The 2018 Ford Mustang is getting some interesting changes that go far beyond its somewhat controversial new look. The popular muscle car gets a thorough refresh that includes more tech and performance enhancements.
Here are all the juicy details you need on the rear-wheel-drive coupe, which should be hitting dealerships later this year.
Sayonara, Six Cylinder
We hope you weren’t attached to the six-cylinder engine option in the Mustang because it won’t be offered going forward. Ford neutered the V6’s popularity by giving it a limited amount of content, but now the automaker will be going ahead with the turbocharged four-cylinder engine as the base motor for the vehicle. Luckily, the V8 is here to stay.
There’s also a hybrid Mustang that was officially confirmed last week, although we’re not expecting to see it until the next-generation model comes out in 2020.
Speaking of that EcoBoost four-cylinder, Ford says the force-fed motor will be returning in 2018 with new torque ratings, but were coy about further details. Seeing as the 2.3-liter engine is similar to the one used in the Focus RS, we’re also excited at the idea of a 350-hp Mustang, but the more reasonable expectation is that we won’t see anything that high. Although, in order to keep the Mustang competitive with the V6 Camaro, Ford may need to bump the EcoBoost engine to something like 335 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. That’s how much power you get out of the current engine with Ford’s own performance upgrades, so it makes sense that it could be the new standard going forward.
ALSO SEE: 2017 Ford Focus RS Review
But wait a minute. This is a Mustang we’re talking about, so let’s talk about the V8. The eight-cylinder version of the Mustang, also known as “the one to get” will also get a boost in performance and, like the four-cylinder gains, we don’t know the specifics. But we do know that the power bump comes from a higher compression ratio, and the addition of both port- and direct-injection, kind of like D4S system found in engines throughout the Lexus lineup.
Helping to put all that power to the wheels is a new automatic transmission, which now has 10 speeds instead of six. And in a strange twist, it’s a unit that’s been developed in cooperation with Ford’s American automaker rival, General Motors. The new transmission is expected to help improve fuel economy and performance. The transmission changes depending on the drive mode you’re in and can also be controlled via steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Those still clutching their manual gearboxes don’t need to get jealous. The manual transmission has been beefed up with a new twin-disc clutch that’s built to handle both engines’ increased torque output.
Let’s talk about the ride, which is getting a serious overhaul, too. The Mustang will now get the same monotube shocks that used to be only available as part of the Performance Pack.
That means the Performance Package will come with a significant handling upgrade in the form of MagneRide magnetorheological dampers. Ford says these will allow drivers to customize and optimize the ride of their pony car.
Inside the car, you’ll notice that most of the layout and design of the car is more or less the same. That is, except for the huge 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster that reminds us of the Audi Virtual Cockpit. With three different modes that switch between, Normal, Sport, and Track, the screen reconfigures itself to prioritize performance-related information.
Did you see this new spoiler? It’s the exclamation point on the refreshed Mustang. It’s also an optional add-on, so if you don’t like it, you don’t need to get it! Other noticeable changes on the exterior of the car include an overall smoother appearance thanks to a new front fascia. It’s also covered in LEDs, but in a more tasteful way than your house’s Christmas lights (speaking of which, it’s January, take those down already!) Interestingly, Ford points out that this is the first time that the entire Mustang line sports all-LED lights up front.
New Mustangs are EXHAUSTing
Drivers can now opt for the active dual-mode exhaust system for the Mustang GT that was previously was only available on the GT350. This will help give the V8 a more distinct soundtrack, and maybe keep things quieter when you’re not driving around at full throttle.
There’s much more to talk about with the new 2018 Ford Mustang, including pricing and fuel economy, but all that will be detailed later this year. For now, drool over the photos and save up your pennies for this new pony.
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