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A red 2024 Chevy Corvette Stingray Z51 driving down a track at night.

Corvette Stingray vs Mustang Dark Horse: Which Sports Car Is Worth It?

American-made sports cars seem to be rare breeds these days, as a lot of them are being phased out for alternative fuel vehicles. Heck, even the Corvette and Mustang––which are now the last remaining American-made V8 sports cars––have alternative-fuel models available. But if you haven’t been convinced to give up on the sacred internal combustion engine and the holy church of the V8, should you be paying a visit to a Chevy dealer for a 2024 Corvette Stingray or heading to a Ford outlet for a 2024 Mustang?

Historically, the Mustang and the Corvette compete in two entirely different segments, but with the shrinking number of sports cars, more drivers are cross-shopping the two. This is especially true with the new Mustang Dark Horse variant, which is designed to give you the sort of track-ready performance needed to go head-to-head with a vehicle like the Corvette Stingray. The question becomes, did Ford do enough to make the Mustang Dark Horse a real competitor to the iconic Chevy Corvette? If you could choose between one of the last remaining American-made V8 sports cars, which one would you go for?

What Is the Mustang Dark Horse?

While Chevy and Dodge were ducking out of the V8 muscle car segment, Ford decided to go all-in with a very aggressive, very powerful, very performance-driven Mustang in the form of the Dark Horse. This trim replaces the Mach 1 from the outgoing generation and does so with plenty of updates and upgrades, both in terms of appearance and performance. The most obvious change is the upgraded Coyote V8. The naturally aspirated 5.0-liter Coyote returns for the seventh generation Mustang, but it has been upgraded for the Mustang Dark Horse to produce 500 hp and 418 lb-ft of torque.

A Tremec six-speed manual transmission is optional for those who love the feel of classic shifting, while a 10-speed automatic transmission is present for those who would rather let the car do all the heavy lifting. An aggressive aerodynamic design with quad exhaust, a menacing rear diffuser, a decklid spoiler, and Blue Ember Metallic accents help convey the “Dark Horse” element of the new gen Mustang. Standard Brembo brakes can be paired with optional carbon fiber 19-inch wheels to reduce unsprung mass. There are also MagneRide dampers for exceptional ride quality and a Torsen limited-slip rear differential, making the Mustang Dark Horse quite the competitive option compared to other sports cars on the market.

What Does the 2024 Corvette Stingray Offer?

The Corvette Stingray has a lot of awesome features, including a few new updates specific for the 2024 model year, such as a power hood pull-down and HD rearview mirror becoming standard features. Also, being one of the last naturally aspirated V8 sports cars on the market makes the 2024 Corvette Stingray a real catch. The standard Stingray is powered by a 6.2-liter V8 that makes 490 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque, but with the Z51 Performance Package, you can get those numbers up to 495 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. That’s not as much power as the Dark Horse, but the Corvette is roughly 500 lbs lighter and has a mid-engine design. The Stingray is also paired up with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.

You have multiple colors and options to choose from to give the Stingray a track-ready feel, which goes nicely with the variety of wheel options available in different designs and colors. Like the Dark Horse, the Stingray has Brembo brakes on all four corners. The Stingray is also available with Magnetic Selective Ride Control 4.0, featuring electronically controlled active damping. However, while the Dark Horse has a traditional mechanical limited-slip differential, the Stingray offers an electronic limited-slip differential for computer-controlled torque vectoring. You also have a Driver Mode Selector featuring Weather, Tour, Sport, and Track settings, as well as Z Mode and MyMode for custom settings.

A black 2024 Ford Mustang Dark House doing burnouts.

Can the Dark Horse Actually Compete?

Without beating around the bush, the mid-engine 2024 Corvette Stingray boasts a zero to 60 mph time of just 2.9 seconds and top speeds of up to 184 mph on the track. This puts the Stingray in the rarefied air of supercar territory with ease. The 2024 Mustang Dark Horse, even with the finely tuned Coyote V8 at the heart of its performance architecture, can’t quite keep up. However, the Dark Horse still manages an impressive zero to 60 mph time of just 4.1 seconds and has a maximum top speed of 166 mph.

On a pure performance level, the Dark Horse comes up short against the Stingray. Unless it’s tuned to the gills, you won’t be beating a Stingray with a Dark Horse in the quarter-mile run. Obviously, the Corvette has been perfectly engineered to outperform your standard personal luxury car, sports coupe, or pony car like the Mustang; for what it offers, you’re definitely getting more.

Also, it’s important to keep in mind that the Mustang Dark Horse is a two-door that seats four people, whereas you cannot fit four people in the 2024 Stingray. So you’re losing some performance from the Mustang Dark Horse compared to the Corvette Stingray, but you are gaining more in terms of passenger capacity if that’s something that is important to you. But otherwise, the Stingray smashes the Dark Horse in pure performance specs alone.

Is the Stingray Worth the Price Difference?

The Dark Horse is an amazing entry for the Mustang’s seventh generation, and it adds a much-needed spark of interest when it comes to high-end performance. However, with the Stingray outdoing the Dark Horse in the performance arena, you might be saying, “Well, I may as well just go with a 2024 Stingray and call it a day! Why even bother with the Dark Horse?” and you might be right, but there is another thing to consider between the two. Price.

The Dark Horse has a starting MSRP of $59,270, while the Dark Horse Premium has a starting MSRP of $61,865. By comparison, the 2024 Stingray 1LT has a starting MSRP of $66,300, and adding the Z51 Performance Package brings it to $72,645. That’s over $10k more than the Dark Horse Premium. The big question is, is the Stingray worth the premium over the Dark Horse? The Corvette has always carried a higher price tag than the Mustang, but the difference between a top-level Mustang Dark Horse and a base Corvette Stingray is far from prohibitive.


Choosing the Right Sports Car

At the end of the day, it’s your money and your driving preferences that matter. If you are considering a 2024 Mustang Dark Horse, there is a strong argument to spend more for a 2024 Corvette Stingray and enjoy the added performance of an American supercar. With the Camaro and Challenger being out of the picture, your choices are quite limited in regards to American-made V8 sports cars. If you had to choose, then the 2024 Stingray won’t steer you wrong if peak performance is what you’re after. You get a bit more space out of the Dark Horse if that’s a consideration, but if your budget allows you to dip your toe into the prestigious ocean where the supercars congregate, I just don’t see why you wouldn’t go ahead and take the plunge and swim with the Stingray.

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