The 2024 Ford Mustang certainly made plenty of waves when it made its debut in the heart of the Motor City. It turns out that Ford had a surprise up its sleeve with the debut of the all-new Dark Horse model which will not only be the new range topping model in the main Mustang family, but it will also be the most powerful model too.
Three Year Dark Horse Project Produces A Performance Filled Monster
Ford revealed that the Dark Horse was a three year project in the making and was designed to redefine the level of performance that the Mustang brings to the table. The main story here is what’s lurking under the hood with the Dark Horse model using a highly modified version of the GT’s 5.0 liter Coyote V8. Like the rest of the 2024 family, Ford is not revealing exact horsepower numbers, but did confirm that the Dark Horse would make over 500 hp. While we’ll have to wait a bit to see if that estimate holds up, the initial number Ford presented would be a 20 hp boost over the GT Mustang.
Part of this increase is due to some of the modifications that Ford engineers gave the coupe with the model featuring piston connection rods as well as a dual throttle body intake that’s designed for optimum airflow. A six-speed manual is standard here with the 10-speed automatic being available as an option. That follows in line with the rest of the Mustang family but if you go for the manual, Ford sweetened the deal a bit by creating a special 3D printed titanium shift ball as well as a special cooler to help keep the transmission composed in intense track driving.
The rest of the car also benefits from extensive modifications to the chassis and platform with larger sway bars and heavy duty front shocks coming along for the ride as well as MagneRide adaptive dampers. The staggered wheels are shod in Pirelli P Zero PZ4 tires and the Dark Horse can also be equipped with carbon fiber wheels from the firm Carbon Revolution. However, Ford is still ironing out some of the kinks for that particular package and as a result, the fancy hoops will appear later after launch. In the meantime, the tires themselves can be swapped out for stickier Pirelli P Zero Trofeo RS summer rubber for even higher amounts of track day grip.
“We’ve taken the all-new Mustang, the best of our new 5.0-liter V8 performance, and added power, improved the aero, tires, steering and provided an interactive cockpit to create a Mustang that goes beyond any 5.0-liter Mustang before it,” said Ed Krenz, Ford Mustang chief nameplate engineer.
Style And Technology Enhance Dark Horse Experience
With all of the performance modifications that Ford engineers made to the Mustang, we’re glad that the exterior and the interior were not left out of the fun. The front headlights are surrounded by a dark graphic package while the grille is exclusive to this model and comes with reworked nostrils. The lower front bumper is also exclusive to the Dar Horse and comes with what Ford calls “high gloss fangs.” While the jury is still out on whether the fangs add anything to the tough guy look, the rest of the car builds on this theme with the rear of the Mustang featuring a large fixed wing, darkened quad exhaust tips, and a larger rear diffuser.
The model also features all-new Dark Horse badges which are scattered on the fenders, trunk, and door sills. The iconic galloping pony badge is still present on the front grille, but Ford points out that the new badges are the first time in the Mustang’s history where the iconic horse has been depicted from a face on view versus the side profile view that we have all grown accustomed to when the first Mustang rolled off the production line in the 1960s. Those badges are also enhanced by the Blue Ember metallic paintwork which looks like it was kissed by flames and really popped with the lighting that Ford used in its press conference yesterday.
Ford didn’t release any images of the interior, but confirmed that a thicker flat bottomed steering wheel with suede inserts will be included while Indigo Blue stitching will be splashed throughout the cabin. The seat belts are also dipped in blue and an optional Dark Horse appearance package spices things up even more with unique trim and a special perforation pattern for the seats.
When Can I Buy A Dark Horse?
Ford didn’t reveal final pricing and availability for the model, but look for this ferocious Mustang to command a considerable premium over its lesser stablemates. We suspect that it could start somewhere around $60,000 which would put the new pony slightly higher than the current generation Mach 1 model.
Look for the Dark Horse to also potentially be a global model with Ford recently trademarking the Dark Horse moniker for use on the Mustang. Expanding its reach to international markets would give the model the opportunity to compete against some of Europe’s best and it would be very interesting to see how the Dark Horse measures up against similar offerings from BMW’s M division as well as Audi’s RS family.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.