WHAT’S THAT: The seventh generation of the icon that launched the pony-car genre is coming in time for the Mustang brand’s 60th anniversary. Expect it in coupe (as given here by our artist) and convertible with two powertrain offerings. Variants that provide greater performance and efficiency will follow in the years to come.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: The Mustang, along with the Bronco and the F-150, are pillars of the Ford brand that carry tremendous emotional appeal. It is Ford’s only North American car offering and also ranks as one of a number of affordable and fun two-door cars to drive. Plus droptops are all over the charter fleet in tropical locations — what would we do if they disappeared?
PLATFORM AND POWERTRAIN: The 2024 Mustang will get a new codename (S650), but we expect the D2C-derived architecture to largely carry over from its predecessor S550. And based on numerous prototype spy photos and leaks, it will only receive mild evolutionary styling revisions, such as slimmer three-element headlamps, revised hexagonal grille, and new air intakes. The new electrical architecture will enable new feature content as it rolls out, such as a fully digital instrument cluster and today’s newest driver and safety assist features. It will also support over-the-air updates for an increased number of features that the software supports, helping it stay as fresh as ever during its expected eight-year lifespan.
Powertrain offerings will carry over at launch, including the 2.3-liter EcoBoost I-4 and 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 engines, as well as six-speed manual and 10-speed automatic transmissions. Engine output can be adjusted—we hear the base power of the 2.3 liter will increase from 310 to 320 hp, for example. And Ford officials have warned us that the six-speed may be phased out at some point during the life of this model.
One of the main powertrain additions expected in 2025 will be conventional and/or plug-in hybridization. The leaked info suggests both engines will get an electric boost. This can be achieved most easily by using Ford’s version of the Modular Hybrid Transmission (MHT) like the one found in the Explorer Hybrid, which should be adaptable to both engines.
Among the electrification possibilities, fans will be most impressed by the unique V-8 hybrid powertrain revealed in the patent images. It mounts an alternator-sized electric motor on each side of the V-8, with its output shaft roughly parallel to the crankshaft centerline. Being patented makes sense, as we’re not aware of any other vehicle using such a setup. Plus, it’s a lot simpler than trying to pack one electric motor somewhere and needing to run a shaft through an oil pan; which will likely require a half-shaft angle that will overload the existing CV joint. Using dual motors also allows vector-torque-boosted handling up front—could this system power the next Bullitt or Mach 1?
The rumor mill has hinted at a plug-in version that offers at least 10 or 20 miles of electric range, and this will no doubt increase efficiency and possibly contribute in some small way to achieving a higher corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) rating. coming for 2026. But it will also add more weight to a sports car that normally weighs more than 3,800 pounds today. So if there’s an efficiency-focused hybrid Mustang, expect it to be a rear-drive EcoBoost. Of course, once there’s a battery and MHT to work with on this platform, it’s not hard to imagine pairing it with a V-8 and front motor, combining the output of the Coyote V-8 and motor, and creating a worthy successor to the Shelby GT500. with blistering torque-vector AWD performance and respectable EPA numbers.
Spy shots also reveal a shift from a retro-looking dashboard with binnacles to a sleeker interior dominated by large instruments and an infotainment screen capable of displaying the latest Sync graphics in stunning high resolution. It’s not clear whether the Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger as we know it will last into the next decade, but we hope Ford will consider it—and to sharpen the Mustang’s chassis dynamics sufficiently so that it once again beats the Camaro.
PRICE FORECASTS: Expect modest price increases of up to $30,000 for the base EcoBoost coupe or $40,000 for the GT, with the ragtop adding around $5,500 for both.
EXPECTED SALE DATE: Could Ford refuse to launch the 60th anniversary Mustang on Monday April 17, 2023—the 59th anniversary of its World Show debut?