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A Possible Look At Ford’s Future Plans Before Electrification Takes Hold

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 S550 S650
Image via Ford.

Back in August, the journalists at Automotive News broke a rather interesting story about the upcoming S650 Ford Mustang. The publication reported that their sources within Ford’s product planning department say that the next-generation Mustang is slated to make its debut in either 2022 or 2023, and that the car will have an eight year product cycle. And while this was further backed up by a leaked job listing and reports from other publications, recent news about the iconic muscle car has hinted at a potential shift in this timeline. More specifically, the fact that the Ford Mustang could go all-electric by 2028. Now though, the folks at Motor1 have captured some new spy shots that potentially highlight an S650 Ford Mustang powertrain prototype out testing an all-wheel drive system.

The images and short video uploaded to Motor1 were captured just outside of Ford’s testing facility in Dearborn, Michigan. The muscle car in question looks like a mashup of current S550 generation offerings, with the chin, rocker panels, and wheels from the newly released Mustang Mach 1. The front fascia doesn’t belong to the 5.0L track-focused pony, and that car’s rear spoiler is noticeably absent as well. The front clip of the car is wearing camouflage, though it isn’t entirely clear as to why that might be. That said, there are a few hints that we can see hidden around this S650 Ford Mustang mule that could explain the awkward look.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 muscle car
Photo via Ford.

Let’s start with that camouflaged front end. If you look closely at the car near the front wheel arches, you will notice some wiring that runs into the wheel well. A similar wiring harness can be seen tucking into the rear arches, though the rear examples are covered with black tape. To our eyes, it looks like Ford is collecting data from each of the wheels, something engineers would do while testing an all-wheel drive system. If these wiring looms aren’t enough to convince you, take a look at the rear brakes. More specifically, the presence of a dual-caliper setup. This is the same type of system that Dodge currently employs on their all-wheel drive muscle car offerings. Perhaps then this is Ford’s way of filling out the S650 Ford Mustang lineup.

All-wheel drive has long been rumored to be coming to the S650 Mustang, though the entire existence of the next-gen car has been up in the air as of late. That said, this mule could help paint a clearer picture as to what is in the pipeline.

If the Mustang is truly going to go full electric in 2028, it’s likely that we’ll see a hybrid model first. This too was rumored alongside an AWD offering, which is all the more interesting in this case. Details about such a Mustang have been scarce, which could explain why the engineer driving the car was so liberal with his middle finger during the photo shoot.

It is also possible that the S650 will arrive as more of a refresh than an all-new car, which would allow Ford to disguise the cars as the current model. We’re going to have to wait a bit longer before any of this becomes more clear, but this might just be the first of many sightings to come.

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Written by Lucas Bell

Lucas holds a journalism degree from Wayne State University, and is a Automotive Press Association scholarship recipient. While an American muscle fan through and through, he once wrote a fascinating comparison review about eScooters.

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