Road & Track’s rendering of what the final S650 might look like.
Road & Track’s rendering of what the final S650 might look like. Image via Road & Track

What the Next Generation Mustang Might Look Like

It’s a great time to be a Mustang enthusiast, as the 60th anniversary is just one and half years away. This also means that the rumor mill is working overtime, with whispers of special editions, anniversary editions, and more running rampant all over the place. The biggest of these rumors, as well as probably the most substantiated with spy shots of test cars, is that the next generation of the Ford Mustang will be released for the 2024 model year, to celebrate that 60th anniversary.

Known as the S650, this Mustang promises, if the rumors are to be believed, to bring a whole slew of updates and changes, including a revised external look, a completely reworked interior, and a wide variety of powertrain options. There are also rumors swirling that one of those powertrain options might include a performance hybrid system, but that one is squarely in the “we’re not entirely sure” category.

Since the next generation of the Mustang is almost here, let’s see what we know for sure, what seem to be solid rumors, and some of the crazier rumors that may or may not happen.

What Do We Already Know about the 7th Gen Mustang?

While there has been no official, proper announcement yet, the new Mustang was originally supposed to have been revealed this year. However, due to production supply issues, as well as the lingering impact of the global pandemic, the only official word at the moment is really only a month and a year: April 2023.

2023-2024 Mustang front fascia
2023-2024 Mustang front fascia. Image courtesy of Ford Authority via CJ Pony Parts

Exterior

While the exterior will not be a radical departure from the current sixth generation Mustang, a new front fascia has been leaked, with the grille flaring outwards towards two new lower bumper intakes much like the current GT500, instead of the current mild trapezoid shape of the standard Mustang.

The headlights have also been reworked, removing the triple slash daytime running lights and single projector headlight in favor of a three projector system. We can only assume this will have the DRL in the outermost position, the headlight in the middle, and the high-beams on the inside, with a turn indicator on the outer edge (all of them very likely to be LED).

The new headlight configuration shines through some camouflage
The new headlight configuration shines through some camouflage. Image via Motor1

Interior

What has definitely been reworked, however, is the 2024 Mustang’s interior. From the spy shot above, the biggest immediate change is the steering wheel gaining a flat bottom (a la Shelby models) for the standard car.

There is also a new instrument cluster design, and there appears to be space up at the top of the dash for a larger infotainment system. It’s hard to tell for that last one due to the amount of camouflage deployed even on the interior, but there is a ridge just over the center vents that looks to be the bottom bezel of a screen.

The new interior
The new interior. Image via FordAuthority

Importantly, there appears to be a new row of either switches or buttons along the climate control area. This is much different from the current “phone dial” style of climate control buttons and suggests that some functions might be moved up to the infotainment system and/or activated by voice command.

Of course, the new Mustang would be running the new Sync 4 system, as its electric cousin, the Mach-E, already uses that to handle all the features and over-the-air updates needed for its electrified platform.

That brings us to the last “all but officially confirmed” aspect of the seventh generation, the standard powertrains. Expect the current 2.3L EcoBoost turbo inline-four and 5.0L Coyote V8 to continue on. They are solid engines, are well catered to in the first- and third-party aftermarket, and have undergone all the requisite testing and modification to make the Mustang able to be exported to markets that require Euro5 emissions certification.

Educated Guesses about the 7th Generation

It needs to be said, and many Mustang purists will either nod sagely or recoil in horror at this, but the Mustang S650 model may have a hybrid powertrain. What we don’t know is where and how that hybrid will be applied. It could be a fuel-efficiency version with the EcoBoost engine, or it could be a performance hybrid with a front axle or dual front-wheel motors, making the Mustang an AWD platform for the first time.

Engines

Another rumor that has a few people excited is that the Mustang will be switching to using the Ford CD6 platform, or a modified version of it. Why this is creating a little noise is that the Ford Explorer, the first vehicle to use CD6, has a 3.0L twin-turbocharged V6 option, producing 400 HP and 415 lbs-ft of torque. This would slot quite neatly into the model range, between the EcoBoost at 310 HP, EcoBoost High-Performance Package at 330 HP, and the Coyote V8 in the GT at 450 HP.

This makes perfect sense, as the original Mustang was revealed on April 17, 1964, at the New York World’s Fair. To reveal the seventh generation 59 years to the day, on April 17, 2023, would work very well for both Ford’s marketing department to whip up excitement over the summer with potential special editions and anniversary editions, as well as to give the production lines enough time to get cars to dealerships for an August 2023 on sale date.

The Ford 3.0L Twin-Turbo V6 in the Explorer Premium
The Ford 3.0L Twin-Turbo V6 in the Explorer Premium. Compact enough that it could realistically be put in the Mustang as a forward mid-mount engine, behind the front axle, for better weight distribution and handling. Image via FordAuthority

There is also the fact that at a press conference for Unifor, the union representing Canadians working at Ford’s Windsor, Ontario plant, the union representative let slip that a 6.8L V8 was slated to start production “in 2022 for the F-150 pickup and the Ford Mustang.” If there is a 6.8L V8 coming to the Mustang in the seventh generation, we can only assume that it would be for a Shelby model, as the current Shelby GT500 is pushing 760 HP from a 5.2L V8.

Anniversary Editions

Something that an educated, but informed, guess is that the seventh generation Mustang might launch with a Mach-1 60th-anniversary edition. Evidence pointing to this is that a Mustang test mule spotted earlier in the year was more heavily camouflaged than the most spotted, and also bore wheels with a spoke design very similar to the current-gen Mach-1.

Seeing as the Coyote V8 is all but confirmed to be continuing on, a 480 or even 500 HP version would make perfect sense as a celebration of 60 years of Mustang.

Much more heavily camouflaged than most test mules, and those wheels are definitely not “normal spec.”
Much more heavily camouflaged than most test mules, and those wheels are definitely not “normal spec.” Also note the dual-caliper brake setup, and the monstrously huge brake disc and the wheel wearing Pirelli P-Zero performance tires. Image via Mustang7G

 

Pricing

Pricing is another area where an educated guess is the best we can do. We would generally expect it to be around the same as current pricing, ie $28,000 to $31,000 for the EcoBoost base model, $37,500 to $42,500 for the GT, and anywhere from $56,000 on upwards for any Mach-1, Bullit, and Shelby models.

Of course, finding a Mustang listed at MSRP is rare indeed, since Ford dealerships know that it is a high demand car and can carry a markup. But Ford HQ has been a bit stricter with price controls as of late due to the introduction of the Mach-E and F-150 Lightning EVs, and wanting a higher adoption rate of those two vehicles.

Way-Out-There Rumors

Unsubstantiated rumors are out there, in the Ford Mustang forums and unofficial blog sites that are speculating everything from the S650 being the last generation of Mustang ever, to thoughts of a Mustang supercar.

An Electric Mustang?

The most credible of these way-out-there rumors, purely from the standpoint of “it actually makes sense” is that the mid-model refresh of the S650 in 2027 or 2028 might include a Mustang GT Electric. By that time, many of the big European and Japanese automakers, as well as GM in the USA, will have more than a few electric cars as their primary vehicles.

For sure Audi and BMW are heading that way, and Honda has made a huge investment into swappable batteries for scooters and motorcycles this year, as well as doubling down on hybrid and electrification projects.

It makes sense because if you think of a performance EV coupe/sedan right now, you have the Audi e-Tron GT, the Tesla Model S, the Porsche Taycan, the BMW i4, and that’s really about it. Most other EVs are either little econoboxes like the Fiat 500-e, or big CUV/SUV models like the Mach-E, Jaguar I Pace, and the Polestar 2.

Having an iconic American muscle car, with appropriately powerful electric motors and decent range, would be a great way to continue the model line and brand as the end of the internal combustion engine creeps ever closer to becoming reality.