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Ford Mustang (2024) in the test: The last of its kind

Ford Mustang (2024) in the test: The last of its kind

The Ford Mustang has been built since 1964. The car is now in its seventh generation. Possibly a final rebellion – because the era of muscle cars is ending inexorably.

Dodge Charger – will soon no longer exist. Challengers? Will be buried soon. Chevrolet Camaro? The last car recently rolled off the assembly line. It’s a swansong for installments, the era of popular muscle cars ends with a sad engine burble.

Only one person is bravely resisting: “We are far from thinking about its end,” explained Amko Leenarts, Ford’s head of design for Europe, at the presentation of the new Ford Mustang. Just in time for the 60th anniversary, the brand is bringing the seventh generation of Mustang onto the streets. On a test drive on the Côte d’Azur the… star convince yourself of the advantages and also the stubbornness of the newest horse in the stable.

Anyone who compares the US version, especially the top model Dark Horse, with the respective EU vehicle will notice a few differences. For example, the US dark horse can boast of 500 hp, while in this country it is “only” 453. The reason: the local emissions standards.

The Dark Horse is a real sports car

The new Ford Mustang will be released in three versions at launch: GT as a fastback (coupe) and convertible and Dark Horse, only as a fastback. Another GTD will follow in 2025. That stands for “GT Daytona,” not “GT Diesel.” A high-performance model is planned, which the manufacturer wants to bring to Europe through individual approval, which means a little “more” of everything is possible. It is not yet clear what exactly this will cost. But it will probably be well into six figures.

A dark horse with a manual transmission and a GT convertible with an automatic transmission were available for the test drive. The star test drove both models.

The manual gearshift in the Dark Horse comes from the Mexican racing specialist Tremec and has very short gearshift travel. The engine works without any additional frills. Sports car feeling, as pure as it gets in current new cars. The chassis is crisp and direct, the Mustang is a real corner robber despite its American soul. However, as soon as the road is a little wetter, you should definitely keep your hands off the traction control. Since the Mustang is of course a rear-wheel drive car, the car tends to break away if there is too much gas and too little assistance. If you don’t get this under control quickly, you’ll get to know the next wall with a bit of bad luck.

Top sound and “American” automatic

The sound of the V8 is still impressive within the limits allowed. The orchestra comes from a flap exhaust system that can be used in various settings – some of which are only available on the race track. It’s actually a little louder – and somewhat surprisingly – with the automatic. If you switch the Mustang manually using the steering wheel paddles, you can squeeze significantly more power out of it than is possible with a manual switch alone. This way you get the maximum engine sound, especially in combination with an open convertible roof.

However, in normal operation you pay for this with a typical American automatic that makes strange decisions, sometimes switches gears at the most inopportune times and is generally a bit doughy. Other manufacturers can do this much better, but it’s enough for cruising.

If anyone is worried about attracting negative attention from the neighbors with the V8: If you close the flaps, you can sneak around in the Mustang in a relaxed manner. However, it always feels like it costs the same: in the test, less than 16 liters per 100 kilometers were not possible. Ford specifies a combined 12 liters – but unfortunately you can hardly drive the car that conservatively.

Average interior, inadequate technology

In terms of driving technology and appearance, the Mustang is a worthy part of its traditional model family. The new front and the revised rear are particularly pleasing. However, the same cannot be said for the interior. Of course, the Mustang is not a luxury car on the level of a Porsche 911, probably because of its price. A lot of plastic, small buttons and a strangely beefy steering wheel with a whole armada of controls are simply part of it.

Opinions differ on the new display combination. Because analog displays are finally a thing of the past, not even the appearance of old-fashioned instruments is preserved. Behind the steering wheel there is a 12.4-inch screen that seamlessly merges into another 13.2-inch display. Of course, you can use it to display the wildest graphics and customize a lot. But for purists of the old school, the sight is initially unusual.

Additionally, the hardware, in this case Ford Sync 4, can be surprisingly slow. This is hardly noticeable in normal operation; the menus and settings can be made largely without delay. But if you connect the phone via the wireless Apple Car Play, which is standard on board, for example, simply skipping songs via Spotify can take a good moment.

The overall impression remains: somehow these modern instruments simply don’t fit into the Ford Mustang. This particularly applies to the numerous “assistants” that Ford had to install because the EU requires it. A speed warning system that activates too much at speeds of 3 km/h may be a requirement, but it seems out of place in a car like this. After all: Unlike Asian manufacturers, the warning tone in the Mustang is so subtle that it tends to be drowned out by the hum of the engine.

You can also switch off the sounds – but you have to do this every time you drive. The law prohibits the car from remembering the driver’s choice. From mid-2026, even this will no longer be allowed, and then manufacturers will no longer be allowed to switch it off at all.

Two further points of criticism should not be missed, even if interested buyers have long known about it and it simply defines the car: The rear row of seats is more of a shelf due to the lack of legroom and the trunk is not worth mentioning. A practical everyday car definitely looks different – ​​surprise.

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Conclusion: Ford Mustang (2024)

So what remains of the test impressions? First of all: The new Ford Mustang is a completely impractical car. But for what it is, it’s also a great car. And it must be recognized that Ford remains prepared to serve a market that is in acute danger of extinction. You don’t get a new car with a naturally aspirated V8 engine very often anymore, and in fact you don’t even get a muscle car anymore.

But competitors Stellantis and GM will know why they have buried their own icons: it still feels somehow daring to be on the road with such a vehicle. But this type of transport is no longer really contemporary. The consumption is astronomical and the soundscape is virtually unsuitable for the city center. The sad truth: Muscle cars are outdated – and Ford just doesn’t want to admit it yet.

If you want to secure yourself a copy before the demise of this era of petrol abundance, the new Mustang would be a hot candidate all in all. The price starts at around 60,000 euros, the Dark Horse model with a manual transmission costs 72,500 euros.

Transparency note: The trip to France to test drive the Mustang was at the invitation of Ford.

Source: Stern

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