2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse Promises Next-Level Track-Ready Performance
Its 5.0-liter Coyote V8 will put out around 500 horsepower.
Andrew KrokReviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Ford loves itself some nostalgia, so it doesn't roll out new-new performance trims very often, instead choosing to rely on that connection to the past. So, when something properly fresh lands in the Mustang lineup, it's kind of a big deal, and the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse fits that bill.
Ford on Wednesday evening introduced the 2024 Mustang Dark Horse. It's the first new performance trim in the Mustang lineup in 21 years, following the introduction of the Mustang Bullitt in 2001. The goal with the Dark Horse was to create a Mustang that wasn't just a beast on the street, but also on the track.
While Ford hasn't yet divulged every one of the Mustang Dark Horse's specs, what we do know looks mighty promising. Under the hood is a modified version of Ford's 5.0-liter Coyote V8, which in the Dark Horse will make an estimated 500 horsepower thanks to additions like the connecting rods from the Shelby GT500. That bolts up to a standard Tremec six-speed manual transmission, but a 10-speed automatic is also available.
Performance is more than just power, though. Standard magnetorheological dampers (MagneRide, in marketing speak) should provide a good balance of ride comfort and capability, while the rear sway bar is a bit larger than on other models. The drivetrain should stay nice and frosty with cooling solutions out the wazoo, including brake cooling ducts, an additional engine oil cooler, a rear axle cooler and a beefier (but also lighter) radiator with stronger fans. 13.9-inch front brake rotors handle stopping duties, and additional bracing should keep the body composed as it works its way around a track.
It wouldn't be a performance car without options packages. The optional Handling Package takes things a step further with the Dark Horse, adding a special rear wing with a Gurney flap, stiffer springs, thicker sway bars and sticky Pirelli Trofeo tires. Carbon-fiber wheels are also available, but they won't be ready right when the Dark Horse launches.
And I haven't even mentioned how the Dark Horse looks yet! As the name suggests, the aesthetic is a bit darker, with smoked headlights, a gloss black grille, special nostrils feeding dual air intakes and a special lower bumper, in addition to more aggressive side skirts, a fixed rear wing, a unique diffuser and darker exhaust tips. There's even a special Dark Horse badge, and it looks pretty badass. A deep Blue Ember metallic paint job is unique to the Dark Horse, as well.
Ford will also launch two Dark Horse variants specifically for track activities. The Mustang Dark Horse S ditches every non-essential part in the car, replacing that stuff with a full FIA-compliant roll cage, safety nets, a racing seat and steering wheel, electrical disconnects, a fire suppression system, Multimatic DSSV dampers and a racing exhaust. and data acquisition. A passenger seat is optional. The Mustang Dark Horse R takes that one step further with unique serialization, a fuel cell and special wheels.
Considering the 2024 Ford Mustang won't be coming out until 2023, it'll likely be a while until Ford is ready to deliver more explicit output numbers, as well as a price tag. But considering just how much has changed under the body, we aren't expecting the Dark Horse to be an inexpensive proposition.