2024 Mustang GT: A Roaring Evolution
2024 Mustang GT: A Roaring Evolution – When it comes to the Ford Mustang lineup, enthusiasts have experienced a rollercoaster of emotions over the years. From the exhilarating flat-plane-crank-powered Mustang Shelby GT350R to the robust Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca and the lightweight 1993 Mustang Cobra, there have been high points. Yet, there have also been forgettable models like the underwhelming SN95 Mustang GT. So, as we approached the media drive event for the new-for-2024 Mustang GT, our expectations were mixed. However, a surprisingly enjoyable experience with the 2024 Mustang EcoBoost gave us a glimmer of hope. Could the Mustang GT live up to the legacy? Let’s dive in and explore what’s new and what’s not.
The New Look: Design Refresh
The most apparent change in the S650 Mustang is its new sheet metal. Ford’s design team once again drew inspiration from the first-gen Mustang, making this the third consecutive generation with callbacks to the ’67 and ’68 models. However, they managed to infuse the car with a fresh, modern look. Alongside nods to the past, such as the New Edge and S197-inspired taillights, there are also new design cues. Each variant, including the EcoBoost, GT, and the debutante Mustang Dark Horse, boasts unique front-end treatments. A standout feature is the GT’s new grille nostrils, designed to channel air to the extensively updated 5.0-liter Coyote V-8.
Power Boost: The Heart of the Beast
Under the hood, the base GT engine has received some notable upgrades. Two new airboxes, a larger plenum intake manifold, steel oil pan, and camshaft tweaks have led to a 20-horsepower increase (along with a slight 5 lb-ft torque reduction) compared to the third-generation engine. With a robust 480 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque, the Mustang GT offers an exhilarating driving experience. However, for those who crave even more power, an optional $1,225 active exhaust system pushes the output to an impressive 486 horsepower and 418 lb-ft of torque. If that’s not enough, the Mustang Dark Horse takes it a step further with a 500-hp variant of the same engine.
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Unlike Mustang EcoBoost buyers, GT enthusiasts have the privilege of choosing between two transmissions. The standard option is a six-speed manual, specifically the Getrag MT-82, although it hasn’t always been a fan favorite among Mustang enthusiasts. Alternatively, you can opt for a 10-speed automatic transmission. The Mustang Dark Horse comes equipped with a different six-speed manual, the Tremec TR-3160.
Evolution, Not Revolution
While it may seem like a lot has changed, the truth is that most of the alterations from the S550 to the S650 Mustang occurred at the steering and chassis levels, as well as within the interior. Drawing inspiration from previous Mustangs like the Mach 1 and Shelby GT350 and GT500, as well as competitors like the Toyota GR Supra, Ford invested significant time in refining the 2024 Mustang’s steering rack, chassis, and suspension.
The result? The 2024 Mustang GT retains its legendary performance characteristics. Although the revised Coyote engine’s power differences may not be immediately evident, it remains a torque-rich revver, reaching peak horsepower just shy of its 7,500-rpm redline and peak torque just before 5,000 rpm. The six-speed manual, now equipped with a no-lift-shift feature, delivers an engaging driving experience with short, mechanical shifts and precise gate placements. For enthusiasts who prefer heel-and-toe downshifting, the pedal placement is ideal, complemented by responsive clutch feel and exceptional braking performance.
The 10-speed automatic, while not as engaging as the manual, impresses with its seamless operation. It adapts to your driving style, holding gears longer during spirited driving and shifting for efficiency during relaxed cruising. Its rapid upshifts could give it an advantage in drag races against manual Mustangs, although its downshifts may not match the quickness of dual-clutch transmissions like the one found in the old Mustang GT500.
In conclusion, the 2024 Mustang GT doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it doesn’t need to. With its power, style, and refined handling, it stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of the Mustang lineage. Whether you’re a die-hard Mustang enthusiast or simply seeking an adrenaline-pumping driving experience, the Mustang GT is ready to deliver.