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Nissan GTR-50 Italdesign with Larry Chen
Car Culture

Larry Chen takes the rare 710-horsepower Italdesign GT-R50 for a joy ride

Decades of automotive enthusiasts, tuners, and even casual car lovers can agree that the Nissan GT-R is always a crowd favorite. Even if you don’t like it, you can respect it. The latest generation, better known as the R35, was introduced in 2007 and features a front mid-mounted engine on a proven, modification-friendly platform and all-wheel drive to deliver all that power to the pavement. This Japanese supercar has seen many upgrades and updates over the years, both directly from Nissan and from several prevalent designers and shops. But perhaps the most impressive and rarest true Nissan-collaborated variant is the Nissan GT-R50 by coachbuilder and design house, Italdesign.

Italian coachbuilders kick the Nissan GT-R up a notch

The Nissan GT-R50, redesigned by Italdesign in collaboration with Nissan Design Europe, is reportedly one of only 20 street-legal variants produced for the market, defying Italdesign’s original claims of 50 cars and making it one of the rarest GT-R editions you can buy. Some sources claim that final production before order books closed was even lower than that, but it matters little. Ultra rare is ultra rare! It’s powered by an impressive twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 engine tuned by NISMO to produce approximately 710 horsepower, keeping up with the car’s reputation as “Godzilla.”

As for the design house itself, the GT-R50 is merely another notch on its belt of angular, outlandish designs. Formerly home to Giorgetto Giugiaro, Italdesign is also known for the Zerouno supercar, as well as the BMW M1, first-gen Lancia Delta, Fiat Panda, and Alfa Romeo Brera.

While your chances of getting your hands on this Nissan-Italdesign collaboration are pretty slim, there are still a ton of amazing GT-R builds enthusiasts can tackle on their own or with shops with some aftermarket modifications found on eBay.

Is this the rarest R35 GT-R in the world? Driving Italdesign’s 710-horsepower GT-R50 | Larry Chen

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The best cars we’ve reviewed (so far) for 2024

Welcome to the start of our ever-expanding home base of car reviews, where we file the best cars we’ve driven so far in order. Don’t think of this as an outright competition to see what is the definitive best vehicle out of a few classes. We’ve got more than that, anyway. Best EVs, best sports cars, best compacts, best trucks, and more! Think of this as all our existing car reviews coming together to help you decide on what are some hot ticket choices to look out for on the new or used car market. 

Check out the linked subheadings for full reviews with specs and pricing, and check back occasionally as we continue to grow our portfolio of car reviews!

(Editor’s Note: Updated 3/1/2024 with pickup trucks and EVs category!)

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Best EVS

1. Audi Q8 e-tron – A proper take on urban luxury EVs, even if it’s not a spec sheet winner

What’s hot?

  • Proper luxury car interior with all the accouterments
  • Serene ride and NVH

What’s not?

  • Some minor Audi MMI glitches
  • A tough sell with a high price and okay-ish range

Is it too late for the legacy automakers to topple the startup giants? Will no one eclipse them in terms of price, production output, or range? Ah, screw it. Let ’em have it when automakers like Audi still know how to build a damn good car and damn good features. The Q8 e-tron may not take home any victories in Top Trumps or bar stool drag racing, but that doesn’t mean it should be dismissed, because what Audi has delivered is a sublime urban EV for those who’ll heed its offerings. Ride quality is plush, even on such big wheels, and the interior is well-built and well-equipped, with enough screen to satiate the especially tech-indulgent without appearing cheap or gaudy.

The Q8 e-tron is a fine automobile. We just wish it could be an easier sell so more folks can bask in what it gets right. But we get it. What it gets wrong are things that wouldn’t be the fault of any sensible buyer should they say turn the e-tron down. With a price that starts at $74,400, it’s already an uphill battle. And with a range of only 285 miles, it’s tough to convince folks to fork over the dough for one of these instead of the comparable Tesla or a cheaper Mach-E. But give it a chance and let it thrive in the urban environments it was made for, and you may see that the numbers game isn’t the point of the e-tron. The point is to just be a great product.

2. Chevrolet Blazer EV – That one SUV from the Barbie movie is actually quite a stunner

What’s hot?

  • Sharp and sporty like its looks
  • Quiet and refined

What’s not?

  • Range lags behind key rivals, including fellow Ultium-based EVs
  • Oh boy, yet another expensive electric SUV

Hey there, Barbie! Let’s go party! And party indeed, as the Blazer EV is actually quite the charming and likable EV, with polarizing styling that contrasts with the sea of egg-shaped lunchboxes that also occupy the pantheon of electric SUVs. But for that price, you get a highly configurable package, with trim levels to match anyone’s wants, and drivetrains that offer front, all, or rear-wheel drive. Can’t think of another vehicle where you can pick either three. The Blazer also matches its sharp looks with dynamics that don’t fall on its face in the twisties and acceleration that earn the top trim its SS badge. And if you like cockpit-like interiors, the Blazer certainly fits the bill with a digital dash and infotainment setup that vaguely reminds us of a C8 Corvette and Alpha-platform Camaro blended together.

If we had to complain, there’s that sorry excuse for a frunk that’s easily trumped by rivals in its class. Range is only okay and doesn’t set any new records, with the most frugal trims seeking out 324 miles. Oh, and there are the embarrassing software issues that plagued early cars enough to cause a stop-sale. Ironically, not long after winning a round of praise and awards from all who’ve driven it. Oh, Chevy.

3. Mercedes-Benz eSprinter – Electrified mobility for businesses and tradesmen

What’s hot?

  • Fairly quick and responsive at low speeds
  • Still perfectly capable of around-town work

What’s not?

  • Uncomfortable seats
  • No dual-motor variants as of yet

Not much to say here, is there? It’s an electric cargo van with plenty of space for products or tools, enough pep for stoplight drags, and just enough range to accomplish a day of work and still have some to spare. The Mercedes eSprinter is exactly as advertised: a nicely made, well-appointed, electrified take on work vans intended for urban environments. And you know what? That’s a-okay with us. The interior is standard Sprinter, with an attractively-designed and functional infotainment system and seats that are less than optimal but get the job done. Hey, you’re getting paid to work, not lounge!

Aside from wanting more comfortable seats, a 42-minute max charge speed to 80% is only okay, there are currently no dual-motor variants available as of yet, and the payload takes a significant hit versus any gas or diesel Sprinter. Gardeners and Geek Squad folks will be fine. But no trying to smuggle kei cars in the back, you hear me?

Best plug-in hybrids

1. Mazda CX-90 PHEV – Bridging the gap between family crossovers of the past and future

What’s hot?

  • Commendable EV range for such a massive thing
  • Mazda edges closer and closer to the luxury car kingdom

What’s not?

  • Not the most cavernous three-row SUV
  • Rotary dial infotainment controls only

Mazda has been on a not-so-secret upward spiral toward faux luxury car stardom for some time now. From smooth, sporty driving dynamics to interiors with actually pleasant build quality and aesthetic design, the Zoom-Zoom brand has been making quite the name for itself. The CX-90 three-row crossover cements its status as a serious brand worth more than just one mere damn, and the plug-in hybrid variant acts as a wonderfully executed bridge between family cars of the past and present. 26 miles of EV range? Not bad! 24 mpg in the city? Heck yeah! 369 pound-feet of yoinking power? Now, you got me flustered. And these are just the specs. We haven’t even started with the gorgeous, airy, wood-lined interior that can shame the Germans or the sporty dynamics that can actually put the “sports” in sports utility vehicle.

Okay, so a big lunk like this will never score the range or MPGe of smaller plug-in crossovers. And its towing capacity and average mpg took a hit versus the Bimmer-flattering inline-six. Oh, and touchscreens be damned because the Mazda’s infotainment is controlled via a rotary dial only, which will definitely not resonate with anyone who hasn’t come from an older BMW. But if you can live with those nitpicks, you’ll still be left with one of the most compelling products to come, not just from Mazda but from any automaker in recent memory.

2. Alfa Romeo Tonale – A commuter a way only the Italians can

What’s hot?

  • A family crossover that’s actually a drop-dead stunner
  • Commendable performance and handling

What’s not?

  • Dodge Hornets are cheaper if you don’t mind the styling differences
  • Dodge Hornets have an ICE-only powertrain if you don’t care for plug-ins

Nothing says car enthusiast like anything sporty from Italy. Nothing says drab and dreary appliance like a compact crossover. Combine the two, and you might just have the recipe for a fun little urban runabout, as Stellantis has proven with the Alfa Romeo Tonale. Although ICE variants exist elsewhere, we Yanks get a bold, powerful plug-in powertrain as our sole option. It pairs a spunky little 1.3-liter turbo four boosted to high hell with an electric motor to yield over 30 miles of handy EV range and produce 285 horsepower and 347 pound-feet, which, last time I checked, is a lot more than your average compact crossover.

Sadly, it also costs a lot more than most compact crossovers and is lined up squarely against competent, similarly powerful rivals like the RAV4 Prime. Those who are a fan of spunky Italian dynamics but are willing to forgo the spunky styling can also step down to the cheaper Hornet, which produces more torque, has a similar EV range, and offers a significantly cheaper ICE powertrain. Still, flawed or not, there’s a lot to love about the Alfa Toe Nail, and there’s something to be admired when offered a fun, stylish alternative to the usual crop of cookie-cutter family cars on the market.

3. Dodge Hornet R/T – I’m like the guy right above me but with less swagger

What’s hot?

  • Fun and fast for lil’ crossover!
  • Usable EV range

What’s not?

  • Why is there no Regular-Ass Prius mode?
  • Minor electronic annoyances

“I do everything the guy above does, but better,” says the Dodge Hornet R/T, probably. Psst, it’s not better, but it is just ever so slightly different.

Not much to say here that hasn’t already been said about the Tonale. I don’t think we can say anything until we score an all-ICE Hornet GT to sample. But here it is, the Americanized take on Italy’s dandy little compact crossover, complete with the same KONI two-valve shocks, vividly red Brembos, and sticky Michelin Pilot Sport All-Season 4 tires. The car receives the same plug-in powerplant in R/T trim, albeit with an extra motor to help it yield 288 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of faux hot hatch fury. It costs a few grand less for a comparable Hornet R/T versus a Tonale, too. What’s not to love?

Well, it’s still a Tonale. This means it still suffers from the typical Italian (or perhaps just Stellantis) electronic hiccups that make it difficult to recommend, from awkward lane centering and intermittently dysfunctional safety sensors. It may also be too small for some families, and asking for the R/T skyrockets the price tag fairly quickly. But if you can live with all of it, the Hornet is still a lovable, fun-to-drive alternative in an otherwise ho-hum segment of effective yet uninteresting cars.

Best hybrids

1. Toyota Prius – shockingly fun but still lovably practical

What’s hot?

  • New powertrains are punchy
  • Easiest 50-mpg solution on the new car market

What’s not?

  • Some interior ergonomic quirks
  • Still viable in today’s world of plug-ins, EVs, and upscale economy cars?

Go ahead. Laugh. But you won’t be laughing for long when a $30 or $40 fill-up nowadays buys you well over 500 miles of range, not including the short bits of EV cruising you can manage behind the wheel of the current-gen Toyota Prius. Did I make fun of Priuses before? Of course! Do I still do? On occasion. Do I love them, though? You bet your ass.

City slickers, you can’t beat 50-plus mpg and all-electric parking lot creeping in a car with the forward and side visibility of a fishbowl (the rear is a different story) and a footprint small enough to fit in nearly any parking space. There’s an abundance of nifty safety and convenience tech to make you feel as though you’re in a more substantial vehicle, and the new chassis and powertrain result in a Prius that’s a bit of a hoot to fling around.

The question remains if the Prius is still the obvious solution when compact family sedans and crossovers are now as efficient as ever while sitting at a slightly lower price point and offering comparable, if not better, practicality and ergonomics. Not to mention the growing waves of affordable EVs and plug-ins if efficiency is really your absolute top priority. But if a middle ground between them all is what you’re eyeing, then the new Prius remains a fantastic, well-rounded entry, even if it’s not necessarily the best.

Best luxury sports sedans

1. Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance – A final bastion for V8 sports sedans

What’s hot?

  • N/A V8 rear-drive sports sedan? For real?
  • Typical Lexus premium vibes, inside and out

What’s not?

  • Not a true IS F replacement
  • Could go for more low-end torque

If you can’t find an ounce of love for something like this, you’re either not human or one of those stereotypical Tesla fans we were warned about on social media. The Lexus IS 500 was a last hurrah we didn’t expect, but we couldn’t be happier it exists, even if it’s for a moment. Lexus delivers a compact executive sedan with rear-drive, go-fast suspension and braking hardware, and a monstrous, free-breathing V8 pushing 472 ponies! What a day to be alive! And in typical Lexus fashion, it oozes style and quality inside and out, from the way it drives and handles to the materials and tech. 

Sure. It’s not a true IS F successor in the same vein as the RC F coupe. The platform is quite old, dated, and small by car industry standards. But perhaps we shouldn’t complain about its age and shortcomings. For less money than a BMW M3, here’s a final bastion for naturally-aspirated V8 sport sedans with more charm and character than a current M3 will ever have.

2. Genesis G70 – A bonafide sports sedan to challenge the Germans

What’s hot?

  • Actually fast, fun, and engaging across all trim levels
  • Oozes style and quality at a strong price point

What’s not?

  • Fuel economy pales in comparison to German I4 and I6 engines
  • No hotted-up M, AMG, or F rival (yet)

I’ve driven and ridden in a small handful of Korean cars over the years, each getting more and more alluring the newer they got. Now, the icing on the cake, the Genesis G70 cements a notion in my head that’s been parroted by auto journalists since the Sonata got good: South Korea will take over the world. Good. Let them. Because they can build a damn fine sports sedan.

The latest G70, the only Genesis product I’ve yet to sample, sports a buttery smooth 8-speed auto directing power from either a 300-horsepower, 2.5-liter turbo four, or a 365-horsepower, 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6. You can get it dipped in rear-drive or all-wheel-drive sauce, and V6 cars can be sprinkled with a serving of electronic suspension and limited-slip diff. Sounds like a good time, yeah? But thankfully, Genesis knew not to sully the car’s luxury mission with an overly “sporty” setup, so it remains posh, refined, and quiet, perfectly balanced for wannabe touring car champs and yuppies alike.

No, there’s no super-hot M3 killer yet. And no, the fuel economy is good but not great, as BMW’s crop of turbo engines beg to differ. By like, a lot. Backseat space can be a bit tight, and interior design, while impeccably well-built, may not offer enough flair and pizazz as one might like. But these minor nitpicks shouldn’t stop you from considering the G70, especially when you get the chance to experience all that it gets oh-so right.

Best luxury SUVs/crossovers

1. Acura MDX Type S – Quick and cushy

What’s hot?

  • Genuinely fun to drive
  • A cushy, coddling cruiser for the whole family

What’s not?

  • Not as sporty as it could be, especially in the face of German rivals
  • Curse these touchpad infotainment controllers

We love a good, unsensible dose of automotive debauchery. Manic vehicles with fire-breathing engines or cyberpunk-esque EVs with more gimmicks than goodwill. Are they useful? Not always. But they sure are fun. Yet, here stands the Acura MDX Type S as the near-perfect Goldilocks’ choice of crossovers. A cavernous interior invites occupants to revel in plush leather seating accented with real wood and metal accouterments, controlled via logically arranged hard buttons to show that physical switchgear ain’t going out of style just yet! And once you take control, you’re rewarded with a lovably pleasant driving experience, defined by a powerful and silky V6, well-tuned automatic transmission, and supple suspension that’s still competent in the canyons and freeway on-ramps. Sometimes, it’s good to enjoy the middle ground.

Of course, it’s not without faults. The most glaring of which is that infernal touchpad infotainment controller, which will apparently bow out in favor of a better system in future Acuras. Good riddance. And of course, people eying the Type S badge hoping for a true M or AMG fighter may be disappointed. It’s not that car. It’s fun and engaging. Really fun, actually. But it’s not that car. In a day where clout-chasing is king, the MDX Type S reigns itself in and stays true to its family crossover roots without being afraid to have just a little senseless fun every once in a while.

Best hot hatches and sports compacts

1. Acura Integra Type S – The surprise knockout

What’s hot?

  • Chassis, brakes, engine, and pretty much everything else by the gods
  • Easily daily-drivable for thousands of miles on end

What’s not?

  • Exhaust is too quiet for how raucous it can be
  • Expensive for its class

Oh, Integra Type S, my beloved. How incredible you are clubbing GR Corollas and Golf Rs over the head with the sheer force of your awesomeness. The gods bestowed upon you suspension soft enough for tattered highway commutes yet taught enough for unflappable canyon cornering prowess. You’ve been granted a rev-happy powerhouse of a turbo four-banger with a Bimmer-rivaling 320 ponies channeled through a manual whose shifts hit crisp like ice water with a mint. And you carry yourself with civility and politeness when it’s time to calm down for the long journeys home. 

Could you tell I’m obsessed? The Acura Integra Type S is an easy winner and a rockstar in its segment, delivering Civic Type R attitude in a slightly more comfortable and mature package. Perhaps the only reason we leave here at Number 1 is because we haven’t yet tested a real Type R, which sports more supportive bucket seats and a whimsically cool wing for several thousand dollars less, trumping any value proposition the Acura had. Until then, the Acura will stay our king of the sport compact hill. 

2. Hyundai Elantra N – Shattering Korean car stereotypes

What’s hot?

  • Rip-snorting lil’ WTCC car for the road, even with the dual-clutch
  • Premium interior and performance at a stellar price point

What’s not?

  • Bucket seats are a pain on road trips
  • Ugly duckling

“Am I the only one who understands the complexity of this ambitious automotive masterpiece? This car isn’t stupid! You’re stupid!” – Billy, probably.

Hyundai’s N division has proven to be a massive disruptor in the performance car world, building comparison test winners and headline stealers since the Veloster N in 2019. The Elantra N carries forward much of the same spirit and hardware, routing 276 horsepower from its 2.0-liter turbo-four through your choice of a good ol’ six-speed stick or a snappy 8-speed dual-clutch. 

Brakes rock. Adaptive suspension rocks. The selection of drive modes that all make a meaningful difference rock. Everything rocks. And, best of all, the Elantra N goes about its performance biz with genuine chassis feel and an eager, soulful playfulness seldom found in European sports sedans. Couple that with its strong value proposition, and you have an affordable halo car that poses a serious threat to our current sports compact king. 

3. Volkswagen Golf R – The mature grown-up’s hot hatch

What’s hot?

  • Sports sedan performance with all-wheel-drive versatility 
  • Mature, elegant bodywork with hatchback practicality

What’s not?

  • Controversial infotainment system is a tad bit of a learning curve
  • On the steeper side of the pricing fence

The Mk8 Volkswagen Golf R is a divisive product, as praiseworthy as it was a source of ire among auto journos for a variety of reasons. But one thing is for certain, and it’s that no one can really hate on the fiery powerhouse that is the EA888 four-cylinder, pushing 315 ponies in Golf R trim, a sliver more than its Audi S3 cousin. It also features a trick Haldex all-wheel-drive system with Drift Mode for sideways action and Volkswagen’s baby-PDK DSG dual-clutch. 

That said, the mighty Golf R has some Achilles heels. It’s not the fiercest, most playful thing in the toybox, trading the antics of something like a Focus RS or Type R for a more upscale and serious demeanor befitting its German heritage, which may or may not resonate more with certain buyers. Its heftier price tag may also push some buyers away, as well, sitting comfortably above the likes of Elantra Ns, GR Corollas, and its not-too-dissimilar, front-drive GTI sibling. Oh, and that love-it-or-hate-it infotainment. Sheesh. At least they’re bringing buttons back.

Best affordable sports cars

1. Subaru BRZ – Jack of all trades, master of many

What’s hot?

  • A palette-cleansing trendsetter of what proper driver feedback should be
  • 2.4-liter engine staves off most desires for extra power… most

What’s not?

  • GR86 is more playful for slightly less money
  • Lame engine and exhaust sounds

Here comes the little Subaru BRZ trying to prove it has everything you need and nothing you don’t. 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet from its 2.4-liter flat-four quells most complaints about the last car being gutless, bolstered by short gears and a svelte 2,800-pound weight. There’s a supple ride, CarPlay, Bluetooth, dual-zone climate, and options for banging sound system and scalding heated seats. 

Sure, it’s not perfect. Far from it, actually. The flat-four in stock form makes some pretty gruff, uninspired engine and exhaust noises. Space and practicality will never rival that of a hot hatch. And then there are those pesky RTV shards and daunting oiling pressure woes that have forums in a frenzy for permanent fixes. Still, if you want a track-capable, confidence-inspiring, infinitely tunable plaything that’s at home on the daily drive as it is high up in the canyons, few cars come close.

Best luxury sports cars

1. Chevrolet Corvette Stingray – “Budget supercar” is no hyperbole

Black Corvette C8 at Joshua Tree National Park
Image credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

What’s hot?

  • Faux supercar performance for a fraction of the price
  • Impressively practical

What’s not?

  • The usual supercar headaches in traffic and urban settings
  • Some stylistic quirks and nitpicks

Value is important when choosing a car. And I don’t think the value gets much stronger than the C8 Corvette Stingray. You’re telling me I can snag a base one for between $60,000 to $70,000 and still have the time of my life? Hell. Yeah. And before you snark at me and say no one gets the base model, know that me and Gabe’s tester absolutely was. No Nappa leather. No Z51 pack. No aero kit. Just the C8 ‘Vette in its most pure form.

Even with none of the extra fancy thingamajigs like MagneRide, auxiliary coolers, and Pilot Sport 4S tires, which I’m sure would have been transformative in the LA canyons and on SoCal freeways where we tested, we were still blown away at the base Corvette’s unfathomably serene ride and handling balance. It can haul all our camera gear for the LA Auto Show in the frunk, stow a body, uh, extra luggage in the rear, comfortably soak up all the expansion joints and potholes California had to throw at us, and still be an engaging ripper in the canyons.

Sure, it could be a little sharper. It could be a little lighter. It could be a little more connected. My advice? Don’t drive a 718 Cayman GTS before this. But I suppose for the money, this thing is a tough act to follow. A really tough act to follow.

2. Lotus Emira – A driving enthusiast’s dream come true

What’s hot?

  • Shocking ride and handling balance, even with Sports suspension setup
  • One helluva’ V6

What’s not?

  • Somewhat baulky manual shifter when cold
  • Not long for this cruel world

I can’t say it any better than Peter, so I’ll slip in a little excerpt.

“The 2024 Lotus Emira First Edition is a very special sports car for this day and age. It one-ups everyone else by making the most of old steering technology. This blissful steering then combines with a wonderfully communicative chassis, manual gear shift, rousing supercharged engine, and overall brilliant driving dynamics to make it a true top-level driver’s car.”

The Emira looks like so many other sports cars and supercars out there, but beneath the skin, it’s a rare breed like few others, if any at all. So it’s not the most practical or efficient thing on this list, nor is it that strong of a value in the presence of Porsche. It’s not even long for this world, slated for replacement by 2027. But when it comes to a pure driving experience, you can’t argue with some good ol’ analog fun, or as Rob Crespo and I call it, “oldfashionedasfuck.” And you know what? That’s exactly how the fanboys want it. And it’s how Colin Chapman would want it.

3. Maserati GranTurismo Trofeo – A true grand tourer with sports car chops

What’s hot?

  • Near supercar fast!
  • Sports car reflexes don’t hurt its cross-country comfort

What’s not?

  • Annoyingly long in parking situations
  • Priced smack dab in the middle of some serious rivals

God, no one does a driver’s car like the Italians. And yes, this portly, (possibly) two-ton, leather-clad, land yacht is a driver’s car. From its hellaciously fun Nettuno twin-turbo V6 to the trick Skyhook adaptive suspension with air springs. I didn’t quite know what to expect with the GranTurismo Trofeo. I kind of expected it to be a bulky, lazy touring car with tons of cross-country cred, as a car of its class should have. But I’m happy to report it can also straddle the line between touring car and sports car shockingly well, with quick, intuitive steering and a well-tuned all-wheel drive system that never lets the threat of understeer rear its ugly head in the tightest of Malibu canyons.

Sadly, its occasional electronic quirks, which range from meh to motherfu-, ahem, excuse me. It’s Stellantis-ness makes itself apparent. Not that it feels cheap. It sure as hell does not! It just has hiccups. And it better not feel cheap, not at nearly $230,000 as-tested! That’s a touch cheaper than GTs from more prestigious nameplates, but it places the GranTurmismo right in the middle of key rivals like the Mercedes SL, Porsche 911 Turbo, and even Maserati’s own MC20 supercar.

Best pickup trucks

1. Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison – A serious contender in factory-fresh prerunners

What’s hot?

  • A bonafide adventurer with otherworldly suspension!
  • Plush, well-appointed interior

What’s not?

  • Steeply priced
  • Limited to crew cab with short bed only

Huzzah! Chevy’s baby Ford Raptor before Ford brought their own baby Raptor stateside. The ZR2 Bison is a phenomenally capable, lovably riotous off-roader that defies the weak and feeble stereotypes of smaller mid-size trucks. Not that today’s crop of mid-sizers are what anyone would call small, especially the Bison and its hulking 35-inch rubber. Like the new batch of Colorados, the interior is reasonably spacious, modern, and well-appointed, even including ventilated seats, which is a thoughtful addition for desert rats on Chevy’s behalf. The turbo four-banger plucked and retuned from base-model Silverados proves strong and more than up to the task of rocketing this Tonka truck cosplayer down sand dunes with ease, and the Multimatic suspension is every bit as capable and impressive as you’d expect from this company.

If you can live with the presumably abysmal fuel economy and the questionable styling, then this is a worthy rival to any fast Ford on the trail or in the open desert. Just mind the steep price tag, because ticking the Bison box on your build sheet will skyrocket the already pricey ZR2 to right around $60,000. You could buy Raptors for not that much more not long ago.

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These were our favorite cars from the 2023 LA Auto Show

Let’s preface this by saying: No, this is not a news beat. No, this is not a grand compilation of every little reveal and every hunk of metal on display at the LA Auto Show. Take this as a more personal and me-engaging-the-audience-type feature where I, editor-in-chief and supreme (assistant) overlord to the site, and Gabe, founder and supreme supreme overlord, share our top cars from this year’s gathering.

Whether it be a new release, a kinda-sorta new car that may be making its first in-person appearance, or perhaps something that’s not new at all, these are our personal standouts in attendance that truly scratched my automotive itch. And hopefully, it scratches yours, too.

Ahem. And, if you’d like, please feel free to check out coverage of cars from this year’s auto show on our TikTok and Instagram

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Gabe: 2025 Lucid Gravity

@acceleramota The 2025 Lucid Gravity is a luxurious 3-row SUV from the chief engineer behind the original Tesla Model S and the designer of the Miata ND. Would you buy one over a Model X? #auto #lucid #tesla #carlifestyle #teslamodely #suv #electricvehicle #electriccars #luxury #truck #lucidgravity #teslas #newcars #lucidair #luxurycar ♬ original sound – acceleramota

In a market already saturated with three-row luxury SUVs, a lesser-known brand introducing its own would surely have its work cut out for it. Lucid Motors is a prime example. In the third quarter of 2023, Lucid lost $430,000 for every car it sold, according to InsideEVs. Four hundred and thirty thousand dollars

By no means is that indicative of Lucid’s standards, though, as its first EV – the Lucid Air – was met by reviewers with mostly positive marks. Everyone I’ve known who’s driven a Lucid Air came away a fan as well. In fact, when we offered test drives at one of our car and coffee meets in New York earlier this year, one of the most stubborn anti-EV people I know came away a fan. The premium interiors, consistent build quality, and aversion to oversimplification-for-the-sake-of-it distinguishes Lucid from its main competitor, Tesla, with which it shares common DNA.
Judging by its roughly identical $80,000 starting price, the Lucid Gravity is poised to compete with Tesla’s Model X – you know, the midsize family SUV with the dancing falcon wing doors. But unlike the Model X, the Gravity brings more cargo space, the option of a third row, and an estimated 440 miles of range, nearly 100 miles more than that of the Model X. For some reason it also has 880 horsepower, because in competing with the alarmingly quick Hummer EV, it’s not an electric SUV if it can’t push 0-60 in 3.5 seconds. The only obvious downside is that, at least according to our new best friend, it does have more than one button for the center stack, and the luxe woodgrain finish is an acquired taste, allegedly.

Jeric: 2025 Lotus Eletre

Did anyone forget about this thing? I surely did, even after much press and controversy that one of the most legendary sports and race car manufacturers is now making (gasp) an electric SUV! What has the world come to? But the Lotus Eletre certainly makes a compelling case for itself that should help give it the Cayenne complex it needs for Lotus to keep building Emiras. 

How does 603 to 905 horsepower and 310 to 373 miles of range from its 112-kWh battery and dual-motor all-wheel drive setup sound? Overkill? Sure, but a Lotus must perform, and if it can’t simplify and add lightness, then power is one way to sweeten the deal. Interior is wonderfully posh. The rear cargo area is cavernous. The exterior styling is interesting, although seeing it in person does it far more justice than any photo. Designed in the UK, engineered in Germany, and assembled by Geely in China, the Eletre also signals a remarkable international effort for the hallowed English brand. And while its occupation as an electric SUV for eclectic rich folks may sour some peoples’ opinions, its strides to be a financial success could be what the brand needs to send its last wave of gas sports cars out with a bang instead of a whisper.

Jeric: Honda Prelude Concept

The legend returns! Except, not really, because this is a Honda Prelude, and the Acura Legend is still dead as a doorknob. Unless you count the Acura RLX as its successor? Anyway, the Honda Prelude returns rocking a swagtastic new look evocative of the Honda Insight face meets Honda Accord tail affixed to a last-gen Honda Civic Coupe body. And for the first time in years, Honda may actually have another spunky, fast two-door sports coupe in their fleet since the S2000. No, Si owners, I said fast.

Being a concept, we know next to nothing about the forthcoming Prelude or if it’s even coming. But This model seems fairly production-ready, aside from eye-catching carbon accents and a carbon roof that’d definitely launch its price tag into oblivion. But the upscale wheel design wrapped in Continental SportContact 6 tires sheathing Brembo brakes and the familiar Civic Coupe profile scream production-ready. Perhaps most importantly, despite much speculation that it could be an EV, the new Prelude Concept is actually slated to be a hybrid. If I were to place my bets, the base variants might likely use the Accord hybrid or an electrified Civic Si motor, but top-shelf models could use an electrified variant of the K20 turbo-four from the Civic Type R and Integra Type S, probably pushing between 350 to 400 horsepower.

Just a guess. A fanboy can dream.

Jeric: 2025 Toyota Camry

10 years ago, the Toyota Camry was plain as can be. Even in its day, the top-shelf SE or XLE trims did little to incite lust in those it drove by. It was a fine car, and it did its intended job great! But so does white bread. However, the new 2025 Toyota Camry is a Camry masquerading as a Lexus, and it’s got the goods to match. Never thought I’d ever say this about a front-drive, hybrid family sedan, but I am hot and bothered. And you will be, too, after a few pictures. 

Look at it! I said look at it, you! Does that not scream upscale? The long, sleek bodywork combined with that statement of a grille, Prius-like headlights, and some fairly attractive wheel designs make for one heck of a looker, especially in the sportier SE and XSE forms. The interior remains simple yet usable, resembling an evolution of the previous-gen Camry but tweaked to better suit Toyota’s current design language of wide, high-mounted touchscreens and expansive, button-centric center consoles. Specs? Pretty darn good. And that’s the best you can say about a Camry. A hybrid powertrain pushing 225 horsepower and available all-wheel drive (which bumps power to 232), sure to match the old car’s 44 to 50-plus mpg, is a compelling buy.

Jeric & Gabe: 2024 Acura ZDX

Born from the unlikely partnership between GM and Acura, the new-generation 2024 Acura ZDX ditches its forbearer’s heinous Star Wars cargo freighter looks for a sleek, concept-car-like caricature of the Acura MDX SUV. Wide, low, and unapologetically bold without offending those with working eyeballs. This is actually quite the attractive centerpiece of Acura’s booth. And most interesting of all, it’s a full EV riding on GM’s Ultium platform, the same platform underpinning the Blazer EV and Silverado EV.

Much like the Prelude, not much is known about the nitty-gritty details of the ZDX, but Acura insists we should expect a starting price somewhere between $60,000 and $70,000 and a maximum range of up to 325 miles. Not bad! That lines it up with the upper echelon of the Blazer EV’s estimated range. Being marketed as a sporty and athletic Whole Foods hauler, the ZDX will launch with the sporty A-Spec and the SPORTY Type S models, with the latter aiming for over 500 horsepower, a 288-mile range, and sub-five-second zero-to-sixty. And if the ZDX can make good on blending Acura styling and luxury inside and out with GM’s handy EV know-how, Acura should be poised to have a real knockout winner on their hands.

Gabe: 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray

As I mentioned in our video preview at the LA Auto Show, with the Corvette E-Ray, Chevy hopes to prove that hybrids aren’t all about going green. In fact, the E-Ray lays claim to the same fuel economy as the standard C8 Stingray at 24 MPG highway and 19 MPG combined. Instead, the E-Ray has more in common with a McLaren Artura than a Prius XLE. That’s to say, the tiny 1.9 kWh lithium-ion battery in the transmission tunnel is there to bolster the performance of its already potent 6.2-liter V8. Of course, pairing hefty battery tech with a big block motor does increase its curb weight by a little over 300 pounds, but how much does that matter when you can zip from 0-60 in 2.5 seconds? After all, the E-Ray is the quickest Corvette in the American sports car’s rich history. 

But the distinctions between the E-Ray and the Stingray don’t stop there, because on top of being the first hybrid Corvette, it’s also the first all-wheel-drive model. Don’t worry, it’s still rear-biased, and if you’re skeptical, Chevy’s built-in E-Ray companion app shows its homework with real-time performance data – including a diagram laying out the power distribution between the front and rear wheels. While it sounds like an automotive tech nerd’s playground, this Corvette isn’t just for wonks and weekenders; it’s a grand tourer, lending itself to longer road trips and grocery-getting as much as it does track days. 

Jeric: 2024 Subaru BRZ tS

No, this is not news. But here this favorite of mine is in the flesh, so I’m gonna thrust it down your throat anyway. Behold! The Subaru BRZ tS. It’s like a regular BRZ. But tS. And by that, Subaru means “Tuned by STI.” And by that, they really mean they stole the black wheels off the Toyota GR86, threw on some Hitachi dampers, added a sweet set of Brembo brakes, and called it a day. Really, the 2024 BRZ receives the mildest of updates as it enters the new model year, but they’re still noteworthy enough on a car this basic to be worth sharing!

For 2024, the BRZ receives a tS trim, which, like the previous gen’s tS, functions as a comprehensive performance package sans that car’s goofy wing. Beyond the new brakes and dampers, the tS is built upon the BRZ Limited, which throws in luxury goods like suede and leather interior upholstery, heated seats, and an upgraded stereo, as well as an 18-inch wheel package wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer rubber, which is perhaps the most transformative performance upgrade on any BRZ, turning this diminutive sports car into a genuine Porsche Cayman fighter. Additionally, for 2024, EyeSight is now standard on all models, including manual transmission cars, which does increase the price by a couple of grand, pushing the BRZ in the low-$30,000 range. A tS will run you about $36,000, which is still a hell of a bargain compared to literally anything else on the market today, assuming you can snag one without that dastardly markup. 

Jeric & Gabe: 2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N

The surprise hit from Korea strikes another tally of its bucket list and enters the high-performance EV fray. After much coverage and polarizing the press, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N arrives on American shores to grace us with its matte blue goodness, and it’s here to prove that fast EVs don’t have to be mere straight-line missiles. They can soul, too. Or at least as much soul as you can pump into something that ditches pistons and gas for battery cells and electrons. 

The Ioniq 5 N remains in its early launch phase, without much information besides what was available at its debut. That means nothing much has changed from its claims of 641 horsepower from an 84-kWh battery with 350-kW fast charging. But no complaints there! We still expect its aggressive e-LSD, Drift N Optimizer, and N e-Shift’s simulated 8-speed manual shift mode to make it to our shores, as we do for the changeable fake exhaust noises that can imitate fake revs from a jet fighter, the Gran Turismo Vision concept, or a traditional gas engine. Gimmicky? Absolutely. Necessary? No, not at all. But at least someone out there is having fun with EV tech and is trying to bridge the gap between gassers and electric cars with something that can parody the best attributes of both worlds. Being based on an already well-received vehicle like the regular Ioniq 5 doesn’t hurt, either. 

Jeric: 2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally

If Ken Block we here, I can totally see him sliding through the woods with his family in tow in one of these. The Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally is very real and is very much coming to dealers near you for the next model year. Because what says environmentalism and family-friendly more than something that gently nudges you to take that dirt fire road at triple-digit speeds while blasting “Kickstart My Heart?”

Based on the already formidable and definitely quick-enough Mach-E GT, the Mach-E Rally skews its priorities towards off-road hooliganism. New are 19-inch wheels stolen from the nearest ARA race and shod in skinnier Michelin CrossClimate2 all-seasons sporting a nice, meaty sidewall for all the potholes you’re going to smash on the Wal-Mart Rally. The fog lights, underbody protection, black plastic fender moldings, Focus RS-style rear hatch wing, and a hyper-aggressive RallySport drive mode add some extra WRC flair. The ride height has been jacked up by 20 millimeters and still utilizes the GT’s Magneride shocks but retuned for more off-road shenanigans, and the dual-motor powertrain still zaps out 480 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. Its range is a still-okay-ish 250 miles, but I don’t expect many people to match that given its intended purpose. 

Jeric: Nissan Z Nismo & GT-R Nismo

Ah, yes. Even at a quintillion years old in car years, the Z and GT-R manage to tickle my fancy, now with matching gray-black-and-red paint jobs to boot! The new Nissan Z launched onto the scene with a lukewarm reception, with praise for its modernization and a newfound sense of speed but criticism for the softened edge it bears in order to expand its appeal. The Nissan GT-R is as big, tech-laden, and video-gamey as ever. Both are fine driver’s cars, but fanatics asking for more will find prayers answered in their respective Nismo track variants. 

The Z Nismo, already making rounds in media drives, impressed journos with real, genuine connectedness, inspiring confidence to attack curves on or off-track with a heavily revised suspension, RAYS wheels rocking the GT-R’s ultra-sticky Dunlop tires whose full name I refuse to type out, and a wicked body kit that vaguely reminds me of JDM Fairlady Z G-nose. The VR30 twin-turbo V6 has been massaged to 420 (aye, lmao) horsepower, yet the move to keep it nine-speed-only sparked much ire for what’s to be a purist track Z. Ye ole GT-R Nismo adapts much of the same formula to the geriatric R35 platform, with a new swan neck wing, 600 horsepower from its 3.8-liter VR38 V6, similar RAYS wheels and sticky Dunlops, and a drop-dead gorgeous suite of carbon goodies, from the ground effects to the hood. Also new for 2024 are faster-spooling turbos from the GT-R GT3 race car and a front LSD. Old and possibly overpriced? I guess, but don’t tell me you can’t look at it and giggle with excitement even a little bit. 

Jeric & Gabe: Aston Martin Cygnet

It’s hard to talk about the Alfa Romeo Tonale without mentioning the Dodge Hornet in the same breath. It’s impossible to talk about the Aston Martin Cygnet without bringing up the Scion iQ. Love it or hate it, the Cygnet is one of the most notorious examples of badge engineering from a major automaker. So notorious, in fact, that it’s recently cemented its place in car culture as a not-so-guilty pleasure for the irony-poisoned enthusiast. 

When the Aston Martin Cygnet first debuted in the U.K. in 2011, it came with a starting price of £30,995 – the equivalent of $49,595 in the States. For anyone familiar with Aston Martin as a prestigious luxury brand, that probably doesn’t sound like a lot. But what if I told you that the Aston Martin Cygnet was just a cheap Toyota city car in disguise? Well, sort of. It might’ve featured luxurious interior trappings like bespoke leather upholstery, wood trim, and in some configurations, a shitload of carbon fiber. 

Any mechanical differences between the Cygnet and the iQ were negligible. Both had 1.3-liter four-bangers, continuously variable transmissions (CVTs), and front-wheel-drive. Yet, for whatever reason, its presence at the LA Auto Show was magnetizing. Jeric and I stumbled into Alanis King of Doug Demuro’s Cars & Bids fame, who happened to be fawning over the Cygnet from the inside. It wasn’t long before we joined in. This little number in particular comes courtesy of Galpin Auto Sports as part of its Hall of Customs exhibit.

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Lamborghini Movember Bull Run

I drove a Huracan Tecnica at the record-setting Lamborghini Movember Bull Run Rally

Anyone stuck in beach traffic on the Pacific Coast Highway this past weekend found themselves in for a treat. Or really just about anyone on the beach or the boardwalk, too, as a fleet of over 200 Lamborghinis makes for quite a rumbling traffic jam that roars hundreds of yards in every direction. 

Welcome to the third annual Bull Run, a series of global rallies that Lamborghini and the charity Movember put on to raise awareness for men’s issues during the month, also known as “No Shave November.” This year, a Bull Run started in a large parking lot below the Santa Monica Pier, then rallied up the coast through the hills of Topanga and Malibu. 

Just in case I wouldn’t hear the echoes from my nearby apartment, Lamborghini kindly offered me a Huracán Tecnica to join the morning’s revelries, so I arrived curious to see what kind of crowd the Bull Run draws—and, of course, how everyone piloting hardcore supercars in a group rally on public roads actually drives.

Lamborghini Movember Bull Run
Image credit: Extension PR, Jordan Russell

Welcome to the Bull Run

I arrived about 15 minutes late, figuring the event might run on Italian time. And sure enough, a group of about 30 Lambos already occupied a few spots just off the boardwalk—nowhere near the expected total. I parked the Tecnica and hopped out, noticing the number of mustaches already in attendance, a figure that rose steadily, if not quite as quickly as the number of actual Lamborghinis rolling up in bunches.

Movember’s efforts as an organization center around raising awareness for men’s health issues, with a focus on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health. The charity has invested over $350 million in biomedical research projects, supports interventions, provides guidance for cancer treatments, and reframed discussions of mental health and gender norms. Previous iterations of the Lambo Bull Run have drawn 92 dealers in 22 states, with over 1,500 cars worldwide joining the cause. But as the largest single market for Lamborghinis worldwide, LA’s potential turnout this year attracted enough attention to even entice CEO Stephan Winkelmann out for a weekend on the West Coast.

Lamborghini Movember Bull Run
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

Setting records with Movember

I almost didn’t recognize Winkelmann in his Saturday casual attire as opposed to his unvarying array of absolutely immaculate suits. He also arrived sporting a beard for the first time since his Bugatti days. Why the beard, I asked him, rather than the Movember mustache gracing so many Lambos around us? He laughed and pointed at my own beard.

“I look older with a mustache, so I said if I were going to do it, then I’d do a beard,” Winkelmann joked before turning serious. “We are doing a thing for a good cause, and to have this as also the biggest gathering in the history of Lamborghini in connection with a movement like Movember is a good thing.”

Lamborghini Movember Bull Run
Image credit: Extension PR, Jordan Russell

Winkelmann arrived in the United States fresh off Lamborghini, reporting official sales figures for the first three quarters of 2023. As usual, the US market dominated world deliveries, with 2,342 cars sold. For context, Germany notched second place with 709 units sold. So, as we stood there surrounded by classic and modern Lamborghinis alike, I asked Winkelmann what he thought made customers in America so attracted to the Italian supercars coming out of Sant’Agata Bolognese in recent years.

“People love ‘Made in Italy,’ they love super sports cars,” he replied. “They look at us, and they see that we are consistent with the brand, with the products, with technology, design, and performance. And therefore, it’s a growing curve in terms of awareness, in terms of image, and also in terms of popularity.” 

We watched more cars pulling into the lot, and then perhaps the highlight of the day rumbled past: the so-called “Rambo Lambo” LM002 SUV. Crowds swarmed, pulling out smartphones to record this most beastly of raging bulls in motion. Then the owner hopped out and popped the hood. I stuck with Winkelmann and brought up my surprise at how many brand-new examples of the Sterrato showed up, the Huracán’s off-roading variant that best delivers the modern style of that LM002. In fact, the Sterrato might just be my favorite car of the year. Completely absurd in every way but done right from conception through R&D to production. Winkelmann agreed.

Lamborghini Movember Bull Run
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

“Lambos are created to be dream cars,” he posited, “To be objects you might dream of since your childhood. And this is something we have to keep alive, and we always have to surprise people. The LM002 back in time was a big surprise for the customers. So is also the Sterrato. This is a car, which is part of our thinking out of the box now; it’s a car, which is very special, and the reception has been incredible. And it’s even more fun on the racetrack than off-road because you can just slide it.”

I declined to share my own tale of sliding a Sterrato enough to wind up fully sideways on a rally course at the official press debut earlier this year but nodded with appreciation for the incredible job that Lambo’s CTO Rouven Mohr manages to do with traction control and ESC programming. This guy drives a Lancer Evo, drifts a Nissan 350Z, and came up with the idea for a Sterrato in the first place. Then he decided that media should off-road the Urus Performante, set up a stage rally day at Chuckwalla for the Sterrato launch, and programmed the 1,000-horsepower Revuelto hybrid’s all-wheel-drive system well enough that I even drifted one at Vallelunga. Not bad, to say the least.

Lamborghini Movember Bull Run
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

A sense of surprise

And my Tecnica loaner wasn’t bad, either. Compared to other Huracan variants, including the Sterrato but also the aggressively aerodynamicized STO, the Tecnica nails a certain level of stylistic restraint. Call it more in line with Winkelmann’s more typical visage than on a Movember rally, where the Sterrato is the bearded CEO in cargo pants at the beach on a Saturday morning. And this particular Sterrato looks extra svelte in a matte grey, officially called Grigio Acheso, with carbon fiber interior door cards and even racing-inspired pull straps instead of handles. 

Don’t forget the 5.2-liter V10 that revs to 8,500 RPM and puts 640 horsepower through a lightspeed seven-speed DCT to the rear wheels only. Perfect for a road rally, a racetrack, or tooling around town—whether anyone shelling out $300,000 for their daily driver might want to keep the Movember mustache decals on after the rally remained another question entirely.

Lamborghini Movember Bull Run
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

Huracans made up most of the crowd by the time SM Pier’s lot began to fill up, heartily outnumbering even the Urus, Lambo’s best-selling model that contributed mightily to steadily growing sales stats since debuting for model year 2018. And yet, the Lamborghini crowd that gathers at a rally clearly prefers the company’s supercar persona rather than the do-anything SUV. Not too surprising, I suppose, given how many commuters I regularly see in Uruses (Urii) here in Los Angeles. Maybe the Lanzador could change that in the near future.

Sprinkled between the modern Lambos, a few Diablos, Murcielagos, and Aventadors also arrived to great fanfare. Even a lone Lamborghini Jalpa caught my eye, with an absurd yellow interior unveiled on full display. And it’s not often that anyone on hand can see the details that made these cars so super, from the Rambo Lambo’s wider-than-wide dash and peculiar Pirelli tires to the Jalpa’s gated shifter and three-spoke steering wheel or even the Diablo’s massive rear air intakes. Then, comparing older cars to newer ones, the evolution of aero and design, not to mention materials and craftsmanship under Volkswagen ownership—the whole history of Sant’Agata Bolognese played out in the pier parking lot.

Then came the time to drive after a few words of warning to prevent any shenanigans. Luckily—or not—beach traffic piled up on the PCH immediately, so as I slunk forward at a few miles an hour with the Tecnica set to softest Strada mode and AC blasting, a bunch of Aventadors lurched around at low speeds, automated manuals slapping audibly and 6.5-liter V12 engines revving to prevent stalls. We passed Jerry Seinfeld in a bright orange IROC Porsche, thinking it’s not often that Jerry gets upstaged in the car biz, but it’s pretty hard to beat a line of 200 Lamborghinis in public.

Once past a blinking red traffic light that caused the holdup, speeds increased but never to the point of irresponsibility. Even up Las Flores Canyon, then down Stunt and across Mulholland, the line of Lambos barely cracked the speed limit. And it’s a good thing, too, because the sheriff’s department definitely got the memo, as proven by about 15 cop cars passing in under an hour on mountain roads.

On Las Flores, a bit of water spray contrasted the Tecnica’s matte finish. On the rough road surfaces that took a beating this past winter, I again found myself entirely happy to have drawn the “short” straw with the Tecnica rather than the more “desirable” STO. Sure, on a track, the STO’s stiffer suspension and aero package may allow for better lap times, but here on public roads, the Tecnica’s more approachable setup kept me swaddled in much more comfort. I can admit to wishing for a bit more time actually ripping around, throwing that low-slung weight into corners, and punching the brake pedal to chomp down on massive carbon-ceramic brake discs. Oh well, maybe next time. If I ever get a next time.

Welcome to Calamigos Ranch

The rally ended at Calamigos Ranch, right off Kanan Dume in the heart of Malibu. A popular wedding venue, Calamigos Ranch also rents out to automakers regularly for sneak previews, official launches, and lunches during test drives. In this case, Lambo parked a brand-new Revuelto at the entrance for guests to check out. The bright orange Arancio Apodis launch color certainly caught eyes, though, in my opinion, it only highlights certain unflattering comparisons to the C8 Corvette in photos. Those impressions come through less in person, but the angular body still looks best in dark and matte tones.

Then, another orange Lambo absolutely stole my gaze: a sparkling Miura that guarded the entrance to the main field where lunch trucks, picnic tables, cornhole, and a Ferris wheel all dotted the lawn packed with more Lamborghinis, of course. Here, I got to check out more Diablos and Murcielagos that I must have missed earlier in the rush to chat with Winkelmann and grab a cup of coffee before the rally started. The crowd grew steadily, some dealers wearing official garb, plenty of father-son duos out for a Saturday cruise, solo owners, and more Lambo executives. I grabbed a Mediterranean salad with shaved ribeye, chugged another coffee, then moseyed over to take a closer look at sweet rims, quilted leather, and even more sparkling paint jobs.

And to think, all this for a good cause in an era when Cars and Coffee meets often devolve into donuts and drifting, prompting police shutdowns and ticketing. By contrast, the Bull Run stayed surprisingly classy. We all know the stereotypes, but the Mustang and Hellcat hooligans stayed away on this day of fundraising. Each dealership involved contributes to Movember’s purse, the final tallies of which will be announced at the end of the full month’s efforts. 

Lamborghini Movember Bull Run
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

But in the meantime, I spent the rest of the afternoon ripping my Tecnica home through the tight curves of Latigo Canyon Road, simply one of the best 10 miles of asphalt the world over for driving one of the best supercars ever. Suffice it to say, it’s a great way to give my own mental health a boost with a healthy dose of automotive therapy.

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2025 Mustang GTD reveal crowd perspective

The Detroit Auto Show cements the Ford Mustang as America’s sports car

The Ford Mustang, America’s athletic, boorish, and rowdy son since 1964. A frequent patron of the Woodward Dream Cruise and GRIDLIFE time attack. Your neighbor has one. Your classmate has one. Your cool relative has one. The 83,195 hypebeast high schoolers at the local nighttime car meet each have one. The Mustang is as synonymous with Americarna as Route 66, Smokey and the Bandit, or the Rascal Flatts cover of “Life is a Highway.” There’s a Mustang on every block. And no matter your taste, there’s certainly a Mustang for you.

Six decades and countless revisions, engine changes, and suspension overhauls later, we arrive at the new 2024 Ford Mustang – the S650 generation, an evolution in Ford’s muscle car-turned-sports car. From a glance, not much has changed from the S550 generation that ran from 2015 to 2023, but this new Mustang takes pride in all the minute changes Ford made. A little more power here. A bit more chassis composure there. Ford’s definitely taken a “don’t mess with success” stance. That is, unless you have supercar money to blow.

2025 Mustang GTD full driver side profile lower rear angle
Image credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

Following a virtual announcement on August 17, 2023, the Mustang GTD made its public debut at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance car show in California the next day. The carbon-bodied beast sits on an eight-speed transaxle, giving it a nearly 50:50 weight distribution. A few weeks later, we had the chance to see the ‘Stang for ourselves at the Detroit Auto Show. With a price tag well into the six figures, however, most people will never see a Mustang GTD in real life, let alone afford one themselves.

As for the rest of us, does the 2024 Mustang work? Or has Ford’s march of modernity muddied its latest pony car? Let’s take a look.

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2024 Ford Mustang price and trim levels

2024 Mustang Dark Horse front fascia
Image credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

When Ford says there’s a Mustang for everyone, that’s no exaggeration. This unwavering truth is evident in everything from the options packages to the engine choices and that eye-popping disparity in pricing between the least and most expensive models.

Mustang EcoBoost

  • Starting Price: $30,920 (Fastback), $39,020 (Convertible)
  • EcoBoost Standard Features:
    • 2.3L EcoBoost I4
    • 10-speed automatic
    • 3.15 final drive ratio
    • Split-screen interior dash design
    • 12.4-inch LCD cluster
    • 13.2-inch touchscreen infotainment w/ SYNC 4
    • Ford Co-Pilot 360 Technology w/ lane keep assist, lane keep alert, and blind-spot monitoring
    • Rearview camera w/ parking sensors
    • Rain-sensing wipers
    • Auto high-beams
    • Pre-collision warning w/ auto braking
    • 6-speaker stereo

Mustang EcoBoost Premium

  • Starting Price: $36,445 (Fastback), $41,945 (Convertible)
  • EcoBoost Standard Features (on top of base):
    • Connected single-screen dash design
    • Heated/cooled leather seats
    • Heated leather steering wheel w/ chrome bezel
    • Multi-color ambient lighting
    • Remote start for 10-speed auto transmission
    • Dual-zone climate control
    • 9-speaker stereo system
    • Wireless charging pad
    • Aluminum pedals
    • Universal garage opener

Mustang GT

  • Starting Price: $42,495
  • GT Standard Features:
    • 5.0L Coyote V8
    • Getrag 6-speed manual
    • 3.55 final drive ratio
    • Split-screen interior dash design
    • 12.4-inch LCD cluster
    • 13.2-inch touchscreen infotainment w/ SYNC 4
    • Ford Co-Pilot 360 Technology w/ lane keep assist, lane keep alert, and blind-spot monitoring
    • Rearview camera w/ parking sensors
    • Rain-sensing wipers
    • Auto high-beams
    • Pre-collision warning w/ auto braking
    • 6-speaker stereo

Mustang GT Premium

  • Starting Price: $47,015 (Fastback), $52,515 (Convertible)
  • Premium Standard Features (on top of base):
    • Connected single-screen dash design
    • Heated/cooled leather seats
    • Heated leather steering wheel w/ chrome bezel
    • Multi-color ambient lighting
    • Remote start for 10-speed auto transmission
    • Dual-zone climate control
    • 9-speaker stereo system
    • Wireless charging pad
    • Aluminum pedals
    • Universal garage opener

Mustang Dark Horse

  • Starting Price: $59,270
  • Dark Horse Standard Features:
    • 5.0L Coyote V8 w/ revised manifold
    • Tremec 6-speed manual w/ titanium shift knob
    • Engine oil, transmission, and differential coolers
    • Torsen rear differential w/ 3.73 final drive ratio
    • Revised suspension and electronic assist tuning
    • 12.4-inch LCD cluster
    • 13.2-inch touchscreen infotainment w/ SYNC 4
    • Ford Co-Pilot 360 Technology w/ lane keep assist, lane keep alert, and blind-spot monitoring
    • Rearview camera w/ parking sensors
    • Rain-sensing wipers
    • Auto high-beams
    • Pre-collision warning w/ auto braking
    • Vinyl/cloth seats
    • Heated steering wheel
    • Multi-color ambient lighting
    • Remote start for 10-speed auto transmission
    • Dual-zone climate control
    • 9-speaker stereo system
    • Wireless charging pad
    • Universal garage opener

Mustang Dark Horse Premium

  • Starting Price: $63,265
  • Premium Standard Features (on top of base):
    • Heated/cooled leather seats
    • Aluminum pedals
    • Universal garage opener

Mustang GTD

  • Starting Price: TBA; approx. $300,000
  • GTD Standard Features:
    • 5.2L supercharged V8
    • 8-speed dual-clutch transaxle
    • Multimatic DSSV dampers
    • Pushrod rear suspension
    • Active aerodynamics
    • Carbon fiber bodywork inspired by Mustang GT3

2024 Ford Mustang exterior color options

Mustang EcoBoost/GT

  • Shadow Black
  • Oxford White
  • Iconic Silver
  • Race Red
  • Rapid Red Metallic (+495)
  • Atlas Blue Metallic
  • Grabber Blue Metallic
  • Dark Matter Gray Metallic
  • Vapor Blue Metallic
  • Carbonized Gray Metallic
  • Yellow Splash Metallic (+995)

Mustang Dark Horse

  • Shadow Black
  • Oxford White
  • Race Red
  • Atlas Blue Metallic
  • Grabber Blue Metallic
  • Dark Matter Gray Metallic
  • Vapor Blue Metallic
  • Carbonized Gray Metallic
  • Blue Ember Metallic (+1,500, Dark Horse Premium only)

Mustang GTD

  • TBA; possibly paint-to-sample

2024 Ford Mustang interior color options

Mustang non-Premium

  • Black Onyx
  • Space Gray

Mustang Premium

  • Black Onyx
  • Space Gray
  • Emerglo
  • Carmine Red

Mustang Dark Horse/Dark Horse Premium

  • Deep Indigo

Mustang GTD

  • TBA

Interior and tech

Through interior comfort and technology, the Mustang asserts itself as the do-everything sports car for the masses. Carry luggage? There’s a cavernous trunk with split-folding rear seats for that. Or, if you wish, you can use the rear seats to transport real, breathing adult humans – kind of important, that breathing part – in a pinch. The fastback roofline may not permit above-average-height people, but two or two-and-a-half Kevin Harts will do. The current crop of Mustangs sports plenty of cabin space for, uh, let’s say big-boned Americans, meaning taking a GT on an actual grand tour won’t be an exercise in keeping your claustrophobia under wraps. As a fun touch, the steering wheel now rocks a sleek flat-bottom design with pronounced thumb bolsters.

2024 Ford Mustang front cabin
Image credit: Ford

As you can see, tech is where the S650 Mustang sees the most transformative revolution. Whereas the exterior appears to be an alternate facelift of the first 2015 cars, the interior could pass as something from BMW. Or Hyundai. Or Kia. Or Honda.

Huh. I’m starting to see a pattern with these present-day cars.

Okay, so it’s a little derivative, and perhaps that’ll date it heavily in the future unlike limited runs crafted from the ground up to be timeless, like the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale. But unlike an exotic supercar, the Mustang is here and now. It’s meant to be driven. Not only to cars and coffee or the track, but to the supermarket, doctor’s appointments, and long road trips with the fam. In keeping with modern trends, its clean, efficient, and upscale appearance is warranted.

2024 Ford Mustang steering wheel and instrument cluster
Image credit: Ford

Whether you embrace it or condemn it to burn at the stake, the high-mounted display-centric dashboard is here to stay for the S650 Mustang. That move appreciably elevates lower-trim cars to new heights, no longer forcing buyers to cope with the Texas Instruments calculators that adorned the prior-gen base models. The new screen location brings information closer to your sightlines, meaning less looking down at the center stack, and enables wannabe racers to run those badass billet short shifters without obstructing the screen. SYNC 4 is standard across the board, as is CarPlay, Android Auto, Ford safety assists, a rearview camera with parking sensors, and digital gauges.

Speaking of, yes, that oh-so goofy Fox Body gauge mode for the digital gauges is very much real and available across all models, Premium or not. It’s a touching bit of nostalgia for the younger hoonigans who know Fox Bodies from Need For Speed or elder millennials finally admitting their mid-life crisis. More new cars need harmless gimmicks like this. 

2024 Ford Mustang instrumental cluster
Image credit: Ford

Adjustable drive modes are now available to all, whereas prior models only featured them on Premium trims. New for the S650 is the addition of individual presets for tailoring the steering, throttle, brakes-by-wire feel, and, if equipped, MagneRide and active exhaust.

With all this head-spinning adjustment and an expansive safety net of nannies, the S650 Mustang can easily make itself at home on the commute as it can on the circuit. Set everything to full-kill Track Mode and let those rear tires howl. Or slap everything in Slippery or Normal and let it transform from a steroidal sports coupe to a lazy boulevard cruiser at the tap of a screen. Perhaps the only criticism one can have of all this control is most of it is accessible only through the screen, including climate controls, which are thankfully always visible on a strip located at the bottom of the screen display. 

Oh, and if you’re an especially childish goober with more whimsy than a McDonald’s PlayPlace, 10-speed auto cars feature a Remote Rev function. Yes, this is exactly as it sounds. You can remotely rev your Mustang while parked via the key fob up to 5,000 rpm. A neat party trick for the next family reunion or Oakland sideshow.

2024 Ford Mustang dashboard
Image credit: Ford


Exterior dimensions:

  • Length: 189.4 inches
  • Width: 75.4 inches
  • Width w/ mirrors: 81.9 inches
  • Wheelbase: 107 inches

Interior space:

  • Passenger volume: 79.2 cu. ft. (convertible), 82.8 cu. ft. (fastback)
  • Seating: 4
  • Front headroom: 37.6 inches
  • Rear headroom: 34.8 inches
  • Front shoulder room: 56.3 inches
  • Rear shoulder room: 52.2 inches
  • Front legroom: 44.5 inches
  • Rear legroom: 29.0 inches
  • Cargo volume: 11.4 cu. Ft. (convertible), 13.5 cu. ft. (fastback)
2024 Ford Mustang black Recaro seats with blue accents
Image credit: Ford
2024 Ford Mustang white Recaro seats with blue accents
Image credit: Ford

Fuel economy and range

Economy, eh? On a Mustang? Alrighty, then. 

Paired with the sole choice, the 10-speed auto, the 2.3-liter EcoBoost returns a solid 22 mpg city, 33 highway, and 26 combined. That equates to a total highway range of 528 miles. Interestingly, opting for the Performance Package EcoBoost drops the ratings to 21 city, 29 highway, and 24 combined, likely due to the stickier summer tires and shorter final drive. But who needs fuel economy when you have faster lap times? No? Okay, fine.

GTs, at best with the 10-speed, manage 15 city, 24 highway, and 18 combined. Six-speed manuals drop each figure by one across the board, meaning the most miserly Mustangs barely eke out 384 miles on the interstate. Due to their slightly more aggressive aero and stickier rubber options, Dark Horses with either transmission manage one less mile per gallon on the highway, earning a rating of 22 mpg and dropping range to 352 miles. The lead-footed will likely not come close to any of these numbers.

The ultra-rare and ultra-violent GTD and its supercharged V8 are too far out to receive any fuel economy information. If the GT500 is anything to go off of, it’ll most likely be abysmal. Let’s just say it will at least get one mpg. Not certain, but maybe. 

  • City Economy: 21 to 22 mpg (EcoBoost), 14 to 15 mpg (GT, Dark Horse), TBA (GTD)
  • Highway Economy: 29 to 33 mpg (EcoBoost), 23 to 24 mpg (GT), 22 mpg (Dark Horse), TBA (GTD)
  • Combined Economy: 24 to 26 mpg (EcoBoost), 17 to 18 mpg (GT), 17 mpg (Dark Horse), TBA (GTD)
  • Maximum Range: 464 to 528 miles (EcoBoost), 368 to 384 miles (GT), 352 miles (Dark Horse), TBA (GTD)
  • Fuel Capacity: 16.0 gallons

Engines, transmissions, and performance

Ah, yes. The section for spec sheet drag racers and couch potato canyon carvers. Performance is why buyers choose Mustangs and other pony cars over Nissan Zs or Subaru BRZs. Asphalt-shredding performance and thundering engines are the soul of the Mustang lineage, and the S650 generation carries that torch with pride and faithfulness. 

2024 Mustang Dark Horse rear exhaust and diffuser
Image credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

The Little Four-Banger That Could flexes a healthy 315 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, the same torque level but up five horses over the old car. While no outlet has launched any instrumented tests at the time of writing, I imagine that’ll yield straight-line acceleration on par with the outgoing model. However, GTs and Dark Horses are a different story, now wielding the fourth generation of the acclaimed free-breathing, high-revving 5.0-liter Coyote V8. Now, with a wee bit more displacement and a dual intake system, the mighty Coyote belches out a healthy 480 horsepower or 486 with the freer-flowing active exhaust and 418 pound-feet. Dark Horses use strengthened internals and revised tuning to generate 500 horses.

All “plebeian” spec Mustangs can mate powertrains to the now-famed 10-speed automatic, acclaimed for its snappy gearing, effectiveness in drag racing, and clever programming but sometimes knocked for iffy paddle shifter response at anything but full-tilt. However, the brawny V8s receive offers to join the Save The Manuals club, as the embarrassingly low take rate for manual EcoBoosts killed that powertrain combo entirely. GTs work with the controversial Getrag MT-82 six-speed manual, which is now as slick and accurate as ever, but pundits and Mustang fans alike have expressed concerns over longevity and how this new iteration will fair compared to older ones. Dark Horses rock the even-slicker and far more stout Tremec six-speed, previously featured in the Mach 1 and Shelby GT350 and now topped with an almost JDM tuner-like titanium knob.

2024 Ford Mustang manual gear shift
Image credit: Ford

Acceleration from the few outlets who ran the new GT and Dark Horse against the clock is only marginally quicker than the cars they replace, despite the notable increase in power. But that still equates to being faster than you’ll ever need on the street and most tracks. Handling Package-equipped Dark Horses manage to out-handle their forebearers, thanks to specially formulated 180-treadwear semi-slicks. However, the GT’s handling, while reportedly sharper than ever, also trails slightly in grip. This mild step down is likely due to their Premium test cars weighing roughly 100 pounds heavier than non-Premium trims and the outgoing generation GTs, as well as Ford’s odd decision to move away from their well-received Michelin tires to Pirellis PZeros. 

Or, as my generation loves to say to write off flukes: “Ha, skill issue.”

2024 Mustang GT3 livery front driver side profile
Image credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)


  • Engine: 2.3L EcoBoost I4 (EcoBoost), 5.0L Coyote V8 (GT, Dark Horse), 5.2L supercharged V8 (GTD)
  • Transmission: 10-speed automatic, Getrag 6-speed manual (GT), Tremec 6-speed manual (Dark Horse), 8-speed dual-clutch transaxle (GTD)
  • Drivetrain: rear-wheel drive
  • HP: 315 horsepower (EcoBoost), 480 horsepower (GT), 486 horsepower (GT w/ active exhaust), 500 horsepower (Dark Horse), approx. 800 horsepower (GTD)
  • Torque: 350 lb-ft (EcoBoost), 418 lb-ft (GT, Dark Horse), 730 lb-ft (GTD)
  • Redline: 6,400 rpm (EcoBoost), 7,500 rpm (GT, Dark Horse), TBA; approx. 7,400 rpm (GTD)
  • Weight: approx. 3,600 pounds (EcoBoost), approx. 3,820 pounds (non-Premium GT/Dark Horse), approx. 3,920 (Premium GT, Dark Horse), TBA; approx. 3,400 pounds (GTD)
  • 0 – 60 mph: approx. 5.0 seconds (EcoBoost), approx. 3.8 to 4.1 seconds (GT), approx. 3.7 to 4.0 (Dark Horse), approx. 3.2 (GTD)
  • ¼-mile: approx. 13.5 seconds (EcoBoost), approx. 12.0 to 12.5 seconds (GT), approx. 11.8 to 12.3 seconds (Dark Horse), approx. 10.8 seconds (GTD)

Note that our figures are mere approximations based on existing instrumented tests of current and prior Mustangs, as you’ll see in our review round-up. Not all variants of the new S650 Mustang have been running against the clock, but their similarities with their forebearers lay a fairly trustworthy groundwork off which we can estimate. 

2024 Mustang Dark Horse Brembo brake and wheel
Image credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

2024 Ford Mustang review round-up

Sadly, no one on the Acceleramota payroll has been graced by the Blue Oval’s generosity with a seat in an S650… Yet. But! There are plenty of legacy mags and veteran journos who have, and they sure as hell have had plenty to say!

From traffic-packed commuting to canyon ripping, the optional MagneRide suspension dampers cover ground with a synthesis of plushness and stability. In their firmest setting, undulating pavement can agitate the car, but not in an overly stiff or punishing way. Comfort pervades in the softest mode, without ceding poise for cutting a corner off the boulevard. Long highway cruises prove their touring aptitude, and on twisting two-lanes they return a sophisticated connection with the pavement. These are key to the 2024 Mustang’s great breadth of capability.

Alex Leanse, Motor Trend

First and foremost, the top-tier Mustang [Dark Horse] may weigh nearly 4,000 pounds, but it wears its weight well. Instead of attempting to squeeze into whatever’s on the rack at H&M, it’s comfortably slipping into athletic-cut threads at the big and tall store. This was especially true of its brakes; they never softened up or lost bite. Every time I’d dive into an incredibly late apex to enter the track’s infield, the brakes felt amply powerful and had no indication of ever fading away. Their ease of modulation and excellent pedal feel made slicing through a smorgasbord of early, late, and double-apexes both fun and trivial for any driver, no matter the skill level.

Peter Nelson, The Drive

While the Mustang EcoBoost doesn’t exactly feel at home on tight twisty roads, it’s not a sloppy mess, either. The electronically assisted steering is lacking feel but a quicker ratio over the last-gen car means hand-shuffling happens far less. The chassis is set up for safety, so the front wheels will always give up before the rear. You can make it rotate with enough patience, but just under 3,600 pounds to lug around means cars like the Mazda MX-5 Miata or Toyota GR86 are far better choices if your commute has a bunch of fun corners. The payoff is, of course, a set of semi-usable back seats and a decently-sized trunk. If twisties are your thing and you absolutely must have a four-cylinder Mustang, we recommend opting for the Performance Package, as it gets you a Torsen limited-slip differential, 19-inch wheels with summer tires, bigger Brembo brakes, and a strut tower brace.

Brian Silvestro, Road & Track

Run ragged on some of the best canyon roads Los Angeles County has to offer, the new Mustang GT is shockingly poised and well balanced. Instead of bucking through bends, the new Mustang dives in and carves through, with speeds and confidence previously only exhibited by Shelby-badged cars. Although we wish a touch more road chatter was transmitted through the new steering rack, its effort and weighting are bang on, as is the suspension tuning. As to the latter, Sport and Track noticeably stiffen things up while still allowing enough compliance to avoid upsetting the car over midcorner impacts.

Christian Seabaugh, Motor Trend

In short, it’s more of the same, but that’s a good thing if nothing groundbreaking. A better Mustang than ever before while being notably sharper and a smidge quicker, yes. Unsurprising, as reporters spout those same words with every new iteration of Mustang, but it’s a breath of fresh air nonetheless to have a car that breathes without an inhaler, shifts by your command, and sings to the high heavens with a voice unmuffled by turbo or electrified nonsense.

Well, you know. At least that’s the case for the naturally aspirated V8. Hey, nothing wrong with a Mach-E or the EcoBoost either!

2025 Mustang GTD reveal crowd perspective
Image credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

The fresh interior tech works quite well, even if it raised a few eyebrows. The revised steering rack may have taken two steps forward and two steps back, trading weight and feedback for speed and accuracy. However, some journos do enjoy the lighter weighting. Driving experiences are highly subjective matters to discuss, after all. But most agree the Mustang is a worthy successor, a perfect homage to Mustangs of the past, and a decent enough improvement in most aspects of driving dynamics.

Could it be even faster? Even sharper? Of course it can! It’s a Mustang, duh! Ford knows that, and the aftermarket knows that, and the latter has already been foaming at the mouth with what they can do. Skeptics should stay tuned for that.

Race cars galore!

Nuh-uh. You aren’t leaving this page without me shoving this down your throat. 

Since the days of the S197-generation Boss 302, Ford has doubled down on its efforts positioning the Mustang to challenge the world. And what better place to do that than the circuit? The last generation saw variants based heavily upon the Shelby GT350, but now Ford aims to expand even further beyond with increasingly manic race trims of the famed nameplate. 

2024 Mustang GT3 livery front driver side profile
Image credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

At the bottom rung sit the Dark Horse S and the Dark Horse R, stripped-down and relatively tame track-only editions of the Dark Horse road car. Little is known about the S other than being the less aggressive stablemate to the R. The latter comes ready to race out of the box, with road car-based aero, a traditional six-speed stick, and a virtually unchanged 5.0-liter Coyote V8, which even uses the same factory airboxes. It appears like a lightly modified Dark Horse road car from a distance – psst, if you really want the wheels, they’ll soon be a Ford Performance catalog part. A neat party piece to the R is the shim-based camber plates, which adjust by removing or adding shims to tweak the camber to the driver’s liking while being far less likely to come out of alignment than tightening down some bolts. Get ready to see these tear it up at advanced track days, club racing events, and the soon-to-launch Mustang Challenge series.

Mustang Dark Horse R Ford Performance livery with Mustang sculpture in background
Image credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

The Mustang GT4 ups the game with a legit wing setup pulled straight from Forza Motorsport and a more hardcore sequential gearbox. Like the Dark Horse R, there’s no Looney Toons widebody or ultra-bespoke motor. It’s still built to be a close representation of the street car, even sporting the same 5.0-liter V8. Except now, the transmission is a pneumatic dog-ring unit, and the suspension rocks dynamic spool-valve dampers by renowned builder, Multimatic, the same folks behind the dampers of the Camaro Z/28 and ZL1 1LE who helped bring the most recent Ford GT supercar to life.

Now we’re getting somewhere with the Mustang V8 Supercar built for, you guessed it, the Australian V8 Supercars series. It’s like NASCAR… But Aussie. The body is wider. The engine is horsepower-er. And the car is right-hand-drive-er. Yes, these are words now. Not much is known other than its speculated 600 horsepower output from a Coyote-based 5.4-liter V8 that breathes through a single throttle body instead of the dual design. Interestingly, it seems to be the only Ford Performance racing effort not to have any relation to the Dark Horse or Mustang road cars in general and is the only one to feature styling cues from the GT instead. Not a bad looker, either, as the last iteration was, uh, pretty damn hideous.

Atop the food chain sits the king, the one to lead the Mustang name into international motorsports stardom. The Mustang GT3 garnered acclaim and excitement for enabling the Mustang name to take on the world’s fastest, succeeding the venerable Ford GT LM GTE-Pro. There’s a carbon fiber widebody dotted with enough slots and holes to be mistaken for a Jack The Ripper victim, with the C-pillar-mounted swan neck wing acting as the cherry on top. Beneath the hood sits a unique 5.4-liter V8 co-developed with M-Sport, which, along with the V8 Supercar’s mill, are the first 5.4-liter V8s in any Mustang, race or street, since the 2012 Shelby GT500. Best of all, the groundwork set by Multimatic and the GT3 will give way to a monstrous storm brewing in the Blue Oval’s street car department.

The GTD: The storm that is approaching

Ah, lastly, we can’t forget about this. I can see it now. 

“Hey, I like your c-”

“More than you can afford, pal.”



“Dude, what?”

“Forget about it, cuh.”

Following much hype surrounding a possible GT3 road car, Ford debuted the flagship GTD track special, a limited-edition supercar among pony cars built in conjunction with Multimatic. And you thought all those stats I threw earlier were nonsense filler.

The Mustang GTD exercises the full brunt of what Ford can do with the S650 Mustang platform, starting by sending a body-in-white to Multimatic to receive goodies such as the stunning carbon fiber GT3-inspired widebody. However, being a road car, gave Ford and Multimatic greater liberty to exercise more high-performance muscles in their pursuit of taking on the world’s fastest. This Mustang utilizes electronically height-adjustable suspension with pushrod rear suspension, active aerodynamics, serving platter-sized carbon ceramic brakes, and tires wide enough to fluster drag racers. All this supercar mumbo jumbo works to reign in a beastly supercharged 5.2-liter V8 targeting 800 horsepower and breathing through a titanium Akrapovic exhaust. Someone’s clearly a Euro fanboy on the engineering team.

Yes. It will be fast. No, you probably can’t have one, as Ford plans to implement an application process akin to the Ford GT to allocate the 1,000 to 2,000 cars they intend to build. That is if you can swing the $300,000 expected price. That’s 911 GT3 RS money, yes, but Ford has its hopes up that it can take the RS’ lunch money while making a hell of a lot more noise. 


Can I take a 2024 Mustang to the race track?

Of course you can. It’s America’s sports car, and part of being the car to do everything for everyone means being capable when hunting apexes or chasing the end of drag strips. Base Mustangs are competent enough for the casual driver, but the GT and EcoBoost Performance Package adds larger brakes, retuned suspensions and electronic assists, bigger wheels with wider summer tires, and additional cooling to better withstand prolonged spirited driving. For real hardcore track rats, I’d consider the sharper Dark Horse, the successor to the GT350, Mach 1, and Boss 302.

How is the aftermarket support for the 2024 Mustang?

Scarce as of now, as the new Mustang has only recently come on sale. But expect support to ramp up rapidly and spread like wildfire as R&D gets underway with popular aftermarket brands. Some companies were quick to snag up test cars to begin dyno runs and wheel fitment checks, and Ford Performance’s new best bud, RTR, has already unveiled a complete upgrade package. For now, expect the only major challenge to be tuning, as the locked ECU and the dual intake’s dual MAF sensors pose quite a hurdle for tuners. The workarounds won’t be impossible. Tuners have long proven that many “untunable” platforms. But they won’t come soon.

Can I daily a 2024 Mustang?

Ford Mustangs are splendid everyday sports cars. In their softest settings, they’re tame, relaxed pussycats with unobtrusive road noise and suspension that can be firm but never harsh, even in the most hardcore models. Expect the 2024 cars to be quite familiar, albeit with maybe a hint more compliance from the new generation of (optional) MagneRide shocks. The new level of tech in the S650 will make it far more appealing to use as a single car and in heavy traffic. While derivative, the screen-centric dash design enables drivers to see whatever they need to see without looking low down on the center stack like older Mustangs.

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