DETROIT — The 2024 Ford Mustang arrives early next summer, but Ford isn’t waiting for next year to take the wraps off.

Ford has created a Ford Newsroom in an effort to control the 2022 North American International Auto Show/Detroit Auto Show news cycles. “stampede”There are many Mustang owners who are visiting the Motor City. That’s ahead of a prime-time unveiling in downtown Detroit.

I should point out, for the sake of context, that as important as the reveal of any new Mustang is, it is not hard for Ford to own the news this year, since there isn’t much else going on. Unless you are interested in hot-rod Tahoes or special-edition Jeeps.

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(Full disclosure: Ford covered my lodging costs and fed me – and one of those dinners happened to be at the Detroit Tigers game – and allowed me to see the new Mustang up close and personal more than 24 hours before the public could. There was no need to fly, as Detroit is only a short drive from my Chicago home.

Ford didn’t change the Mustang’s long hood, short deck swoopy coupe shape but it did give the car new duds. The changes are more on the evolution than the revolution end of the scale – you’ll instantly mark the new car as a Mustang, and you’ll also note that it’s different than the current car thanks to features like new taillights.

It’s an edgier, angular design. Ford claims that the roof allows for easy access when wearing a helmet on track days. The grille is meant to evoke the first-gen car, and the LED headlights use a tri-bar design that’s recognizably Mustang. Rear overhang is reduced, rear wheel wells are widened, and rear diffuser is re-done. This is done to improve aerodynamics.

You have two model choices, based on engine – the 2.3-liter EcoBoost remains, as does the venerable GT, complete with the 5.0-liter Coyote V8. GTs have larger, aggressive grille openings that increase airflow and new hood vents. The front splitter has also been redesigned.

You can still opt to drop the top – convertibles have one-touch operation and are loosened via a single latch. Ford claims that the convertible can hold up to two golf bags.

There are 11 colors available, including a Vapor Blue color which changes its shades under certain lighting conditions and Yellow Splash. You can also add stripes. For your Brembo brakes calipers, you can choose from black, yellow, and Grabber Blue paint options. Base cars have wheels that measure 17 inches, while GTs have wheels that measure 19 inches. There are also 20s for GTs.

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The Bronze Series Design Package adds Sinister Bronze alloy wheels, bronze badges, and is also available. You can get it on either version of the Mustang – including if you also opt for the Performance Pack.

Inside, it’s screen city. Base cars have two separate digital screens using the Unreal Engine 3D tool, which is used in video games to display instruments and center-stack informationtainment. Upper trims get two screens that can be integrated together. You can set the gauges and information on the infotainment screen to suit your driving style. “calm”This screen simplifies information. There’s even a setting that brings up gauges that look like those from the old Fox Bodies of the ‘80s – including the green glow at night.

HVAC controls are now screen-based. A volume knob remains. The steering wheel is now thicker and flat-bottomed. There are fewer buttons.

You can choose from overhead USB ports to charge GoPros, wireless charging, B&O audio and Amazon Alexa live streaming. Android Auto is also available. You can color coordinate your seat belts.

Ford was mum on specs, but there is big news for the V8 – it gets a dual-induction air-intake setup. That’s right: Dual throttle bodies and dual air intakes. The six-speed manual transmission is still available, as well as the 10-speed automatic. The EcoBoost still features a 2.3-liter turbocharged fourcylinder. Ford also claims that the car will provide more downforce.

Six drive modes are available: Normal to Sport, Track, Slippery to Drag, and a customizable one. An optional Performance Pack adds a front tower brace, Torsen limited-slip differential, optional MagneRide active suspension, wider wheels and tires, and larger Brembos – sized at 390 MM up front and 355 in the rear. This pack includes brake ducts as well as an auxiliary engine oil cooler for GTs. This package also includes a recaros and an activate exhaust.

Ford has increased steering ratio. GTs with a stick have standard rev matching.

An available Performance Electronic Parking Brake lets you drift if drifting is your thing ‘Stang, with settings that help the novice drifter learn and the experts compete. You can also rev a running engine via the key fob. Yes, I see you rolling your eyes, you in the back.

Available advanced driving-aid systems include speed-sign recognition, smart adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, lane-centering assist, evasive steer assist, and reverse brake assist. The Performance Pack comes with Ford’s Active Pothole Mitigation system.

UPDATE: Ford surprised our team with a Dark Horse version. This track-focused car will feature a 5.0-liter V8, 500+ HP, an available Handling package, a standard 6-speed manual transmission or a 10-speed automatic transmission.

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You will also find unique chassis tuning, larger rear stabilizer bars, and heavy duty front shocks. A strut-tower brace will be included, as well as a K-brace. There will also be 19-inch Brembo front brakes with 13.9 inch rotors and Torsen limited slip. The tires will be Pirelli P Zero with width staggered from front to back. The tires measure 19 inches.

MagneRide shocks standard are available, and the Handling Package adds a rear-wing with a Gurney flap. The car also has larger sway bars at the front and rear, stiffer springs, Pirelli Trofeo tires, and stiffer springs. There are carbon-fiber wheels available.

The styling is more. “sinister”Look and the cabin will be upgraded according to your vehicle.

We were also told that the GT would have 480+ horsepower.

Stay tuned for more updates and photos.

MORE UPDATES Below are some pictures from Ford and the event.

TTAC’s Take

Here’s my quick take on the Mustang, with the obvious caveat that I have yet to drive it.

The Good

Although it sounds corny and cheesy the drift-assist brake could be a great way to have endless fun. The customizable screens look great in the mockups that we saw. Not to mention that Ford is after my own heart – I once owned a Fox body and seeing those gauges mocked up took me back. The new gauges aren’t dead-on accurate – only the speedo and tach truly look like what the Fox had – but the green glow was cool and it was thoughtful of Ford to include this touch. You might also be able to digitally model other Mustang gauges.

I think the dual-induction system will bring more power to V8 and make the car sound amazing. I’m glad Ford kept the volume knob and a few other key buttons.

The Bad

I don’t get why the base car screens can’t be fused together like on the upper trims. And while the two screens on the upper trims are technically integrated into each other, they aren’t that well integrated into the dash. Ford is trying to attract Millennials and Gen Z, but I worry about Ford using words like “gamification” – never mind that most well-optioned Mustangs, especially GT models, are generally too costly for most younger folks. While pricing hasn’t been announced, the car won’t get cheaper.

Even the existence of the driftstick seems like a late nod to the fact that it exists. Fast and Furious franchise.

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Finally, the car’s overall look feels, well, too subtle a change. Will people who don’t know a clutch from a compressor know the difference between generations? The good news is that the design is attractive, but then, so is the current car’s styling.

The Takeaway

I found myself thinking about Nissan’s “new” Z – that car looks significantly different while rolling on a platform that’s mostly the same as before. Like that car, Mustang has been reskinned with old bones. Mechanical changes can be subtle. Despite the relative lack in change, the newest Z was enjoyable to drive.

That might be the case here – and in the end, if the car is fun to drive with improved road manners for the daily commute, I think most drivers will be satisfied. The current car, especially in high-performance trim, is a great track star. It could be even more performance-oriented if it isn’t as punishing as it is now, and if convertibles get rid the dang cowl shake,

That said, Ford’s message to us was that Mustang customers are a “mindset, not a demo.”The new Ford car is sure to keep most of the current buyers happy. Some might be apprehensive about the interior or the more masculine lines, but most people will feel at home in the seventh-generation car. The question is: Will Ford bring in more buyers?

That’s if it even needs to – the Camaro is a ghost and the Dodges are going EV. This Mustang may be the last internal-combustion Mustang. I asked Ford about electrification plans – hybrid or full EV – and was brushed off politely, as we always are when we inquire about future products. But either way, the Mustang doesn’t have much competition.

Complacency can be caused by a lack of competition. Not always. The seventh-gen Mustang leaves me with mixed feelings. I’m not bowled over by the styling, inside or out, but I like screens that look cool and provide lots of info (even though I simultaneously mourn the loss of stylish retro gauges). Most importantly, I don’t see anything to suggest that the car will be more difficult to drive than the one it replaces.

One thing is all that matters. Let’s hope the next ‘Stang continues to have it where it counts.

[Images: Ford, © 2022 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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