It just doesn’t get much more iconic than the Ford Mustang. The original “pony car” has been on sale for over 50 years, battling the best front-engine, rear-wheel drive performance machines from Chevrolet, Pontiac, Dodge, and Plymouth. While some of its competitors have faded into history, the Mustang still competes against some incredible muscle cars.
With Chevy’s Camaro SS growing more sophisticated and powerful, and Dodge’s Challenger due for a brand new generation, the Mustang must keep its wits about it. With this in mind, Ford readies a host of updates for the next model year ‘Stang. Here’s all we know about the 2018 Ford Mustang.
Though the 2018 Mustang hasn’t been shown in the flesh, Ford did reveal coupe and convertible bodystyles online a few months ago. While not dramatically different, the exterior tweaks have earned mixed feedback.
Everything from the A-pillar forward is all new. New, narrower headlights include three strips of LED daytime running lights to blend cool design and safety. Below, the front bumper has been redesigned for a sharper look and horizontal turn signals have been added. New venting in the hood adds aggression to the base trim ‘Stang. The rear end also receives a new design with standard quad-top exhaust ports. Rounding out the tweaks are three new paint options and a dozen new wheel designs.
Ford will drop the Mustang’s entry-level naturally aspirated V6 powertrain for the 2018 model year. That leaves the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder and 5.0-liter ‘Coyote’ V8 as the sole engine options. Fret not for lack of V6, however, as the Mustang gets more power and performance goodies across the board.
The new entry model, with its turbocharged inline four now makes 310 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, which is an increase of 30 lb-ft of torque. A new 10-speed automatic transmission will be available alongside the standard six-speed manual. Acceleration to 60 mph should be a 5.0-second affair.
Bigger news is the increase in output for refreshed Mustang GTs. The 5.0-liter V8 now makes 460hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, improvements of 25hp and 20 lb-ft. These figures put the Mustang GT just 5hp up on the Camaro SS, but still down 35 lb-ft of torque. These increases are due to a fuel-delivery system that employs both direct and port injection, a higher redline, and a new variable exhaust. Like the EcoBoost model, a six-speed manual and 10-speed automatic will be on offer.
Ford expects the GT to hit 60 mph in under four seconds when drivers use the new Drag Strip mode. All Mustangs will also benefit from Ford’s line-lock function, which translates to tire-shredding burnouts. For those unfamiliar with line-lock, it’s a system that locks the front brakes for 15 seconds so you can mash the throttle and create plumes of smoke.
Last but not least, the refreshed Mustang will utilize the GT350’s MagneRide adaptive dampers for improved handling on track and a more supple ride on road.
Ford is making some key changes beneath the surface of the 2018 Mustang as well. For the first time, the Mustang will include driver aids like pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, distance alert, a lane-departure warning system, and lane-keeping assist. Owners can also use a dedicated smartphone application called FordPass to start, lock, unlock, and locate their car.
In addition to safety tech, the Mustang will adopt Ford’s first digital instrument cluster, with 12.0-inches of LCD real estate. With three unique themes, drivers can reconfigure the display and store preferred suspension and steering preferences. This is a clearly modern Mustang.
Ford loves making special edition Mustangs, and though not all are as exciting as Ford would like us to believe, some are pretty awesome. Most of you are probably familiar with the Shelby GT350/R, which is perhaps the best-handling muscle car ever built. As impressive as that car is around a track, it can’t keep up with Dodge’s 707-hp Hellcat (or its new 840-hp Demon). To properly fend off members of the underworld, Ford will resurrect its Shelby GT500.
Back in 2013, the Shelby GT500 made 662hp, so we can expect the new model to make upwards of 700 horses. A new 5.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 will be matched with powerful Brembo brakes, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, and carbon fiber or aluminum construction materials.
If a 700-plus horsepower muscle car sounds a bit too heavy-handed, the other rumored special edition ‘Stang might suit your fancy. Not since 2004 has Ford offered a Mach 1 Mustang, but 2018 might be the car’s grand return. We don’t have many details, but expect a big uptick in power and bold new styling compared to the Mustang GT.
The 2018 Ford Mustang will goes on sale at the end of July. Pricing information hasn’t been released yet, but for reference, the 2017 EcoBoost Mustang starts at $26,195 while the GT starts at $33,195.