Rebooted Ford Mustang gets neighbourly at 2017 Frankfurt show

Published: 12 September 2017

► Ford Mustang facelift for 2018
New ‘Drag Strip Mode’
‘Good Neighbour’ quiet start mode

On first impressions this new Ford Mustang seems uncharacteristically grown up, like when one of your friends suddenly starts bringing a briefcase to school. There’s a raft of new safety kit and a quieter ‘Good Neighbour’ start-up procedure. What gives?

Thankfully, read a little further down the specification list and normal service resumes as the veil of maturity drops. Particularly regarding the new Drag Strip Mode – more on that later.

Ford Mustang 2018

What’s new?

Lots of improvements to things journalists enjoyed harpooning the old car for – expect sharper handling, better interior quality and more safety tech.

Dealing with what we can see first, the updated styling looks a little reminiscent of a Jaguar XKR-S. There’s a lower bonnet with lairy looking air vents, a sharper lower grille on the front and remodelled rear bumper and diffuser.

LED head and tail-lights, daytime running lights and indicators are standard, while brighter foglights are optional, as is a boot spoiler. Yee-haw.

Expect three new paint options, called Kona Blue, Royal Crimson and Orange Fury(!) as well as three additional 19-inch alloy wheel finishes, Nickel, Ebony Black and Polished Aluminium.

Ford Mustang 2018

Cut to the chase, has the V8 gone?

Fear not, the downsizing scythe has swung and missed, so there’s the same choice of 2.3-litre EcoBoost and V8. Both have been tweaked though.

In the case of the five-point-oh it’s good news all around – you get 444bhp now, plus a higher rev-limit and more low-down torque. Quad-tailpipes are standard for the V8.

Weirdly, though, the 2.3-litre four-pot now makes 286bhp, which is less than the 313bhp previously offered. Blame emissions – a gas particulate filter in the exhaust means more back pressure and a lower steady-state power output.

You get more torque than before and there’s also an overboost function, so Ford says this lower-powered motor will deliver the same punch in manual form, and better performance in the case of the ten-speed auto. We’ll wait and see.

Click here for our review of the 2016 Ford Mustang 5.0 GT

Ford Mustang 2018

Ten-speed auto?

Yes there’s one of those now, which should prove more responsive and fuel-efficient (says Ford) than the old six-speeder. Marketing material claims it’ll pick the right gear in any situation – ‘from coast-road cruising to the drag-strip’ – or in UK parlance, the A27 and Severn Toll Bridge.

The handling is also now more in-line with European expectations – with stability, chassis flex and body roll allegedly tidied up by recalibrated shock absorbers, stiffer rear suspension and thicker anti-roll bars.

Bigger news, though, is the addition of optional MagneRide damping – where sensors monitor the road surface 1000 times a second to ensure theoretically optimum handling and ride.

Ford Mustang 2018

Is the Ford Mustang interior still made of lots of plastic?

A traditional Mustang weakspot, Ford says the new pony car comes with an upscale interior (a better one, in other words) with soft-touch materials on the door linings and new aluminium door handles, plus a hand-stitched, soft-touch wrap on the centre console.

Leather heated and cooled seats, and a heated steering wheel are also offered across the line-up for the first time, as are optional leather Recaro racing seats in Ebony Black leather.

A customisable 12-inch digital instrument cluster is new, with displays optimised to match the selected drive mode, and a range of gauges in seven colours.

Advanced driver technologies include pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, lane keeping alert and aid plus adaptive cruise control – it’s hoped these will help improve the ‘Stang’s  Euro NCAP rating (originally just two stars, later upped to three).

Ford Mustang 2018

Tell me about Drag Strip Mode!

Hold your horses, because the Mustang has gone mode mad this time around.

There’s My Mode (an individual setting for performance, dynamics and exhaust sound) and Good Neighbour Mode which uses a new active exhaust valve and can be programmed to limit noise at certain times of day. Arguably your neighbours should just get triple-glazing if they’ve got a problem with your V8, but there we go.

Finally there’s the new Drag Strip Mode which, as you’ve probably guessed, optimises performance for maximum standing start acceleration. In addition the manual gearbox gains launch control as standard, and the 2.3-litre Mustang will come with line lock as standard.

Sound good? Deliveries of the new Ford Mustang will begin in 2018.

By Adam Binnie

Bauer Automotive's commercial content editor; likes bikes and burgers, often over-tyred