The mid life cycle refresh for the anniversary (50 years) generation of the Ford Mustang has gone official, with the main differences being the added power, better looks, scraped base V6 and the introduction of the ten speed auto gearbox.
The ten speed automatic is joined on the optional list by three new body shades as well as no less than ten new wheel styles – and oddly enough the Blue Oval has waited this long to present the car during the ongoing 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The Mustang is today an international hit so 148 countries are getting the refreshed model, which as always has been developed and tested at the Ford Performance Development Center in Dearborn, Michigan. First things first – muscle car aficionados only look at the 5.0-liter V8 so let’s start with this one. It has been updated with new port fuel injection in addition to direct injection (just like on the F-150) and the compression rate has gone up from 11:1 to 12:1. Ford has not yet announced the specific details, but the changes should yield a new redline, increased power and also better fuel economy.
Ford has also remained mysterious on the turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine which gains more torque and better acceleration at full throttle – but we do know the former base naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V6 is now gone. More importantly, there’s a new ten-speed automatic transmission for both engines, the one cross-developed with GM and in use on the F-150 and the Camaro ZL1. Even the standard six-speed manual transmission gets an update – twin-disc clutch and a dual-mass flywheel, so it will handle even more torque. The Performance Package gains the MagneRide damping system from the GT350 and there’s also underbody cladding for better aerodynamics. Getting the GT Performance Pack will also deliver all-new Michelin Pilot Super Sport 4 tires with 255/275 section front and back.
The 2018 Mustang is also a solution for the younger, technology oriented buyer – there’s now a customizable 12-inch LCD instrument cluster, though it’s optional for now. Additional features include a heated steering, as well as a slew of active safety and driver assist technologies such as Pre-Collision Assist with pedestrian detection, distance alert, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and Driver Alert System. There are also new materials inside, but let’s also talk about the exterior a little. First off, there’s a new active valve performance exhaust system, but also a leading edge of the hood that drops 0.8 inches (20 millimeters), new hood vents and new pony grille, and there’s also a modified bumper treatment. At the back the tri-bar rear lamps now make up a C-shape, and now front and rear lamps are in full LED. The three new colors are Kona Blue paint (which is actually reappearing), Orange Fury and Royal Crimson.