Motor Authority Finest Automobile To Purchase 2024 finalist


The newest era Mustang brings a brand new nameplate to the steady. The strongest, track-focused, and street-legal pony automotive to put on the enduring badge is now the Ford Mustang Darkish Horse. It picks up the place the Mustang Mach 1 left off. That automotive picked up the torch from the Efficiency Bundle Degree 2 model, which was a finalist for Motor Authority Finest Automobile To Purchase 2019. Will the brand new era push the Darkish Horse excessive?

The Mustang lineup isn’t actually new, but it surely’s closely revised sufficient to warrant an inner platform code change from S550 to S650.

Ford Mustang Dark Horse

Ford Mustang Darkish Horse

The star of the Darkish Horse is the revised 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 rated at 500 hp and 418 lb-ft of torque, which is up 20 hp and three lb-ft over the usual GT’s V-8. These aren’t variations that may be felt, however bragging rights are bragging rights. 

The ability will increase are due to a unique tune, a dual-intake plenum, higher consumption routing with twin air intakes mounted within the grille, commonplace energetic exhaust, and connecting rods from the Mustang Shelby GT500.

One change that may be felt is the change from the GT’s Getrag to a Tremec 6-speed guide transmission. It’s a extra sturdy transmission with a trans cooler for observe driving, and it has quick, constructive throws and a weighty clutch pedal. For individuals who don’t #GiveAShift, a 10-speed automated is on the market for the Darkish Horse, and it has trim-specific programming adjustments to carry gears longer.

Darkish Horse fashions get the identical brakes as Mustang GT Efficiency Pack vehicles. They’re 15.4-inch vented entrance rotors grabbed by Brembo 6-piston calipers and 14.0-inch vented rear rotors with 4-piston calipers. An improve isn’t wanted, as these brakes haul down the Mustang from triple-digit speeds repeatedly with out ever fading or smoking. 

Ford Mustang Dark Horse

Ford Mustang Darkish Horse

Different revisions to the Darkish Horse from the remainder of the GT lineup are within the title of observe efficiency. They embody a barely faster 15.5:1 steering ratio (versus 16.0:1), a stiffer steering column for extra direct connection to the pavement, and 50% stiffer rear decrease management arm bushings for improved dealing with.

Base Darkish Horse fashions have related efficiency tools as GT fashions with the Dealing with Bundle, together with 255/35R19 entrance and 275/30R19 rear Pirelli P Zero PZ4 summer season tires, a strut tower brace, and a Torsen limited-slip rear differential with a 3.73 ratio (with a guide transmission, 3.55 with the automated). However issues go additional for the Darkish Horse with entrance springs which are 31% stiffer, half-inch wider wheels entrance and rear, and commonplace magnetic dampers. There are additionally extra transmission and rear differential coolers, in addition to a more practical oil-to-air engine oil cooler mounted within the grille.

Ford Mustang Dark Horse

Ford Mustang Darkish Horse

However Darkish Horse patrons can go for a $4,995 Dealing with Bundle that cranks up the dealing with prowess. Wider 19×10.5 entrance and 19×11 wheels get mounted on sticky 305/30 entrance and 315/30 rear Pirelli P Zero Trofeo RS tires, that are mainly street-legal race automotive tires. The one different new automotive with these new tires is the Pagani Utopia. There’s additionally an extension added to the entrance lip spoiler, a set of aspect skirts, a brand new rear diffuser, and a Gurney flap on the fastened rear wing.

The best technique to spot a Darkish Horse, particularly if it isn’t geared up with the Dealing with Bundle, is the darkish mascara-like trim beneath the headlights and the purposeful hood vent. 

Ford Mustang Dark Horse

Ford Mustang Darkish Horse

Inside, the Darkish Horse sports activities the identical updates as different Mustangs. A big slab of glass rises from the dashboard to cowl a 12.4-inch digital gauge cluster and a 13.2-inch touchscreen. Your complete system is reconfigurable, and there’s even a retro Fox Physique set of digital gauges for followers of the automotive’s historical past. The common seats are high quality, however the out there Recaros are a should for observe driving to carry you in place. They’re supportive and comfy whereas hugging in all the appropriate locations. 

Ford Mustang Dark Horse

Ford Mustang Darkish Horse

Beginning at $60,865, the Darkish Horse isn’t low cost. It’s $4,285 greater than a GT mannequin with the Efficiency Bundle, magnetic dampers, and energetic exhaust, and by that metric it’s well worth the value. 

But it surely nonetheless has all of the drawbacks of different Mustangs. The doorways are a attain to shut, the rear seat is tiny, and in current generations the automotive has gotten arguably too large and too heavy. 

Does this Mustang lastly add as much as be greater than the sum of its elements? Will the Ford Mustang Darkish Horse win and be named Motor Authority Finest Automobile To Purchase 2024 over an American supercar, a German sport coupe, a high-performance electrical sedan, and a Japanese sizzling hatch? Examine again on Jan. 3 once we reveal the winner, together with the champs from our sister websites, The Automobile Connection and Inexperienced Automobile Stories.

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