Ford looks poised to celebrate 60 years of its iconic Mustang by revealing a redesigned model, with a pair of hybrid powertrains expected to eventually join the range.
North America’s Car & Driver reports the next-generation Mustang – codenamed S650 – will debut in April 2023.
Ford may choose to reveal it on April 17, symbolically important for the company as on this date the original Mustang was revealed at the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
The S650 Mustang is expected to have an eight-year lifecycle – similar to the last two generations – with additional performance variants set to be launched during this time.
Ford Authority reports the Mustang will continue to be offered only with rear-wheel drive, pouring cold water on rumours of an all-wheel drive model.
The S650 Mustang will also reportedly launch with carryover turbocharged 2.3-litre four-cylinder and naturally-aspirated 5.0-litre V8 engines.
In Australian-market Mustangs, the EcoBoost four produces 236kW of power and 448Nm of torque while the Coyote V8 produces 339kW and 556Nm. It’s unclear if the S650 will see those outputs increase.
These carryover engines will reportedly be joined by hybrid versions at a later date.
A report from Automotive News last year said the first electrified Mustang models would arrive in 2025. This, of course, excludes the already on-sale Mustang Mach-E electric crossover.
Subsequently, a member of the Mustang7G forums found a mention of both 2.3-litre inline-four and 5.0-litre V8 hybrids on a Ford product development engineer’s LinkedIn page.
The engineer in question was listed as having worked on the S650 Mustang program from July 2020 to November 2020.
It’s unclear whether the hybrid models will be mild-, series- or plug-in hybrids.
Spy photos have shown the S650 Mustang will have a more driver-focused cockpit, with a centre stack angled towards the driver.
Less extensive are the changes to the exterior, with leaked photos revealing Ford isn’t straying too far from the current model’s muscular, slightly retro lines.
The first image was posted on the Mustang7G forums and shows what appears to be a GT model.
There’s a more squared-off look to the front end, with a large hexagonal central grille with vertical bars, a lower trapezoidal air intake and two large side air intakes, as well as thinner headlights with three squared-off elements within.
Compared to the current S550 Mustang, there’s a seemingly more aggressive bumper with sharply defined lines separating the grille and air intakes.
The bonnet remains long with similar creases to the current model, but there’s a new scoop in the middle.
Another leaked image, published by Ford Authority, appears to show the undisguised front fascia of a base model.
It features a smaller grille opening than the leaked GT model and the air intakes aren’t as aggressive. There are also smaller alloy wheels, while the bonnet lacks a scoop.
While Pony Car sales may have slowed in the US market, the Mustang is still an important model for the brand given its halo effect and heritage.
In Australia, it’s also one of Ford’s best-selling models. Last year, Ford sold 2827 examples, putting it behind only the Puma (3218), Everest (8359) and Ranger (50,279).
Ford Australia reached a height of 9165 Mustang sales in 2017 and it’s declined since then, though this is hardly unusual in the style-conscious sports car segment.
While local Mustang sales have fallen from their heights at the car’s introduction in 2015, it’s still far and away the best-selling sports car in Australia.
Ford sold 2827 in 2021, well and truly putting daylight between the pony car and vehicles like the two-door Mercedes-Benz C-Class (1131) and BMW 4 Series (1107) ranges.
Even the more affordable Mazda MX-5 logged only 744 sales.
MORE: Everything Ford Mustang