Ford has unveiled its 2018 Ford Mustang overnight, the first substantial (and somewhat early) facelift for the hugely popular performance coupe and convertible.
Despite only having gone on sale in its home market of the USA in mid-2014, the now 2.5 year-old Mustang has already been made a visit to Ford’s plastic surgeons.
The result is an extensive rework of the Mustang’s nose, with new headlamps, LED daytime running lamps, front quarter panels and bumper moulding. The upper grille retains its shape, but that’s about the only carry-over element of the 2018 Mustang’s snout.
At the rear, the current Mustang’s body-coloured under-bumper ‘diffuser’ has been deleted, along with the circular surround for the GT badge of V8-engined models.
Tail lamp lenses sport a curvier shape and the panel between them gains a horizontal crease, while a bootlid wing becomes optional.
Interior materials have been replaced by higher-quality plastics (addressing a common criticism of the sixth-gen Mustang) with more soft-touch surfaces, though the design of the centre stack appears to carry over.
The instrument panel, however, is entirely new. A full-colour 12-inch electronic display replaces the traditional analogue dials, with US-market versions even sporting a drag-strip style ‘Christmas tree’ display to count you down to launch.
There are bigger developments under the bonnet. For starters, the V6 powertrain that formed the entry point to the US range (but was never offered here) has been ditched, with the 2.3-litre turbo inline four becoming the new base model motor.
Ford has yet to reveal power figures for the Mustang update, but says tweaks to engine management will allow for what it calls ‘transient overboost’ to temporarily increase the amount of air entering the engine for more power.
Currently making 233kW and 432Nm, the Mustang’s four-pot motor could make as much as 257kW and 440Nm – the same output as the Focus RS, which uses a similar 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine.
The flagship V8 engine of the Mustang GT gets more extensive upgrades courtesy of a dual-injection system that combines port- and direct-injection technology, plus an increase in compression ratio from 11:1 to 12:1. An active exhaust also becomes optional for the V8, producing a deeper eight-cylinder rumble.
The Ford Mustang GT presently generates a stout 306kW of power and 530Nm of torque. Expect more for the 2018 version.
Manual-equipped Mustangs gain a twin-plate clutch and dual-mass flywheel for the standard six-speed, while the current model’s six-speed automatic transmission gets turfed in favour of a more sophisticated ten-speed auto.
Suspension hardware is updated through revised dampers and rear suspension geometry, and 2018 Mustangs will also be available with self-adjusting magnetorheological dampers (similar to those on the top-tier, US-only Shelby GT350 Mustang) as an option.
Interested? Unfortunately you’ll be in for a wait: left-hand drive production for the Mustang’s primary market of North America will take precedence over right-hook models, and the local arrival of the Ford’s facelifted Mustang isn’t expected to happen this year.
Expect to see it sometime in the first half of 2018.
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