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Manual 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse Dyno Testing Reveals 444 HP at the Wheels

For model year 2024, the Mustang received a pretty substantial makeover that Ford refers to as the seventh generation. Codenamed S650, the most powerful 'Stang in production today is the 500-hp Dark Horse.
2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse dyno pull 8 photos
Photo: Middleton Motorsports / edited
2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse dyno pull2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse dyno pull2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse dyno pull2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse dyno pull2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse dyno pull2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse dyno pull2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse dyno pull
The question is, how many of those ponies actually get to the rear wheels? The folks at Middleton Motorsports are much obliged to answer that question with their Dynojet dynamometer. The white-painted car in the video below is a Dark Horse with the Tremec-supplied manual transmission. Emphasis on manual because the auto cannot be run in the 1:1 seventh gear on the dyno because of the engine speed limiter. In the manual's case, the 1:1 ratio is fifth. Make that fourth in the GT, for the GT still uses the less enjoyable Getrag MT-82.

The first pull ended with 440.78 horsepower and 389.32 pound-feet (528 Nm) at the rear wheels. The Dark Horse produced 440.99 and 388.26 (526) second time around. As for the third and final pull, the numbers are 444.47 horsepower and 384.67 pound-feet (522 Nm).

In other words, the Dark Horse-specific Coyote engine punches above its weight. 500 horsepower and 418 pound-feet (567 Nm) at the crankshaft versus dyno-proven bests of 444.47 and 389.32 means that we're dealing with drivetrain losses of 11.1 and 6.8 percent, respectively. Impressive figures, that's for sure!

The only downside to getting a Dark Horse is – of course – its rather high sticker price. The Mach 1 wasn't exactly affordable either, though. At press time, pricing for the Dark Horse kicks off at $59,270 for the standard variant or $63,265 for the Dark Horse Premium. In both cases, the destination freight charge is listed at $1,595.

To give a better idea of how much the Dark Horse actually is, the GT starts at $42,495. As for the EcoBoost, which comes with Ford's 10-speed automatic exclusively, the suggested retail price is $30,920.

As you're well aware, the GT belts out 480 horsepower. Opting for the active-valve exhaust improves both power (to 486 ponies) and torque (from 415 to 418 pound-feet). The Dark Horse offers 418 pound-feet as well, yet further improves to 500 crank horsepower.

How did the Ford Motor Company squeeze out those additional 14 ponies? First and foremost, piston connecting rods from the S550-gen Shelby GT500. A uniquely balanced crankshaft also needs to be mentioned, along with beefier camshafts that allow for extended operation close to the 7,500-rpm redline.

For some reason or another, the manual is hampered by an infuriating soft limiter that restricts engine speed to 7,250 revolutions per minute. That's precisely where the Dark Horse makes 500 horsepower. Why didn't Ford also soft limit the auto to 7,250 revolutions per minute? Seriously, if you know, drop us a comment below.

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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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