Kyle Johnson
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Yes, Virginia, the Ford Mustang Dark Horse Gets 500 Horsepower

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2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse
Ford confirms 2024 Mustang Dark Horse will hit 500 horsepower
Photo: Ford

Upon revealing the next-generation Mustang in the fall, Ford promised that the newest addition to the corral — the Dark Horse — would offer the most power of any pony powered by the Coyote V8. Did Ford deliver? And how!

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Ford confirmed its original estimates this month, clocking the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse at 500 horsepower and 418 lb-ft of torque. This gives the Dark Horse the distinction of being the most powerful non-Shelby Mustang Ford has ever offered, which is about as good a way to join the family as there is.

How’d Ford get there? A bit of Shelby magic, as it turns out. They took the fourth-generation 5.0-liter V8 and upgraded with it with parts carried over from the 760-horsepower Shelby GT500, including forged piston connecting rods that allow for higher cylinder pressure. Add that to beefed-up camshafts and a rebalanced crankshaft, and you’ve got the mightiest naturally aspirated V8 ever dropped into a Ford Mustang.

Mustang GT V8, EcoBoost get performance boosts

Ford didn’t stop at making the Dark Horse’s V8 ridiculously strong, of course. The new fourth-generation Coyote V8 found in the Mustang GT is more powerful than the outgoing model, putting down 480 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque standard. That means that the 2024 Mustang GT matches the dearly-departed Bullitt and soon-to-be-re-retired Mach 1 in horsepower while offering slightly more torque.  

Ford achieves this sizable uptick in power with a segment-first dual intake and dual throttle body injection, which optimizes induction efficiency by permitting more airflow.

More, you cry? Ford also offers the Mustang GT with an active-valve performance exhaust system that gets it that much closer to the Dark Horse with 486 horsepower and 418 lb-ft of torque.

And the base 2024 Ford Mustang also comes in hot with a 315-horsepower 2.3-liter EcoBoost that leverages new Modular Power Cylinder technology. Ford says that MPC will allow the all-new EcoBoost to top the outgoing base engine in fuel economy despite a five-horsepower increase in output. The EcoBoost will also be available with the active-valve performance exhaust, though Ford didn’t reveal how that would impact output.

The 2024 Ford Mustang arrives nationwide next summer.