We’re in the business of obsessively reporting on muscle cars (and trucks!), so we’ve made it our mission to infiltrate our intelligence deep into any automaker that dares build them. In doing so, we were first to alert the world *checks notes* that the original seventh-generation Camaro plans were a casualty of a GM restructuring, as were the sixth-generation Z/28 and its special engine. We were first to tell the world of *checks notes* an electric Dodge muscle car coming. And we’ve only been around for *checks notes* two years. Not like it’s hard. So today, we’re here to tell you everything we know about the upcoming S650 Ford Mustang.
First thing’s first: it’s long been speculated that the seventh-generation Ford Mustang was going to use a variation of the Ford CD6 platform that underpins the U265 Ford Explorer that was introduced in 2019. This is not going to be the case. The S650 Mustang isn’t on a new platform. Rather, it’s an evolution of the S550, so think of it as a major product lifecycle refresh, more than something that’s completely new from the ground up. That means it will have a rethought exterior and interior design, and a new electrical architecture to go with it.
Expect the S650 Mustang to debut in late 2022 as a 2023 model year product.
No AWD Expected, A Hybrid Could Come Later
While all-wheel-drive has been extensively rumored, perhaps misreported by other outlets, MC&T sources that intimately understand the S650 Ford Mustang have told us that AWD is not immediately on the table. Spy photos that have been speculated to be testing with all-wheel-drive are simply S550 shells masking an S650 chassis, say sources.
Speculation of a hybrid model is a little scattered. Rumors originally floated that the Ford Mustang was going to go hybrid as early as 2020. That didn’t happen. Instead we got the Mustang Mach-E to help balance out CAFE regulations, and probably for the better. Recently, our friends at Automotive News stated that a S650 Ford Mustang hybrid could arrive by 2025, likely during a refresh of the model. We’re inclined to believe them.
S650 Mustang Engines
Out of the gate, the 2023 Ford Mustang will have a familiar stable of powertrains, before a refresh in a few years that will add hybrid electrification. This means that a 2.3L EcoBoost turbo four and 5.0L Coyote V8 at the start, with the 755 hp 5.2L supercharged Predator V8 to follow. We don’t expect the 5.2L flat-plane crank Voodoo V8 to re-emerge after the discontinuation of the Mustang Shelby GT350 and GT350R.
Our sources more or less debunked the 6.8L V8 rumor for the S650 Ford Mustang, saying Unifor leaders don’t have the right information. Perhaps maybe later.
S650 Ford Mustang Pricing Can’t Run Away From The Stable
It’s still too early to figure out the pricing strategy for the S650 Mustang. As we see currently, the blue-collar American Icon currently gets away with being both the most expensive base V8 entry muscle car, and the highest price ceiling of any muscle car, with the Shelby GT500 topping well above $100,000. Again, for a Mustang. As we’ve heard before, the buying demographic is getting older, which can’t be good. And while that does mean that Ford can get away with juicing the Boomers for all they’re worth, it does sort of lose the plot at the same time, as other nameplates are enjoying a younger, richer and more diverse audience.
Agreeably, Ford does have to make do with competing with a specutrum of American (and don’t kid yourself, there’s still a bright line between most domestic and import enthusiasts) performance cars with just one offering. The $400,000+ Ford GT doesn’t really count or compete in the same customer space due to the price, or the buying process. From the four-door Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody to the soon-to-be C8 Corvette Z06, the Mustang is (perhaps unfairly) tasked with representing Ford Performance by itself in this space. That’s probably why we have a 755 horsepower Mustang with an $18,000 track package. Because you’re not gonna take on the fighter squadron of General Motors or Dodge performance cars without it.
At this point Ford Motor Company has to be recognizing the need for another performance car. And one that doesn’t start at a zillion million billion dollars. Maybe that’s why the automaker recently trademarked the Thunderbird name for future automobile use. But that’s a story for another day.
Anyhow. Pricing pressure is a real thing, and it’s hard for us to digest the appeal of a six figure Mustang in a world of mid-engine Corvettes and 800-plus horsepower Mopars that are going for a better deal. But we know hybrids and other new technologies only add to the cost of development, so be on the look out for an MSRP jump on midrange to high-end S650 Mustangs.
The S650 Mustang Will Be The Last ICE Muscle Car Standing
Our sources described the lifecycle of the S650 Mustang as one that will be the finish of a long bridge towards electrification. In other words, Ford Motor Company will “sweat the asset” and it will have a long lifecycle; eight years, in fact. Just like the S550, which entered the fray in 2014. Some analysts pin the electric Ford Mustang to emerge by 2028, but 2030 seems like the more likely outcome. The end of the decade feels far enough away, but the clock is ticking in what feels like a speed run mode. When that time approaches, the last of the internal combustion engine muscle cars will have rolled off the assembly line.
General Motors and its “All Electric Future” has the Camaro as we know it reportedly giving way to an electric performance sedan. Across town, the new French overlords pulling the strings at Dodge have the brand completely rethinking the Charger and Challenger formula, as electric vehicles. By 2024, it’s an extreme likelihood that the S650 Ford Mustang will be the last American muscle car with an internal combustion engine. This makes us recall the sage words of Ferdinand Porsche, which say that “the last car built on earth will surely be a sports car.” In this case, the last V8 muscle car will be a Ford Mustang.
In a way, history doesn’t repeat itself, but it sure as hell rhymes.