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HomeWest Palm Beach, FLFord Mustang Dark Horse is a Thrill Ride

Ford Mustang Dark Horse is a Thrill Ride

The brand-new Mustang Dark Horse
The brand-new Mustang Dark Horse.

Lord Vader, your Mustang awaits. This brand-new Mustang Dark Horse—love the name—is ready to transport you to the dark side faster than the Millennium Falcon can go into hyperdrive.

Behold the most-potent production Mustang you can buy, a thundering 500-horsepower rolling light saber that will put The Force at your fingertips. Or at least under your right foot.

But first a huge round of applause for the Ford Motor Company and its CEO, Jim Farley.

The Dark Horse makeover also includes a black gloss lower front bumper and enlarged “nostrils” on the hood
The Dark Horse makeover boasts a black gloss lower front bumper and enlarged “nostrils” on the hood.

Just when Chevrolet is ending production of its rival Camaro, and Dodge has already ceased building the Challenger, Farley is continuing to carry the torch for the big ol’ V8-powered, two-door American muscle car by introducing this new, ripsnorting flagship Mustang.

And snort it does. Tap the button to activate Track Mode, stand on the throttle, and as the tach needle hits the 7,500 RPM rev-limiter, the sound is like Krakatoa erupting. Or AC/DC hitting the high notes in “Highway to Hell.”

Want to be the headliner at your local Saturday morning cars and coffee meet-up? This is your dream ride.

The Mustang's Dark Matter Gray metallic paint is accompanied by matching dark gray 19-inch 10-spoke alloys with black-painted Brembo brake calipers.
The Mustang’s Dark Matter Gray metallic paint is accompanied by matching dark gray 19-inch 10-spoke alloys with black-painted Brembo brake calipers.

Here is a car that’s all about old-school fun. It’s the Fonz in Happy Days cruising to the drive-in, it’s Richard Dreyfuss’ Curt in American Graffiti, and Tony Danza’s Duke in The Hollywood Knights all rolled into one. It’s essentially a turn-key custom hot rod you can buy straight off the showroom floor.

Of course, the main attraction is the dark pony’s 5.0-liter naturally-aspirated Coyote V8 that’s tuned to 500 horseys and a stump-pulling 418 pound-foot of torque. That, and the active exhaust designed to wake-up the dead.

The V8 is mated to either a Tremec six-speed stick or Ford’s swift-shifting 10-speed automatic. With either one, you’ll rocket from standstill to 60 miles per hour in a zippy 4.1 seconds. Flat out, you’ll see 160.

The Mustang Dark Horse's 5.0-liter naturally-aspirated Coyote V8 turns out 500 horseys and 418 pound-foot of torque
The Mustang Dark Horse’s 5.0-liter naturally-aspirated Coyote V8 turns out 500 horseys and 418 pound-foot of torque.

Our test car certainly looked the part of a dark horse with its stealthy Dark Matter Gray metallic paint and matching dark gray 19-inch 10-spoke alloys with black-painted Brembo brake calipers.

The Dark Horse makeover also includes a black gloss lower front bumper, enlarged “nostrils” on the hood, black side skirts, and a look-at-me rear wing. Love all the stealthy-black Dark Horse badges too.

Inside, you’ll find a pair of body-hugging Recaro bucket seats with black suede inserts and Indigo Blue side bolsters. They hold you in place like a hug from Hulk Hogan.

Mustang’s 12.4-inch LCD digital display and 13.2-inch center stack touchscreen
The 12.4-inch LCD digital display and 13.2-inch center stack touchscreen.

You also get the latest Mustang’s 12.4-inch LCD digital display and 13.2-inch center stack touchscreen, which gives the dash a much more modern look. Nice-looking flat bottom steering wheel, too.

Fire-up that big Coyote V8, ease the stubby shifter into “drive,” stomp on the throttle, and feel the force. Yes, a four-second blast to 60 miles per hour is slingshot fast, but not insanely so in these days of Tesla Model S and Lucid Air EVs.

No, the wonderment here is in the theatrics. For lovers of V8 muscle, the soundtrack is nothing less than a symphony of rumble and roar accompanied with the occasional hooligan display of billowing tire smoke.

Recaro bucket seats with black suede inserts and Indigo Blue side bolsters
Recaro bucket seats with black suede inserts and Indigo Blue side bolsters.

But this is no old-school, point-and-shoot speed machine that goes all wobbly at the first glimpse of a curve. Beneath all this Darth Vader bodywork is one highly capable track star.

With sticky Pirelli P-Zero rubber at each corner, a Torsen limited-slip rear axle, and MagneRide damping, the Dark Horse can carve curves like it’s running on invisible rails. This is, without a doubt, the most agile, most nimble Mustang ever.

And the beauty here is that the suspension soaks up lumps and bumps making the car extremely capable as a comfortable daily driver.

The Dark Horse makeover boasts a look-at-me rear wing
The Dark Horse makeover boasts a look-at-me rear wing.

Pricewise, you’ll pay $60,530 for a standard Dark Horse, or $64,525 for the fancier Dark Horse Premium. Considering it suddenly has no real rivals, it makes the car something of a performance bargain.

As for taking you over to the dark side? Priceless.

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