The new Mustang is at least 12 months from hitting our shores, but Ford has already confirmed a track-oriented Dark Horse is being added to the Australian stable.
“With the introduction of the seventh-generation Mustang, Ford Australia will add an exciting new special edition nameplate to the Mustang stable, Dark Horse,” Ford Australia said in a statement.
“Dark Horse is a street and track-capable performance Mustang with striking visual cues and all of the capability sports car lovers expect.”
“With sinister looks and a specially modified 5.0-litre V8, Dark Horse will set a new benchmark for Australian street and track performance.”
The car pictured features a unique bonnet graphic, front splitter, and what look like more track-focused wheels than the stock units. Brembo brakes are also present, while the rear is home to a racy spoiler. The grille is new, as is the Blue Ember paintwork.
Under the skin, it features a Torsen limited-slip differential and a bigger sway bar at the rear, along with a more serious strut tower brace and new dampers at the front.
The specification sheet for the Dark Horse in the USA appears aligned with what was meant to come Down Under in the outgoing Mustang Mach 1.
It was pitched as a track-oriented take on the GT before Ford Australia watered down its specs, apologised to customers and offered incentives to those keeping their orders, and paid a fine from the ACCC for misleading conduct.
Ford hasn’t detailed how much power the Dark Horse will have from its 5.0-litre V8 engine, but says it’s targeting at least 373kW. Expect a choice of a 10-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission.
Outputs and fuel economy figures are still being certified across the range, and therefore haven’t been announced – but Ford says the Mustang will have more power, greater efficiency and quicker 0-100km/h sprint times across the board than the current car.
The outgoing model’s V8 produces 339kW of power and 556Nm of torque in GT guise, and 345kW of power in Mach 1 guise.
The 2024 Mustang range is underpinned by a version of the outgoing sixth-generation’s platform, which Ford says was the “best fit” for the car.
There’s carryover suspension architecture, though there have been some updates, including new aluminium lower control arms and new rear linkages. The Magneride adaptive damping system remains optional.
Ford says there’s a new steering rack and a faster steering ratio across the range, along with a new generation of safety equipment including adaptive cruise control, lane centring, evasive steering assist, and reverse brake assist.
Perhaps the greatest stylistic departure comes inside the Mustang, with the dual-cowl – double-brow in Ford parlance – dashboard replaced with a more linear unit.
Premium models and up feature a 13.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a 12.3-inch instrumentation display a single wraparound housing, while base models feature standalone displays. The touchscreen runs Ford’s latest Sync 4 operating system.
Physical climate controls are gone, replaced with shortcuts at the base of the central touchscreen. There’s a single row of physical switches, including the hazard lights, while underneath these there’s finally a storage shelf, which also includes a wireless charging pad.
All models feature a flat-bottomed steering wheel, a first for the Mustang. Automatic models feature paddle shifters with a silver finish. Like the outgoing car, the digital instrument cluster features different layouts for different drive modes.
Ford says it looked at the outgoing car’s graphics, as well as those of the GT and Mustang Mach-E, for inspiration, and there are more angular, modern elements with copper-coloured highlights.
In a retro touch, Ford has also developed a 1980s-inspired theme for the digital instrument cluster that simulates the instruments from the long-running 1979-93 Mustang that rode the Fox platform. The numbers even glow green at night in true 1980s Ford fashion.
MORE: Everything Ford Mustang