July 21, 2024

The Final Hurrah: The 2024 Ford Mustang Marks the End of the V8 Muscle Car Era

Currently, the Ford Mustang stands alone as the final V8-powered muscle car on the market. This is a fitting tribute to its status as the original muscle car, especially since both the Chevrolet Camaro and the new Dodge Charger have moved away from V8 power. The Charger is now offered with either a straight-six engine or electric power. Unless you’re willing to shell out big bucks for a British or German option, the Mustang remains the only choice for those seeking a two-door, V8-powered vehicle.

Full Disclosure: Ford graciously provided me with the opportunity to test drive the new Mustang, dropping it off at my doorstep with a full tank of gas. After a week of exhilarating launches and navigating twisty canyon roads, I can confidently say that, despite its imperfections, this is the best iteration of the Mustang yet.

Image: Lawrence Hodge/Jalopnik

The all-new seventh-generation Mustang, known internally as the S650, represents a significant overhaul of the S550 model that first hit the scene in 2013. While the design changes are more evolutionary than revolutionary, the existing engines have been retuned for improved performance. The EcoBoost Mustang variants continue to draw power from a turbocharged 2.3-liter inline-4 engine, now generating 315 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. However, the standout choice remains the V8-powered GT, which is the model I had the pleasure of testing.

2024 Ford Mustang GT engine bay

Photo: Lawrence Hodge/Jalopnik

The 5.0-liter Coyote V8 engine from Ford now churns out an impressive 486 hp and 418 lb-ft of torque, representing a significant boost of 36 hp and 8 lb-ft over its predecessor in the S550 lineup. This marks the highest power output ever seen in a Mustang GT. For those craving even more power, the new Dark Horse variant is the go-to option. Both engine choices can be paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or a 10-speed automatic, with the latter being the transmission in my test vehicle.

However, the pricetag attached to all this performance is something to consider. The base price for the 2024 Mustang GT starts at $43,555, a slight increase from previous models, but costs can escalate quickly with added options. In the case of my test vehicle, which included a $1,000 premium for the Yellow Splash Metallic paint, $1,595 for the 10-speed automatic transmission, a $5,000 Performance Package, and a $2,900 High Equipment Group package, the final price soared to a whopping $65,270.

2024 Ford Mustang GT Cold Start

For many, the price will be justified by the sheer joy of hearing the magnificent exhaust note upon startup. And rest assured, there’s more than just sound to back up the performance claims. Utilizing the on-board timer and launch control mode, I was able to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than four seconds.

While every new Mustang GT offers impressive speed, opting for the Performance Package elevates the driving experience. This package includes 19-inch wheels wrapped in summer tires, reinforced front springs, a K-brace and strut tower brace, a larger rear sway bar, a 3.55 axle ratio, a taller rear spoiler, and specialized tuning for the chassis, stability control, and ABS systems.

2024 Ford Mustang GT

Image: Lawrence Hodge/Jalopnik

The handling dynamics of the Mustang are top-notch. It remains stable and composed even when pushed hard into corners, thanks in part to the Magnaride suspension system that adapts to driving inputs and selected driving modes. Small details like a traditional mechanical e-brake with a handle and an active valve exhaust system further enhance the driving experience. However, the steering feel falls short, lacking in feedback and responsiveness. Regardless of the selected drive mode—be it Sport, Sport+, or Track—the steering weight is the only aspect that changes, leaving much to be desired in terms of driver engagement.

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