Tag Archives: track cars

Ford Mustang GT, Veloster N, V6 Mustang Subaru BRZ
FeaturesSaturday Morning Car Tune!

You should daily drive your track car

Welcome! Tune in to your Saturday Morning Car Tune to read about the raddest yet dumbest and least practical thing I’ve ever purchased. You know all those awesome vloggers and auto journos who chronologize their lives behind the wheel of their muscle car restoration project or high-horsepower tuner build? Yeah, you know that most of those folks also have regular-ass daily drivers behind the scenes, right?

The Gears & Gasoline Bens have pickup trucks and a reasonably-built WRX STI to shuttle them around when they’re not grenading transmissions or setting lap records. David Patterson, a.k.a. ThatDudeInBlue, has a Ford F-150 for his regular grunt work. Matt Farah has a Mustang Mach-E and a Vespa, and Jason Cammisa has a Volkswagen e-Golf. Remember those things? And I have… A lowered Subaru BRZ with a silly wing and no catalytic converters.

I bought a thingy

modified Subaru BRZ
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

As you can see, the weight of my genius hurts sometimes. 

But alas! I have… Reasons. Probably not smart ones. But I didn’t start this new features section to discuss moneywise consumer advice. 

Say hello to the latest notch in my belt, a modified 2022 Subaru BRZ that I bought off an old coworker from my speed shop days, who himself bought it off the shop as it was a former shop car. Akin to the press BRZ I drove to GRIDLIFE in the fall, it’s a Limited trim, which means alcantara and leather upholstery throughout, heated seats, and a fairly banging sound system. It has wired Apple CarPlay as standard, as well as cornering headlights and a digital gauge cluster. Oh, and it’s a manual, too. Huzzah!

It has also been modified to high heaven, as this car had previously served as a work friend’s track car, having accumulated 3,200 miles over some mostly highway commutes and three track days, one of which Larry Chen photographed the car. Keen to always sign up for the next event but also deeply religious about a proper break-in, the BRZ has undergone one diff fluid change and five oil changes. And then there’s the laundry list of mods, including, ahem:

  • 200TW Hankook RSV4 tires (245/40/17) on 17-inch WedsSport TC105X wheels
  • Obnoxiously squeaky track brake pads that are surprisingly usable in daily driving and all weather
  • Zebulon swan neck wing
  • Artisan Spirits front lip with a barely-livable splitter extension
  • Catless full exhaust with equal-length headers and an A’PEXi catback
  • Ecutek programming kit with a custom 91-octane tune
  • Jackson Racing oil cooler
  • Antigravity battery
  • SPL adjustable rear control arms
  • Vorshlag camber plates
  • Cusco strut tower brace
  • Motion Control Suspension (MCS) coilovers, the exact model of which I still need to figure out

There’s probably a bunch I’m forgetting. And I’m still learning the exact details of what exactly each model of part is in the event I ever need to repair or replace them. Among spare things that aren’t installed, I still have an oil catch can, various chassis doo-dads, and the all-important oil pan baffle. If you’re even remotely familiar with the BRZ/GR86 platform, you’ll know these things are… Finicky, to say the least. But I’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. But how does it rip? Well, let me tell you.

I don’t know all that much. In the 800 miles I’ve logged in the last two weeks, I haven’t really pushed it hard at all, not even in the local canyons since seasonal traffic is high and road temps are cold. But that’s okay. My friend built it for the track. And to the track, it’ll return to show me just how much I’ve grown (or devolved) since my time ripping around canyon roads and road courses in my trusty old V6 Mustang. But I can tell you what it’s like to live with and how you can replicate such an experience, should you dare. 

Daily driving a BRZ track car isn’t the worst idea I’ve had

This little tike, for all its track-focused intentions and intimidating looks, is actually a bang-on daily driver. No, I didn’t take that much copium today. I mean it! It’s usable, and it’s comfortable. Ish. Or at least it’s a comfortable-ish daily if you haven’t experienced a new Toyota Prius lately.

The MCS coilovers ride remarkably well despite being adjusted to a stiffer dampening setting by the previous owner. Hell, I’d say it rides close to, if not the same as, the stock suspension setup, albeit with slightly more noticeable jitters over high-frequency bumps. And when I mean slightly, I mean you just feel them a little more than stock, and it’s never harsh. Large road imperfections like asphalt patches, dips, and potholes are nonissue, which is fantastic to hear about in a track-built car. It means you have the compliance to attack apexes without upsetting the chassis, and you have the comfort of not shattering your spine on the drive home.

It’s a testament to the quality of the coilovers and proof that, and say this with me, you don’t need to ride like shit to have a great handling car. Porsches and Corvettes prove this. This does, too. Color me impressed. Get yourself some quality coils or adjust your dampers to find that happy middle ground, people. It exists, and I promise you it’s not maximum stiff.

Subaru BRZ
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

What isn’t so hot is this goddamn splitter. Getting into my family’s driveway is now a learning curve. And speedbumps near my friend’s house are now a practice session for autocross. It’s tolerable, but only barely. Normally, you’d be able to not scrape on most crap on the road. But now I actually have to be paying attention, whereas a stock BRZ may as well be a rally car in comparison, billygoating over dips and inclines.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Stance scene folks are laughing and envious at my comparatively truckish ground clearance. Again, it works for now. I’ll live, even if it means putting a few scuffs in concrete driveways here and there.

Video credit: Jeric Jaleco, Sean Grey

Fuel economy? Okay. I lauded the stock BRZ press loaner for handily beating the EPA estimates with hardly any effort, easily eclipsing 32 to 35 mpg on most freeways. Now, I have to try to hit 30. I should be lucky to even be averaging 24 in mixed driving. As it turns out, things like bigger, stickier tires and fat aero parts that produce a lot of drag end up producing a lot of drag. Who would’ve guessed? Fuel economy is still okay. Better than my V6 Mustang. But the small tank means fill-ups are just as, if not more, frequent.

If there’s anything to truly take solace in besides the commendable ride, it’d have to be that my friend left the interior mostly intact. No goofy rear seat deletion or removal of any carpeting or insulation to cut weight. He daily drove this car, too, and he’s more sensible than most. Or at least he’s sensible enough not to completely ape the livability of a car when it still has to drive to and from the track.

The OEM heated seats are still here and still get lovably scorching in our bitter desert winter. The stock sound system is still a banger, too. The only hints of modification inside are the custom steering wheel upholstery and a shift knob. The trunk liner has been removed to allow for access to the rear shock towers where the dampening adjustment lies, but if that’s had any effect on NVH, I haven’t noticed. If anything, it just made more room for groceries. Totally important in a car like this.

The exhaust is annoy-the-neighbors loud on startup but becomes smooth, balanced, and mature when warmed up, producing no drone whatsoever. In the cabin, it sounds as though the car was fitted with a somewhat tame catback and nothing more; that’s to say, it’s quiet when you want it to be. Great for dates. Or if you have tinnitus. Or if you and your date both have tinnitus. 

Daily your track car. Who’s gonna stop you?

So. Driving someone else’s former track toy. Not bad. Not bad at all. It could do with a milder splitter or no splitter at all. And the catless exhaust means that CARB reps will shoot me on sight the instant I cross the state line to buy a lotto ticket. But not bad at all. At least it’s done right, which is the defining line between versatile track cars you can use daily and hyper-focused track cars you’d rather trailer.

Subaru BRZ
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

Any track-built car could pull shifts as a commuter. A car is a car. It’s all a matter of how it’s set up and the quality of the parts. Just know there will have to be compromises in how comfortable you can be or how hardcore you can build it. Frankly, if your idea of a track car is decent coilovers and sticky tires, you’re set! Hell, you’d clear more speed bumps than me. You’ll generally be fine if you leave ground clearance for larger floor jacks and attacking apex curbing and if you fervently believe the stiffest suspension setups aren’t always the best. Oh, and unless you’re entering time trials in the damn thing, don’t turn your interior into a scrap heap. Leave that to the dedicated race car builds. Your bum and your eardrums will thank you.

So there you go. Go ahead. Daily your track car, and live life like Ryosuke Takahashi except in suburban America and not urban Japan. And if your track car is a little more on the extreme side, Well, daily it anyway. It’ll be funny.

A new car for new adventures

So, if my last car was leagues more practical than this BRZ on a regular basis, why did I even bother with it? Simple.

I felt it was time to part ways with my prior car of six and a half years and wanted to level up. Simple as that. And while the Mustang could’ve definitely been its own track star with more money thrown at it, it was time to try a different platform and expand my palette a bit. So, when the opportunity came to snag my friend’s BRZ and depart from my 10-year-old, 114,000-mile trooper of a My-First-Sports-Car, the car I bought right after dropping out and shuttled me through a rebooted college career, a military enlistment, numerous road trips, getting absolutely lost as fuck in the Eldorado National Forest (beautiful place to get lost, by the way), and my first few jobs, I had to jump on it.

Think of the switch in Takumi and the Initial D story moving from the White Ghost of Akina arc to the Project D arc. And with it will (hopefully) come falling lap times, a more serious and mature take on driving, and, most importantly, all-new learning experiences I never had or bothered to pick up as a deadbeat college kid. But this is not to completely say goodbye to my little blue car. It was sold to a good friend, so it’s still in the social circle for me to witness its growth in new hands.

So far, ownership is looking like it’ll be a breeze despite the car’s livable shortcomings in the Suburban Errand Run GP. But can I fill in the shoes this car needs to topple my buddy’s lap records and move up a couple classes at HPDE days? There’s only one way to find out. But before then, there are those inherent oiling gremlins I must keep at bay first. Because #justsubiethings, apparently.

Ford Mustang GT, Veloster N, V6 Mustang Subaru BRZ
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

read more
2025 Mustang GTD reveal crowd perspective
Features

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.

Skip to section:

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

Dimensions

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)

Stats

  • 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.”

“Huh?”

Ford.”

“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. 

FAQs

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.

read more