2023 Ford Mustang: More V8 power, new tech, due in Australia next year

The first new Ford Mustang in eight years has been unveiled. Although it is based on the same underpinnings as today’s model, the bodywork is new, the cabin tech is upgraded, and the engines have had a power bump. And, for now, there is no electric model in sight.

the 2023 Ford Mustang will keep the V8 dream alive when it goes on sale in the US and Australia next year – and for now, despite widespread industry rumours, there is no sign of an electric version.

The first new Ford Mustang in eight years – since 2015 – was unveiled at the 2022 Detroit motor show overnight.

Australian timing and pricing are yet to be confirmed, but Ford says the new model is due in local showrooms in “late 2023” after it goes on sale in the US in “mid 2023”.

Although the new Ford Mustang is based on the same underpinnings as today’s model – the front and rear windscreens are carry-over – the bodywork is new, the cabin has come in for a major technology update, and the turbo four-cylinder and V8 engines have each had a power boost.

Ford is yet to disclose exact power and torque figures, but the company claims the updated ‘Coyote’ 5.0-litre V8 will deliver the most powerful GT Mustang to date, aided by twin throttle bodies for the first time (one for each bank of the V8).

As with today’s model, six-speed manual and 10-speed automatic transmissions will be offered.

Concerned about the aging population of Ford Mustang fans – and trying to appeal to a new generation of buyers – the US auto giant invited a group of millennial car enthusiasts inside its styling center in Detroit three years ago to sample a range of design directions.

In the end, the group of young car buyers voted for the most dramatic-looking Mustang design rather than some of the more conservative styling themes shown.

Although the front-end appearance of the new Mustang is at a glance similar to today’s model, Ford has moved to a horizontal three-light signature on the brow of each headlight (rather than three diagonally illuminated strakes on the inside edge of today’s model) “to bring some of the tail-light theme to the front of the vehicle”.

For the first time, the turbo four-cylinder and V8 models will have different front fascias, with the GT gaining more bulges in the bumper, and vents in the bonnet to extract hot air from the engine bay.

The most dramatic change to the design is at the rear, with a deep wedge across the boot and tail-light area.

The new cabin carries over the center console lid and elbow rests in the doors, but the rest of the interior has had a major makeover.

The ‘twin-brow’ dashboard (with raised sections in front of the driver and passenger) that has been a theme of Ford Mustangs since 1964 is gone for the seventh-generation model.

In its efforts to appeal to younger buyers, Ford has installed twin horizontal digital display screens that stretch across more than half the dashboard.

The graphics and functionality – which show animations similar to selecting a vehicle on a computer game – are said to be inspired by the gaming community, and offer more personalization than before.

Ford likened the digital display to a “fighter jet” but it is also similar to the screen layout in a Kia Carnival people mover or Hyundai Palisade SUV.

Hyperbole aside, the 12.4-inch instrument screen and 13.2-inch infotainment display – mounted side-by-side but behind one window – can be configured to share information between the two.

An electric park brake switch replaces the old-school park brake lever (which in today’s model is located for left-hand-drive vehicles, even in right-hand-drive examples).

In the US, an optional electric park brake lever – fashioned like a machined aftermarket part – will be available on GT models when combined with a drift mode. This lever and drift mode are yet to be confirmed for Australia.

The brakes are also bigger, measuring 390mm at the front and 355mm at the rear.

The new model promises better braking performance; in addition to the six-piston Brembo calipers up front, the rear discs are now clamped by four-piston Brembo calipers.

In the US, Ford Mustang GT customers will have a choice of four brake caliper colors – blue, red, black and silver – each with a small Mustang logo.

Other highlights of the new car’s chassis (on certain models) include a limited-slip rear differential, MagneRide adaptive suspension, a sports exhaust, and an auxiliary engine oil cooler.

Certain models will also have the option to remotely rev the engine.

While the new Ford Mustang is available with advanced safety aids such as autonomous emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance, speed sign recognition and radar cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, representatives in Detroit said a five-star safety rating was not a target.

As reported by Drive Here, the 2023 Ford Mustang may not earn a five-star safety rating despite the sweeping changes to the vehicle.

The world’s top-selling sports car missed the mark when it was crash-tested in 2017, earning a “poor” two-star score before later earning a three-star rating following an update.

But the new Ford Mustang – which is the same as today’s model under the skin but with new sheetmetal and upgraded engines – may once again miss the mark when it comes to safety.

At a preview of the new Ford Mustang in Detroit, the vehicle engineering manager for the vehicle, Eddie Khan, told Drive: “We did not complete all the testing on that (Euro NCAP or Australasian NCAP) yet, so that is still yet to come.”

When asked if a five-star safety score was a target for the new Ford Mustang, Mr Khan said: “I would not say that our target was Euro NCAP for the five-star (rating).”

Joshua Dowling has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years, spending most of that time working for The Sydney Morning Herald (as motoring editor and one of the early members of the Drive team) and News Corp Australia. He joined CarAdvice / Drive in 2018, and has been a World Car of the Year judge for more than 10 years.

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