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2023 Ford Mustang Dark Horse Is the New Pony Car King

Regardless of the continued EV revolution, Ford has managed to maintain the normal pony automobile alive with the debut of the all-new seventh-generation S650 Mustang. Whereas a brand new model of the world’s best-selling sports activities automobile is already thrilling by itself, the all-new Ford Mustang Darkish Horse mannequin guarantees to be essentially the most highly effective, track-oriented automobile to ever carry a 5.0-liter V-8 underneath the hood with a focused output of 500 hp. There’s some critical package that you could get with this factor.

Foolish title apart, the Darkish Horse arrives as the primary all-new particular version Mustang because the Bullitt was first launched in 2001. Whereas nameplates like Mach 1 or GT500 carry a certain quantity of historic expectation from clients, world design director Joel Piaskowsk defined to R&T that the transfer to the S650 era opened up a brand new alternative for the Mustang staff. Extra particularly, the brand new platform allowed the automaker to push the boundaries of what a Mustang can and must be.

“We talked about all completely different collection inside Mustang and felt this was now the best time to do one thing new,” mentioned Piaskowski in an interview with R&T. “ We have nice heritage, however that simply additionally leaves the door open for future alternatives. That is the place we see understanding our buyer base, and realizing that we wish to entice a more recent buyer. We all know the present buyer very properly, and now we have the GT which actually resonates with that buyer, however we really feel Darkish Horse is that this new entry that we actually really feel brings a distinct buyer into the combo. It is much more track-focused.”

That target monitor readiness begins underneath the hood, the place a well-recognized 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 engine sits, now in its fourth era. For the Darkish Horse, it is full of a ton of distinctive elements aimed toward enhancing efficiency, together with a more durable set of camshafts, in addition to a cast crankshaft and connecting rod setup borrowed proper off of the outgoing GT500. Mixed with a novel engine calibration, the Darkish Horse guarantees to ship essentially the most quantity of horsepower ever supplied by a 5.0-liter Coyote engine. Ford hasn’t given us an actual quantity, however now we have some thought. On the reveal occasion, Ed Krenz mentioned Ford is focusing on not less than 500 hp.

That potent V-8 will be mated to both a 10-speed automated, or the Tremec-sourced six-speed guide supplied within the Mach 1. The latter gearbox is a welcome addition on this case, because the Mustang’s customary MT82 guide gearbox has typically been lamented for its lack of on-track prowess. The Darkish Horse staff additionally wished to rejoice guide clients by providing a shift knob impressed by the titanium exhaust discovered on the mid-engined GT supercar. The shifter itself is topped with a 3D-printed little bit of blue anodized titanium, which includes a distinctive texture beneath to assist with cooling the floor.

Whereas the S650 era is certainly largely based mostly on the outgoing S550 chassis, Krenz did notice that round 85 p.c of the automobile is new. Automakers have a tendency to make use of a distinct definition of that phrase than the remainder of us, however the Darkish Horse does particularly pack some chassis tweaks for monitor use. Each Mustang Darkish Horse comes outfitted with MagneRide shock absorbers, which have been recalibrated for the S650. An auxiliary engine oil cooler, rear axle cooler and a lighter radiator all work collectively to enhance cooling capabilities. Go for the Efficiency Bundle, and you may obtain additional chassis tuning changes, bigger sway bars out again, and a heavier obligation set of shocks up entrance. A strut tower brace and a novel Okay-brace from Ford Efficiency assist to enhance dealing with and chassis suggestions. A Torsen rear differential retains issues tidy on nook exit, whereas 19-inch wheels wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero PZ4 tires work in tandem with a set of large Brembo stoppers.

For those who nonetheless want extra functionality, Ford may also provide the monitor bundle, which additionally brings a novel rear wing with an built-in Gurney flap. This aero bundle supplies extra downforce than some other new Mustang on provide. Stiffer springs are additionally a part of the bundle, as are upgraded entrance and rear sway bars, and Pirelli Trofeo tires. You’ll be able to even spec a set of carbon wheels from Carbon Revolution, which marks the primary time they have been supplied on a non-Shelby mannequin.

“There is a little bit of a theme on this product of what are the most effective issues from our earlier Shelby’s that we are able to deliver collectively,” mentioned Krenz. “It is at all times been certainly one of our company methods to develop expertise on the top of our automobiles, after which deliver it down and make it extra accessible. That is additionally why whenever you introduce a brand new collection just like the Darkish Horse, you need it to be on the high.”

A few of these Shelby traits proceed with the styling of the Darkish Horse, which is reminiscent of the present GT500. The entrance finish is way more horizontal than earlier than, mirroring the squared-off look of that 760-hp monster. The aero packages solely additional press on this household relationship, because the entrance splitter and aspect skirts are virtually ringers for the present providing. The rear diffuser and blacked-out exhaust tip combo seems menacing, and goals to trace on the efficiency on provide from the Darkish Horse. As you’d anticipate, there are a ton of distinctive Darkish Horse badges across the automobile, which characteristic a ton of detailing work we have but to see on a Mustang. The identical will be mentioned concerning the Blue Ember metallic paint, which shifts from a bluish grey to an ember orange relying on the sunshine. The impact is nearly like that of the (in?)well-known Mysichrome hue discovered on the SN95 era of Mustangs, albeit a bit extra mature in its execution.

Like each S650 Mustang, the Darkish Horse options a way more tech-laden inside than earlier than. This begins with the 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster and 13.2-inch middle stack combo, which now runs Ford’s Sync 4 infotainment. That brings niceties like over-the-air updates and wi-fi CarPlay performance. The system can be backed by the Unreal 3D engine, which supplies a bunch of latest on-screen graphics that look proper at dwelling in 2022. Darkish trim items will exchange the brighter models discovered throughout the remainder of the lineup, whereas a 12-speaker B&O stereo performs the tunes. Blue stitching comes as customary, whereas Deep Indigo Blue seats are a part of the Darkish Horse Look Pack.

Leaning into the track-focused nature of the Darkish Horse, Ford will probably be releasing two track-only variants of the trim generally known as the Darkish Horse S and Darkish Horse R. The S mannequin will get a full FIA-certified security cage, security nets, a race seat with security belts and a race steering wheel with fast disconnect. It additionally comes with a set of Multimatic DSSV dampers and Brembo Racing brakes. The Darkish Horse R mannequin is extra hardcore but, and consists of the entire aforementioned content material, however will probably be serialized by Ford to be used in correct motorsports occasions world wide. These vehicles additionally obtain some seam welding for added power, in addition to a racing gas cell and Ford Efficiency wheels.

The Ford Mustang Darkish Horse will arrive because the range-topping pony automobile providing someday subsequent spring, so long as Ford is ready to hold its provide chain points in test. Whereas pricing data has but to be launched, anticipate the Darkish Horse to be priced above the present Mach 1 choices. We’ll know extra about pricing and precise efficiency metrics because the on-sale date attracts nearer.

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