Updated 2018 Ford Mustang boasts more power and sharper dynamics

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Ford has updated the popular Mustang sports coupe as part of its mid-life facelift for 2018. Unveiled today by Ford’s ambassador of Service, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, the latest iteration of Mustang is said to be the nameplate’s most advanced ever and is due to arrive later this year.

The host of improvements include new technology and design changes giving owners wider customisation options, better performance from more powerful engines and new “MagneRide” variable damping suspension. Customers have more ways than ever to personalise Mustang to make it their own, with three new paint colors, 12 distinct wheel choices and a customisable digital instrument cluster.

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Ford tapped Johnson to reveal the new Mustang to the world by giving one of the first models available to a deserving member of the military. A video of the debut was launched on Johnson’s social channels, including Youtube, Instagram and Facebook, where Mustang holds the title for the most-popular car with more than 8.4 million ‘likes.’

The new Mustang debuts Ford’s first 12-inch all-digital LCD screen in the dashboard. This all-new customisable instrument promises new level of personalisation, offering three separate views. Customers can personalise the displays for normal, sport and track mode. All-new Mustang MyMode with memory function allows customers to save their favorite drive settings, including suspension and steering preferences.

Ford says the new Mustang is so customisable that even its engine note can be adjusted. An all-new active valve exhaust system is optional on the V8-powered Mustang GT, with a fully variable soundtrack to match the entire acceleration range.

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The new Mustang will also come standard with a vast array of driver-assist technology including Pre-Collision Assist with pedestrian detection, distance alert, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist and Driver Alert System.

Ford SYNC Connect with FordPass is available on the Mustang for the first time. When using the FordPass app for smartphones, drivers can start, lock, unlock and locate their car for ultimate convenience.

Ford has tweaked the Mustang’s chassis for improved dynamics. On all models, new shock absorbers promises better ride control, while a new cross-axis joint in the rear suspension is said to increase lateral stiffness.

MagneRide damper technology is a new option with the Mustang Performance Package to optimise ride and handling in all situations.

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Powertrains have also been updated, with the 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost engine recalibrated for increased torque and the 5.0-litre V8 heavily reworked with the first application of Ford’s new dual-fuel, high-pressure direct injection and low-pressure port fuel injection, delivering more power, stronger low-end torque and improved fuel efficiency.

At this stage, Ford has not disclosed power gains over the existing engines, which stands at 233kW/432Nm for the EcoBoost and 303kW/525Nm for the V8.

The manual transmission for both engine options has been upgraded for optimal torque, says Ford. For the V8, the manual transmission has been totally redesigned to include a twin-disc clutch and dual-mass flywheel to increase torque capability and deliver more efficient clutch modulation.

A new 10-speed automatic transmission, available with both EcoBoost and V8 engines, is said to be the best automatic Mustang has ever offered. With a wide-ratio span and optimized gear spacing, this all-new gearbox promises improved responsiveness and performance.

Compared to the previous six-speed, Ford says the new 10-speed transmission has quicker shift times, better low-speed tip-in response and significantly reduced friction losses. The all-new electronic control system includes unique tunes for different drive modes and features real-time adaptive shift scheduling to ensure the right gear at the right time.

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Visually, the new Mustang gains a new grille, revised all-LED headlights, a restyled front bumper and a redesigned bonnet punctured with a pair of heat extractors.

The rear of the car gets revised LED taillamps, a new bumper and optionally available fixed rear spoiler. Dual-tip exhaust is standard for EcoBoost Mustang, while V8-powered Mustang GT gets a standard quad-tip exhaust.

Improved touch points and visual cues with a more premium look and feel characterise the new cockpit. The center console adds a new hand-stitched wrap with contrast stitching and padded knee bolsters while door handles, rings and bezels are finished in aluminum. Restyled seating surfaces feature new patterns and color choices, the instrument panel sports an updated Mustang badge and there’s a new key fob design. A heated steering wheel is optional.

The new 2018 Ford Mustang is expected to arrive into Australian showrooms in the fourth quarter of this year.

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