What’s Next for the New Mustang? Future Performance Variants

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  • The new Ford Mustang 2024 comes with a more powerful Dark Horse edition with around 500 hp, but we expect more performance models to come in the future.
  • The Shelby GT500 has been at the forefront of the last two generations, so it seems like a good bet that the seventh generation will also receive a Shelby-branded flagship.
  • Bullitt is likely to return, while the Boss 302 nameplate could be brought back for the first time since 2012.

The seventh-generation Ford Mustang has finally arrived packing the familiar 5.0-liter Coyote V-8, and while Ford hasn’t revealed its horsepower figures yet, we expect the 2024 Mustang to boost the 450 horse pony GT model will come out with. Ford has also launched a special performance edition right off the bat, with the Dark Horse taking the 5.0 liter to a projected 500 horsepower and linking the motor to a standard six-speed Tremec manual gearbox. But the Dark Horse won’t be the only high-performance Mustang for this seventh generation, and Ford has a rich history of custom handlebars to use in its latest iteration.

ford mustang shelby gt500 2020

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

Michael Simari|Car and Driver

Odes for Internal Combustion

Ford has confirmed that 2022 will be the final model year for the Shelby GT500, powered by a supercharged Predator 5.2-liter V-8 with 760 horsepower and 625 pound-feet of torque. But since the previous two generations have offered models with the Shelby badge from the factory, we’re sure the GT500 will return, likely pumping more power and looking even wilder than the current chiseled and bent GT500. The next Shelby-branded model could arrive closer to the end of its seventh-generation production life, perhaps as an ode to the internal combustion engine before emission regulations apply to pastures.

Along with the GT500, we expect the lower performance model to be placed between the GT and the Shelby. Mach 1, which adds an extra 20 hp over the 470-hp V-8 GT, will continue through 2023 as the last remaining of the sixth generation. We don’t expect the Mach 1 trim to return anytime soon on the new version, as it has been on hiatus for 17 years before relaunching in 2021.

2024 ford mustang black horse

The new 2024 Mustang Black Horse

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In contrast, the Dark Horse seems to overtake the Mustang in the middle position. We’re also betting on the return of the Bullitt, which has appeared in the last three generations of Mustangs, since 2001. The sixth-generation Bullitt revamped the Coyote’s engine to 480 hp and matched it with an understated look, and the seventh-generation Bullitt would probably ring in at around 500 hp.

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2012 Mustang Boss 302


Is the Boss Coming Back?

We also think the Boss 302 nameplate could be revived. It reappeared in 2012 on a fifth-generation model, producing 32 horsepower more than the GT at the time and featuring a six-speed manual and revised suspension, but also a stripped-down interior. That’s due for a comeback and could act as a more basic model, focusing on tracks under Dark Horse. The Dark Horse nameplate might also spread to the Mustang Mach-E electric crossover, as a move between the 346-hp model and the 480-hp GT.

Time will tell which of our predictions will come true, but for now we’re just happy that America’s iconic V-8 lives on for the next generation.

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