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Merging The Best Of Old School With Modern Tech

Let’s start this story by pointing out the most exciting feature on the new 2024 Ford Mustang. No, it’s not the continuing availability of the V8 engine and 6-speed manual transmission. It’s not the surprising lack of an electric, or hybrid, version. It’s not even the new automated drift mode, that makes power-sliding the new Mustang easy for novices, nor the large, digital instrument cluster and touchscreen that enable a wide swath of new features and personalization. Yeah, those items are all extremely cool, and will ensure Ford’s iconic performance coupe enjoys ongoing success in today’s market.

So what is the coolest feature on the new 2024 Ford Mustang? The volume knob.

“Did he just say the volume knob?”

Yes, and the reason is simple. The volume knob is like a tiny, 1-inch embodiment of Ford’s overall approach when designing this newest Mustang. At a high level, the seventh-generation Mustang experiences what can only be described as a massive injection of technology. For example, it now features a standard 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster flowing into an optionally available 13.2-inch central touchscreen. The use of ever-larger digital screens is expected in modern cars, and these screens often replace dedicated, conventional controls. This is true in the 2024 Mustang’s case, with its climate controls now residing on a dedicated section of that optional 13.4-inch touchscreen. Yet the traditional volume knob remains…

That’s because Ford knows the traditional volume knob can’t be improved on. It has always been, and will always be, the best interface for quickly and intuitively changing sound output in a vehicle. Automotive critics know this. Consumers know this. And Ford knows this. Because every time it’s been tried — every brand that’s attempted to vanquish the volume knob, has suffered the consequences. The reaction is universal and unwavering: “Where is the volume knob?? Why did they remove that??”

So if Ford knows the value of a volume knob in an increasingly digitized world, does it also know the value of traditional drivetrains in an increasingly electrified world? Looking at the 2024 Ford Mustang’s drivetrain options, the answer is a clear “Yes!” That’s not to say hybrid and electric drivetrains don’t have a role to play in modern cars. But, contrary to popular opinion (and increasing government regulations…) electrification doesn’t have role to play in every modern car. For some cars, and their associated buyers and use cases, traditional internal combustion engines still make the most sense. And the 2024 Mustang is one of them.

This approach has resulted in the world’s most iconic pony car offering a blend of cutting edge technology — where it makes sense — alongside traditional pony car attributes — where it makes sense. Ask Mustang fans, and many/most of them would likely call this the most appealing description of an American performance coupe possible in the modern world. More importantly, the new car’s advanced tech and high level of personalization will appeal to younger enthusiasts, while the traditional drivetrains will maintain the loyalty of longstanding customers.

Ford hasn’t released all the details for the 2024 Mustang, but the automaker has confirmed it will offer updated versions of the 2.3-liter, 4-cylinder turbo engine along with a revised 5.0-liter V8 for “GT” models. Both engines will benefit from improvements to fuel efficiency and performance, with the GT’s V8 featuring a new dual throttle body and air intake system. Expect improved performance and louder intake roar from the V8 as a result. Both engines will be available with Ford’s 10-speed automatic as well as the 6-speed manual transmission offered in the current model. An updated steering system with a quicker ratio should enhance driving dynamics, while larger brakes should improve braking confidence.

That’s the traditional side of the 2024 Mustang, but what role does all this new technology play? It plays numerous roles, manifesting throughout the vehicle in all-new ways. These include the fully customizable gauge cluster and ambient lighting colors, plus more creative implementations like the aforementioned drift mode. Once initiated, drift mode allows drivers to pull the (traditional) emergency brake handle to put the Mustang into automated drifting. We’ve seen this technology before, in Ford’s own Focus RS, but this is its first Mustang implementation. Another cool new feature: the ability to rev the engine, remotely, using the key fob.

The new Mustang also gets a style makeover, with more aggressive body lines and higher quality interior materials. A distinctive grille and hood vent now differentiates the V8 GT from the 2.3-liter. The body lines along the side and rear are stronger, with Ford accurately describing the new Mustang as “chiseled” in comparison to the outgoing model. The interior is similarly updated, not only with the new digital screens but with a flat-bottom steering wheel, revised emergency brake handle, available seatbelt contrast colors, and cool new surface treatments, including laser etching. The new Mustang will be available in 11 exterior colors, with two new colors: Yellow Splash and Vapor Blue.

The 2024 Ford Mustang will arrive next summer, with more details being released over the next 6 months. And you can bet Ford is already working on future configurations of this newest generation. We’re guessing names like “Boss” and “Shelby” and maybe even “Bullitt” are involved.

One version we already know they’re working on is the new Mustang Dark Horse, the first all-new performance iteration of the Ford Mustang in over two decades. Spec details are limited, but we know the V8 engine will make 500 horsepower the Dark Horse will boast revised suspension and braking components. If this new Dark Horse is an early sign of Ford’s treatment for the next-generation Mustang, we approve.

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