The Ford Mustang made its debut on April 17, 1964 at the New York World’s Fair. I was just over two weeks old, so I guess I can be forgiven for not remembering the event. Even so, the great Wilson Pickett immortalized the Mustang in the song “Mustang Sally.” For those who don’t remember, the song concerned Wilson buying a ’65 Ford Mustang for his girlfriend Sally, and now all she wants to do is “run all over the town.” At least, that’s my understanding of the song. Nevertheless, the Ford Mustang quickly became one of the most iconic sports cars in world automotive history. The great Carroll Shelby, whom we all saw played by Matt Damon in the excellent movie Ford vs. Ferrari, played a major role in improving the Mustang to the point where it is today.
The 2023 Ford Mustang represents the seventh generation of this venerable model, and the flagship of Ford’s exceptional lineup of vehicles. This model is offered with a standard two-door coupe design, with two rows of seats able to accommodate up to four passengers. Ford gives you the choice of a fastback with a hardtop or a convertible on most models.
Four Engine Options To Run All Over the Town
You know when you get behind the wheel of a Ford Mustang, you are going to get the kind of performance you want in a sports car. As Ed Krenz, Ford Mustang chief nameplate engineer, explains, “This is the most athletic and confidence-inspiring Mustang EcoBoost and GT to drive yet.”
The 2.3-liter EcoBoost Turbo I-4 gas engine features twin independent variable cam timing (Ti-VCT). This improves engine efficiency, while the engine’s turbocharger boosts horsepowert. While it may seem odd that a sports car has a four-cylinder engine, don’t let this fool you. The EcoBoost I-4 utilizes direct fuel injection to deliver 310 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque.
If you want a little more speed, you can opt for the available High Performance Package, which will increase the output to an impressive 330 horsepower. It also changes the gear ratio, adds 19-inch wheels with summer performance tires, and active-valve performance exhaust, a front strut tower brace, heavy duty front springs, larger front brakes and radiator, and numerous cosmetic accents to make it stand out. This package isn’t cheap at $6,150, but it adds a whole lot more than an extra 20 horsepower.
Both EcoBoost versions are the model to choose if you are looking for solid fuel economy on your Mustang, as it can get up to 32 miles per gallon in highway driving depending on the transmission and body style you choose. In general, opting for the fastback design with an automatic transmission will provide better fuel economy than manual transmission and a convertible.
Stepping up to the 5.0-liter Coyote V8 is going to give your Mustang more speed and acceleration than the 2.3-liter EcoBoost Turbo I-4. This engine also features the Ti-VCT like the EcoBoost, but uses a combination of port and direct fuel injection. This allows it to capture the benefits of both types of fuel injection systems. The Mustang GT models will deliver 450 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque. This will give you up to 24 miles per gallon in highway driving, and 15 in the city.
Similar to the EcoBoost High Performance Package, the Mustang Mach 1 gives you even greater output, 470 horsepower with the same 410 lb-ft of torque. As a result, your 2023 Mustang Mach 1 can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in about 4.5 seconds, with a blistering top speed of 168 miles per hour. However, this boost in performance comes at the expense of fuel economy, 23 miles per gallon in highway driving and 15 in the city with the automatic transmission, and one mile per gallon less with the manual. The Mach 1 also adds a 12-inch LCD digital instrument cluster, a rear spoiler unique to the Mach 1, an Open Air Induction System, and unique Mach 1 graphics.
Two Exceptional Transmissions
Ford offers drivers a choice of two different transmissions on the 2023 Ford Mustang. The six-speed manual transmission comes standard on all models. This has been designed to give you short shifter throws, making it generally easier to handle. The Mustang GT model features rev matching, while the Mustang Mach 1 has an upgraded TREMEC six-speed manual transmission, also with rev matching.
For folks who prefer an automatic transmission, there is an available ten-speed SelectShift automatic transmission. Ford has designed this to provide a wide-ratio span and optimized gear spacing. This will allow you to maximize each gear before shifting into the next gear. It is more responsive during acceleration, so you won’t have those clunky gear shifts that sometimes occur with an automatic transmission on a sports car.
There are also six available drive modes on the 2023 Ford Mustang GT and EcoBoost, which are standard on the Mustang Mach 1. These include Normal, Sport for added speed, Slippery for inclement weather, Drag for quick acceleration, and Track for maximum performance. The sixth mode is customizable, allowing you to set it the way you like. As Ed Krenz points out, “Whether driving an automatic or manual transmission, thanks to drive modes combined with fine-tuned digital engine, suspension, and steering controls, we’re now able to give drivers peak performance everywhere, from their favorite roads to their local track.” The key to the 2023 Mustang is the ability to deliver exceptional performance no matter which model, design type, and engine you opt for.
Ford even offers an optional Performance Pack with the Mustang EcoBoost and GT models. This adds a number of performance oriented features that include a Torsen Limited Slip differential, MagnaRide Damping System active suspension for a more balanced and comfortable ride, a front Strut Tower Brace, wider wheels and tires to improve braking, acceleration, and handling, and a set of Brembo brakes. Most of these features come standard on the 2023 Mustang Mach 1 model.
Guess You Better Slow That Mustang Down
For those with a need for speed who also want a sports car they can afford, it is truly hard to top the 2023 Ford Mustang. Ford gives you a choice between four different engine configurations, two of which are based on the Coyote V8. You also get to choose between a six-speed manual transmission and a ten-speed automatic transmission, as well as a fastback and a convertible on the Mustang EcoBoost and GT models. No matter what you choose, you will get the kind of performance that has become synonymous with Mustang since those first ones hit the road back in the heady days of the mid-60s.
As Ford gets ready to celebrate 60 years of Mustang, it’s great to know that the seventh generation of this phenomenal sports car is now available. While Wilson Pickett will find it harder than ever to slow down Mustang Sally, you know that Carroll Shelby would be proud of the direction Ford has taken with the Mustang, getting the most out of its four different engines and two transmission choices.