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The new 7th generation Ford Mustang is already making waves, the car had just enough tweaking over the 6th generation to make it better, but not so much that the essence of Mustang is messed with. This time round, for the first time in 21 years Ford introduced a new official Mustang performance model called the Dark Horse. What makes this Mustang more special is not that it has a healthy amount of horsepower on tap, making silly power from a Mustang is not rocket science. It’s the handling that has been fiddled with a lot more than ever before, something a Mustang has needed for years. All of those memes about Mustangs taking out crowds didn’t come from nowhere. Sure, a lot of that carnage is also down to drivers who run out of talent, but if a different car was used for the shenanigans who knows how many bystanders, pavements and trees would have avoided contact with the rear quarter of a Mustang? So the intention behind the Mustang Dark Horse was to improve handling dynamics as much as possible so that the car can be better kept pointing in the direction the driver chooses and to allow the car to be better employed as a weekend track day toy. There’s even an optional Handling Package available for the Dark Horse that tightens things up even more to make circuit driving even more composed at high speed. “For decades, Mustang has competed against the most premium brands on the greatest world stages and won. We surprised everyone, and we’re going to surprise them again with a track-capable Mustang that puts a new level of performance, styling and American engineering in the hands of everyday customers who still want the thrill and excitement of a V8 sports car,” said Jim Farley, CEO of Ford Motor Company.

The Ford Mustang Dark Horse is one properly powerful car from the factory, it makes use of that now iconic 5.0 V8 Coyote powerplant that’s rated at 500 hp (373 kW) and unlike all the way most other sportscars are going these days, it can be had with a perfect ratio’d 6-speed manual transmission to keep it as much of a driver’s car as possible. For those that are lazier, there is an optional 10-speed auto transmission available. “It’s more than a new name. Dark Horse brings a new design language to Mustang that is refined yet perfectly suited to its dual purpose of street and track performance,” said Joel Piaskowski, global director of Ford Design. “The visual changes, both inside and out, message that Dark Horse has a directed performance focus. The mechanical changes reinforce the purpose of Dark Horse, providing the driver with increased confidence and competence.” None of this is new information though, all that’s left is to verify that all the things added to the Mustang that make it special actually translate to the real world. This is where Thomas and James from Throttle House come into the picture. They got hold of one to put through its paces to see if the car and all the changes hold up to all the hype. To give the testing a bit more meat, the Dark Horse was compared to the 2023 Chevrolet Camaro LT1 and the 2023 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack 392 Widebody. To be fair, none of these cars are known for their handling prowess, so it’s a pretty good set of cars to test. We do want to see a future test with the American car up against an equivalent German sports saloon.

Take a look at the YouTube video that compares the apparent best Mustang ever made, the Dark Horse, to a couple of other modern muscle cars to see if all the changes to the underpinnings have done what they were meant to do and afford the car brilliant handling and if the car lives up to the hype: 2024 Mustang Dark Horse // V8 DRAG RACE, Review & Lap Time | Throttle House

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