Back in September of 2022, Ford Motor Company finally pulled the sheet off of the seventh-generation of its most recognizable icon: the Mustang. New for the 2024 model year, the S650 Ford Mustang features new exterior looks, a new interior, incredible new technology, and yes, even new engines. While the displacements are the same, a 2.3L EcoBoost and a 5.0L Coyote V8, don’t let that fool you. These motors have been extensively revised, and are more powerful and more efficient than ever before. To get a better understanding of how Ford extracted as much as 500 horsepower from the new Coyote V8 engine in the 2024 Mustang Dark Horse, we caught up with Ed Krenz, the Chief Engineer of the S650 Mustang program.
“It was clear from the beginning that we wanted to target 500 horsepower,” Mustang Chief Engineer Ed Krenz told MC&T. “You look at the many ways that you can achieve that, and we already had a fully active exhaust in the product in the current generation. We knew that we were dealing with some elevated levels of air induction losses, specifically the ’22 model year when we had to adopt some LEV III upgrades.” Krenz stated.
LEV III is related to new emission regulations that were implemented a few years ago. This is why Ford dropped the horsepower on the S550 Mustang GT and Mach 1 from the 2022-2023 model years.
“We just needed to get more air into the engine and make some structural enhancements that, by in large, had already been integrated into the version of the 5.0L that goes into the F-150,” said Krenz. “You could argue that we could accomplish that task with one big throttle body versus two smaller ones. Maybe that’s where there’s a little bit of inspiration to say that this would be really cool. Under-hood appearance is clearly very important. The symmetry of having dual air boxes versus a big single air box is self-evident, so it looks really cool.”
It was also important to the S650 Mustang team that whatever happened under the hood was able to package well.
“A lot of what we do with the engine is not constrained but limited to the Mustang package.” Krenz continued. “The hood line is very important to the product, so we don’t ever want to take the engine north from a packaging perspective so that it’s driving higher hoods. So, it gave us a better package profile as well.”
The 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse is officially rated at a class-leading 500 horsepower, while the Mustang GT comes in at an extremely commendable 480 horsepower. The difference is because the Dark Horse benefits from some engine parts that were handed down from the 760 horsepower S550 Shelby GT500 Mustang. The Mustang Dark Horse stands as the most powerful non-Shelby Mustang ever, and will participate in many forms of racing, from GT3 class in WEC to NHRA drag racing.
Not wanting to make the Ford Mustang GT or Dark Horse feature a higher hood would have taken away from the smooth lines of the S650 body. However, that’s a route customers can take for themselves through aftermarket modifications if they wish to do so. Tuning it, however, might be a different story.