2024 Mustang Dark Horse



MIAMI — In racing, a “dark horse” is a long shot not expected to win a race but nevertheless retains some chance for success such as Mystik Dan, who went into this year’s Kentucky Derby saddled with 18-1 odds but nosed out the other 19 competitors at the wire. When it comes to cars, however, there is nothing long shot about the Dark Horse edition of the 2024 Ford Mustang. It is a pure winner, a real thoroughbred among performance coupes.


With the 2024 model kicking off the Mustang’s seventh generation, the Dark House joins a list of special editions that include Shelby Mustangs, Boss Mustang, Mach 1, and the Eleanor Mustang from the movie Gone in 60 Seconds.

More track-focused than other Mustang trims, the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse is just as civilized cruising city streets thanks to the various options on the custom menu selected via the handy touchscreen.

The 5.0-liter V8 engine in the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Hours sends 500 horsepower and 418 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels via either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 10-speed automatic gear box, making it the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 Ford has ever built. It propels the Dark Horse from zero to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, according to the website www.zeroto60times.com.

Ford has given the Dark Horse distinctive styling features and badging and a larger front grille to give it a somewhat menacing appearance that is backed up by a dual quad exhaust that sends off as many as four deep base tones.

The 4-cylinder Ecoboost and Ecoboost Premium trims and 480 hp V8 GT and GT Premium models are available as either a 4-passenger coupe or convertible, but the Dark Horse, given its potential track use, is offered only as a coupe.

Standard features on the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse include LED headlights and taillights, Brembo brake calipers, push-button start, Ford’s CoPilot360 system (automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-centering, and traffic sign recognition, and on models with the automatic transmission, stop-and-go adaptive cruise).

FordPass Connect with 4G Wifi is included and safety standard features in addition to those in the Ford CoPilot360 package include the usual collection of seatbelts and airbags.

Selectable drive modes (accessed by pressing the “mustang” button at the bottom of the center stack) allow you to customize your driving experience. You have choices of Drive modes (Normal, Sport, Track, Drag, Slippery) and can turn off traction control, set suspension and steering for the track, and tune your exhaust to Normal, Sport, Track, or Quiet mode, Quiet being a relative term here.

You can even select different color schemes for displays and choose from three different versions of the instrument cluster (Normal, Sport, Calm).

Carbon fiber wheels, a special Dark Horse Handling Package (wider wheels, manually adjustable suspension, larger rear spoiler), and a Dark Horse Appearance Package (blue interior accents, black painted roof, blue brake calipers, special hood graphic) are among options exclusive to the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse.

The 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse starts at $58,935 and the Dark Horse Premium at $62.930, which is a pretty good leap over the GT Premium ($48,980). Ecoboost models rest in the $30,000 range. Exact numbers were not available on my test 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse Premium.



What I liked about the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse: Acceleration is a major asset, of course, and you do so with a symphony of deep bass exhaust tones bathing you in sound. The interior if not of luxury standards is more sophisticated than the spartan cabin of past Mustangs. You can even set your own color scheme for the touchscreen and instrument panel. Infotainment functions are user-friendly, though I would like a knob to surf the radio dial. There is one for volume, however.

What I didn’t like about the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse: No AM radio. I realize that there are many other more popular options (FM, Sirius/XM, streaming) but AM often is used for emergency communications, and the AM band has extended range. (Which explains why that growing up Southern Indiana I could pick stations from Chicago and New Orleans when conditions were right.) Backseat riders of any size are going to have to contort themselves to get in and with only 29 inches of legroom won’t have much room when they do.

Would I buy the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse? If you don’t have an interest in taking it to the track, the GT or GT Premium Mustangs are good options. But if your budget can take it, the Dark Horse will give you the most fun driving experience whether you go racing or not.

— Paul Borden