2023 Ford Mustang GT and Dark Horse – engine specifications revealed
Ford’s revealed more information about its next Mustang, including the Dark Horse’s 500bhp power figure
Ford has confirmed new details about its new S650 generation Mustang that will go on sale in the USA and other international markets including the UK in 2023. First revealed at the Detroit motor show in 2022, the new Mustang won’t deviate far from the current template, launching with both coupe and convertible body styles, V8 and turbocharged four-cylinder engine options, automatic or manual transmissions and rear-wheel drive.
Topping the range in all markets will, for now, be the Dark Horse model – a further track-honed model based on the V8-powered GT that will feature its own unique styling, suspension and engine tune. Ford has now confirmed that the Dark Horse will produce the previously suggested 500bhp, generated from its naturally aspirated 5-litre Coyote V8 engine; peak torque will be rated at 418lb ft. Standard V8-powered GT models are rated at 486bhp with the same torque figure – a 14bhp drop compared to the Dark Horse, but a 42bhp rise over the previous GT.
To coerce this extra power from the iconic Coyote V8, Ford’s built on the standard GT’s upgraded dual-throttle body upgrade with a unique crankshaft, forged connecting rods and strengthened camshafts. All V8 models have a 7500rpm redline, and are available with the standard six-speed manual or optional 10-speed automatic. The Mustang also still has a mechanical handbrake, which is appreciated in the halls of evo. Ford has yet to release official performance data, but we expect appreciable gains over the current Mach-1’s 0-62mph time of 4.8sec as fitted with the manual transmission.
The entry-level EcoBoost engine has also been given a subtle upgrade, with the turbocharged 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine now producing 315bhp and 350lb ft of torque, 5bhp more than before, with torque unchanged. All US-spec V8 models also come with a standard Performance Pack, combining a few upgraded chassis elements including 19-inch wheels, a limited-slip differential, uprated Brembo brakes and a valved exhaust system. Ford’s Magneride adaptive dampers are still an option, too.
The rest of the new S650 Mustang isn’t too far removed from the S550 model it replaces, sharing its basic structure and proportions. Yet Ford’s been hard at work to sharpen every area of the package highlighted by the new track-focused Dark Horse model variant.
Ford Mustang GT Dark Horse
Sitting above the GT is the more dynamically-focused Dark Horse model that incorporates a wide spread of bespoke hardware elevating it above even the existing Mach 1 in terms of specification.
Alongside the extra power from the V8 engine, the Dark Horse incorporates new cooling hardware including an auxiliary engine oil cooler, transmission oil cooler (for the automatic), a lighter and more efficient radiator and more powerful cooling fans. This is matched to a completely different six-speed manual transmission sourced from Tremec, as well as a different Torsen limited-slip differential.
The chassis also has its own upgrades, including bespoke spring rates and upgrades to the standard fit Magneride dampers. A thicker anti-roll bar on the rear axle is also included with a strut brace mounted across the front suspension towers and a rear K-brace. The wheel and tyre package is also new, featuring staggered widths on bespoke 19-inch wheels front to rear (19 x 9-inch front, 19 x 9.5-inch rear) wrapped in Pirelli P Zero rubber.
Dark Horse models will then be available with a further Handling Package that combines a few visual upgrades including a larger rear wing and front splitter, with further modifications to the springs, front and rear anti-roll bars and even wider 19-inch wheels (19 x 10.5-inch and 19 x 11-inch, front and rear) running on Trofeo R rubber.
Design and interior
The new Mustang’s design is derived from the previous model, with a much sharper look underpinned by similar proportions. This is defined in the modern age by a coke-bottle silhouette, created by the typical rising haunch over the rear wheel.
Yet the elements you might notice more are the larger grille and slim LED headlights that now sit below the main belt line. This provides the new Mustang with an aggressive new face, punctuated by typical triple-light elements that match the slimmed rear lights.
The cabin has been totally reimagined, with new digital interfaces set into a single bank atop the dash. The new high-resolution interfaces are made up from a 12.4-inch driver’s and 13.2-inch main touchscreen display that both clean up the dashboard, without removing too many hard-keys. Ford has also teased some of the new functionality within the S650 Mustang’s digital interfaces, including even more variation and personalisation to the displays, including a ‘retro’ dial pack that digitally recreates the blocky analogue dial set from a 1980s model.
Dark Horse models feature their own subtle upgrades, including a set of Recaro seats and a thicker steering wheel rim. It also features unique colour and trim elements, including Alcantara inner sections and blue stitching.
Ford has also confirmed that the Mustang will form the centrepoint of its global motorsport operations, entering a variety of variants including a factory-supported GT3 class racer that will compete in the North American ISMA championship and return to Le Mans in 2024 in the European FIA GT3 series. Ford’s also committed to the Australian Supercars series, as well as GT4 and future NASCAR entries.