There are two V8-powered Ford Mustang variants available for 2024. The iconic GT and the new, more powerful Dark Horse lead the stable. Soon, aftermarket specialists and tuners will be cranking out pepped-up versions of both, including Hennessey, which compared the two coupes in a series of drag races.
The GT’s 5.0-liter V8 engine makes 480 horsepower and 418 pound-feet of twist. The Dark Horse makes 500 hp with its Coyote V8. Ford added forged piston connecting rods from the GT500 and unique software tuning to increase the Dark Horse’s output beyond the GT’s. Both Mustang models channel all their power to the rear wheels through the Blue Oval’s 10-speed automatic transmission.
Gallery: 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse First Drive Review
The GT comes to this race with the GT Performance Package, which adds the hand-operated electric parking brake, Brembo brakes, 19-inch wheels, a Torsen differential, a larger rear sway bar, unique chassis tuning, and more.
The Dark Horse also has an upgraded chassis for improved cornering. Its Handling Package adds staggered Pirelli P Zero Trofeo RS tires, stiffer springs, larger anti-roll bars, and an integrated Gurney flap on the rear wing.
The Dark Horse has a clear advantage in this showdown and trounces the GT in the first drag race. But the first rolling race caught the Dark Horse flat-footed. The driver failed to get a jump on the GT and was unable to close the gap for another win. The GT won by half a car length.
The final rolling race was the best representation of performance from the the two cars. The Dark Horse got a much better start, using its extra horsepower and torque to pull away from the GT. This test is just the beginning of the Mustang’s new aftermarket life.
The Dark Horse won’t have to worry about the GT with Hennessey’s H850 package for the new Mustang. The aftermarket specialist’s upgrade kit includes a supercharger and a high-flow air induction system. Upgraded fuel injectors, a new fuel pump, and new HPE Engine Management software crank the car’s output to 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque.
On the outside, the Hennessey-tuned Mustang gets a new front splitter, side skirts, and rear spoiler made from carbon fiber and forged aluminum alloy wheels. Inside, the car receives embroidered headrests.
Hennessey didn’t announce that package’s price and the website still doesn’t list it. The upgrade will cost a premium over the Dark Horse, which starts at $60,865 (the price includes the $1,595 destination charge).
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