Ford’s Dark Horse Mustang 2023

dark horse mustang 2023

Ford recently unveiled its latest Mustang special edition. Called Dark Horse, it features a powerful Coyote V8 engine and track-ready specs. It will compete with other high-performance Mustangs, including Shelby models.

Those with a big fat wallet can purchase one later this year. The car will have a starting price of $60,865, including a $1,595 destination charge.

This is the highest of the top trim levels on the seventh-generation Mustang, which means it gets the most aggressive and high-performance goodies. The standard Coyote engine is rated for 500 horsepower and 418 pound-feet of torque. That’s a big boost in power over the Mach 1’s 470 horses and 420 lb-ft of twist.

To make the most of all that power, Dark Horse buyers get a race-inspired intake system and GT500 connecting rods. They can choose a manual transmission or the 10-speed automatic, and both come with rev-matching and no-lift shift features.

The car also gains a unique exterior design, a distinctive front splitter and rear diffuser, plus a carbon fiber rear spoiler. Inside, there’s a Dark Horse-specific instrument cluster and steering wheel, plus unique Blue Ember metallic paint. There’s also the option for Notorious Blue Brembo brake calipers and Grabber Blue accent stitching on the seats and dash.

Ford says the Mustang Dark Horse was designed specifically with a focus on track capability. It uses unique chassis tuning, heavier springs, larger rear sway bars, and a new lightweight strut tower brace to improve handling balance and steering response. A standard MagneRide suspension is complemented by a lighterweight strut tower brace and Torsen limited-slip differential, which help keep the Mustang’s body settled during hard cornering.

Driving the Mustang Dark Horse on the backroads of rural North Carolina — real Mustang country — was great fun. It’s an engaging car that rewards smooth inputs and rewarding the driver with plenty of grip from its Pirelli P Zero Trofeo RS tires. The brakes feel strong and responsive, and the sonorous exhaust note encourages hooliganism.

The test cars we drove were pre-production units, so expect Ford to sharpen up the ride quality and shave off some of the rough edges before it goes on sale. Even still, the Dark Horse is an impressive car for those willing to spend the money.

Ford will offer a special Mustang Challenge series for 2024, which will pit owners of the Mustang Dark Horse and other Mustangs against each other at several of America’s best race tracks. It will feature a mix of 10 to 12 races at different locations, and the winner will be crowned after a full season. Ford will give all Mustang Dark Horse owners a chance to participate in the series, which will run on racing slicks developed by Michelin. This will be a fun way to see what the car is capable of. It’s an opportunity to race against other Mustang fans and prove you have the skills to win.