The Last Muscle Car Standing, the 2024 Ford Mustang, was a six-speed Dark Horse with the $4,500 Handling package and $1,650 Recaro racing buckets. It was a one-hour drive through downtown Detroit that never maxed out the infotainment screen’s g-meter scale, but it gave us a taste of this top-shelf non-Shelby steed: Comfortable for lengthy cruises in Normal mode and firm enough for weekend track days in aggressive mode. Owners may customize this ‘Stang like never before by reading the handbook.

Drive-Mode Differentiation

Normal, Sport, Track, Slippery, and Drag Strip modes are not new, but not all vehicles clearly distinguish them. While repeating multiple runs over the same bumpy piece of pavement for our photographer, we toggled through the modes and observed a noticeable difference in both the Coyote V-8’s bark and our ability to see each road imperfection. Normal was cushy for a sports car, Sport seemed fine for a twisting route, and Track suggested owners would wish to set a special mode with a soft suspension for rough courses like Sebring. This ride was on full-tilt-boogie Pirelli P Zero Trofeo RS tires, not PZ4 all seasons. Our driver said the steering sensation is similar in both settings.

The graphics in the 12.4-inch instrument cluster assigned to each mode are very different, ranging from traditional round gauges (Normal) to curved tach and speedometer gauges arrayed at the lower corners (Sport) to a bold ribbon tachometer across the top above a digital speed and gear-selection reading in Track mode (unless you prefer to mix and match screen layouts). The 13.2-inch main screen has a million pages, including many track data gauges. Programmable ambient lighting and gauge and screen main and secondary colors. ’24 Mustang owners who complain about boredom aren’t trying.

Mode Memory

We confirmed that Dark Horse’s Track mode is retained when shut down, locked, then returned. Restarting in Quiet mode may please your neighbors. The Mustang logo pony button on the lower center console opens much of this programming.

Waking Neighbors

Our driver revved the engine a couple of times with the exhaust on Track mode in one of downtown Detroit’s concrete canyons, attracting attention and perhaps bringing office employees to their windows. Our six-speed manual requires someone to goose the accelerator, but the automatic can be revved from the key fob.

Very animated

The three parts of each headlight and taillamp cluster flash in a coordinated sequence when you approach the automobile. When you get in, the displays zoom in on a Dark Horse logo until you start the car. Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 3D visuals contribute to the video game charm. The main cluster briefly shows a Mustang driving in each drive mode’s surroundings. Touch to rotate any automobile image on the center screen.

Comfort and Convenience

For an hour, the Recaro buckets were comfortable, and even the rear seat was comfortable for our sub-6-foot social-media photo/videographer, though climbing back there is complicated by the lack of a one-touch fold-and-slide mechanism on either seat.

Now Building and Pricing

You can construct and price a 2024 Mustang in any trim now, with order banks opening on the Mustang’s 59th birthday (April 17) for summer delivery. Over-the-air updates will include birthday-present Easter egg elements. On our ride along, we found two Easter eggs: the bottom center “frit line” on the rear window (the black band to which the adhesive bonds the window to the car) has a silhouette of each Mustang generation, and the trunk lid has a larger silhouette of this generation above each taillamp. Stay tuned when we drive it in a few weeks.

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