Ford Motor Co. hopes to attract a new generation of Mustang enthusiasts with some key attributes exclusive to a new version of the quintessential pony car.
The Mustang Dark Horse, which starts at $60,865, won’t be available at dealers until later this summer, but auto show visitors have already been getting a look at it.
The vehicle has an aggressive, track-focused look and style both inside and outside. Exclusive to Dark Horse, cooler shades of blue are appointed throughout, featuring Indigo Blue interior accents, a signature anodized blue titanium shift knob with the manual transmission and available Blue Ember metallic paint.
The are two features that are only available on the Dark Horse, the drift brake and remote rev. The remote rev is only available on an automatic, not a manual.
“Both [features] are really targeted at what I’ll call the next generation of enthusiast,” says Laurie Transou, Ford’s chief engineer for the Mustang. “So we’re trying to get our younger generation to love Mustang as much as my generation.”
The essence of Mustang hinges on three elements, she says.
“One is really distinctive exterior styling,” Transou tells Marketing Daily. “So you’ll notice the exterior styling and all of the Mustangs are kind of tied to our heritage, but also offering something new. This vehicle is much more edgy, I’ll call it fresh looking, but yet it has views from the 1960s Mustang. We always try to do that.”
The second is performance, she says. With every new Mustang, Ford tries to amp up the performance. The Dark Horse has the most horsepower ever in a Mustang, at 500 hp.
“And then the last thing we always try to lean into is fun,” Transou says. “People buy these vehicles because they're fun. So when we were thinking about who is our target customer, what can we do to appeal to that customer, we thought about what would be fun, and drift brake would be fun.”
Ford partnered with Vaughn Gittin Jr., a Formula Drift champion who helped develop the drift brake.
“You basically pull up on it and it allows your whole vehicle to kind of shift and allows it to drift,” Transou says. “It’s really intended for the novice -- you can learn how to drift by using it."
Remote rev is the other smile-worthy new feature, she says.
“You can be outside your vehicle, and if you turn your engine on -- let’s say you’re at ‘Cars and Coffee’ or whatever -- and you’re down the way a bit and someone’s looking at your car, you can do a sequence of buttons on your key fob and it revs your engine and then you do it again,” Transou says. “And it does a triple rev, like really loud. So I like to say ‘Cars and Coffee’ will never be the same again because of remote rev.”
Another feature geared toward Gen Z and Millennial drivers is a new screen design that allows for such customizations as choosing the primary and secondary colors on displays and ambient lighting.
“One of the things Ford did with the screens is, they used Epic Games’ Unreal Engine for high-definition 3D graphics which is used for video gaming,” Transou says. “My kids [who are in their 20s] who are into gaming would totally be like, ‘Oh, it’s Unreal Engine,’ to them it’s a big deal. So again, trying to, you know, find a way to hook that customer.”