The V8 engine is an integral part of the Ford Mustang’s identity and one that the company won’t replace for batteries and an electric motor anytime soon. Ford is committed to offering its pony car with an internal combustion engine and has no plans to sunset the powertrain in the model.
Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance Motorsport, told CarSales.com.au that the company would build the V8 engine for “as long as we can,” adding that the Blue Oval hasn’t selected a retirement date for the eight-cylinder engine just yet. Mustang’s global brand manager, Jim Owens, echoed similar sentiments to Drive.com.au. He said the automaker is still investing in V8 engines for future models even as the automaker ramps up battery-electric vehicle production.
However, government regulations might force Ford to alter those plans. Tightening emissions standards have automakers downsizing engines and adding turbochargers to comply with the evolving rules. Ford wouldn’t say how it planned to keep the V8 in the Mustang, but Mustang chief vehicle engineer Tim Smith cryptically revealed that the company is “always testing everything.”
One possibility that could keep the combustion engine alive is synthetic fuels. More than one automaker is exploring the alternative technology, with Porsche, Stellantis, and others testing e-fuel. Bentley attended this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed with a fleet of vehicles using biofuel.
The drop-in replacement fuels could reduce emissions without the need to modify existing combination engines. Bentley, which installed a large biofuel tank at its Crewe headquarters, used the stuff in its oldest surviving model – the 1920 EXP2.
The European Union had initially proposed banning the sale of new combustion-powered cars after 2035. However, before finalizing the rules earlier this year, regulators proposed and passed a carve-out for the sale of e-fuel-powered vehicles after the deadline.
Ford hopes the next-generation Mustang will entice younger buyers to the brand. With the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger bowing out, the Mustang will be free of competition from its crosstown rivals in nearly 20 years, and it’s not the first time Ford has been alone. Ford doesn’t think it can convert every former Camaro and Challenger fan, but it believes a core segment of buyers enjoys sports cars.
The entry-level 2024 Mustang starts at $32,515 (prices include the destination charge), which gets customers a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 315 horsepower. The V8-powered Mustang GT starts at $44,090 and delivers 480 hp. The pair are just two of the 14 Mustang variants Ford has already revealed, and not all of them are roads legal.