eye candy and mostly love a first sight. I crushed on the Vapor Blue Metallic exterior color. Prices for the Mustang GT start at $42,495, about $11,000 more than the entry level EcoBoost Fastback. Our GT Premium Fastback starts at $47,015 but with options quickly jumped to over $58,000, and finally there's a limited availability Dark Horse and Dark Horse Premium starting at $59,270 and $63,265 respectively.

The Dark Horse only gets a bump of 14 more horsepower which isn't much over the comparable GT with the optional active exhaust and the torque number is identical. For my money I'd stick with the GT Premium. Ford doesn't do 0-60 mph numbers but we estimated from our runs it clocked in around the mid-4-second. Not blistering fast but fast just the same.

Vital Stats

Base Price: $47,015
Price as Tested: $58,390 (est.)
Engine/Transmission: 5.0-Liter 486-horsepower V8 with a standard 6-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive.
EPA Fuel Economy: 14/23/17  mpg- City/Highway/Combined

Crash Test Safety Ratings: The 2024 Ford Mustang has not been crash tested by either the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as of this writing.

Where Built: Flat Rock, Michigan

Competes With:
Chevrolet Camaro
Nissan Z

Detroit Muscle Car Performance
Great looking new redesign
Superb handliing

Small rear seat

— Jim Prueter