Just how well does the Mustang Dark Horse perform?
At 500 horsepower, the Dark Horse is obviously no slouch. There’s more to a great performance car than power, though. To properly evaluate the new Mustang flagship, we brought in the big guns. Paul Gerrard, former Stig and long-time racing driver, took the helm to give us his full unfiltered opinion.
Ford brought us to Charlotte, NC where we would have the chance to drive both on and off the track.
Here’s the basic facts you need to know
As most of us have seen by know, the Dark Horse headline feature is its 500-horsepower 5.0 Coyote engine. Ford cranked up the 5.0 by massaging the camshaft, crankshaft and pulling connecting rods from the GT500. That allows the familiar Coyote a 7,500 RPM redline and 418 lb-ft of torque.
Of course Ford offers the 10-speed automatic transmission, but the 6-speed Tremec was our favorite option. Either way the Dark Horse has an engine oil cooler, transmission cooler and even a cooler for the Torsen rear differential. Those plus extra brake cooling make for a car that can run lap after lap.
The Dark Horse goes way beyond powertrain improvements
Ford stiffened the Mustang’s suspension and fitted Magneride shocks to split the difference between street and track drivability. While that does make the car versatile, it also brings compromise into on road comfort and on track stiffness. Paul was most impressed by the dizzying power of the Dark Horse’s Brembo brakes. Our car had the optional handling package that brings even your front tire width to an almost cartoonishly wide 305 Pirelli P Zero.
Other features such as an electric drift brake and optional carbon wheels are just a bonus. Ford also gave the Tremec 6-speed a 3D printed, titanium shift knob and an option for Recaro seats. Driving modes adjust everything from suspension and engine settings to the exhaust volume. Drive modes are selected through the 12.4″ instrument cluster and 13.2″ infotainment screen.
That all sounds great, so what’s the catch?
Well, starting price comes in at $59,565. That’s nearly double the base Mustang’s MSRP. Paul also felt that on track the Dark Horse lacks feeling. The electric power steering, though direct, doesn’t give much sensation. Similarly, the brakes have great power but feel numb. On the street, the car’s ride is fairly stiff even though the adjustable shocks do a lot to make life easier.
That being said, the Mustang Dark Horse puts down great numbers and it sounds phenomenal. To see the Stig in action, check out the track review linked below!