2024 Ford Mustang GT vs Dark Horse Mustang

Source: mystangmods

These days, seeing a brand-new, naturally aspirated, V8-powered muscle car is an amazing and rare sight. So, fans everywhere were over the moon when Ford revealed plans for the seventh generation, confirming that it would retain a classic look while incorporating up-to-date technologies.

Thankfully, Ford delivered on its promises, bringing back the legendary 5.0-liter GT and the venerable EcoBoost with enhanced features, power, and sleeker styling. However, Ford released the Mustang Dark Horse for the most discerning muscle car fans.

This S650 Mustang is exciting because it’s the first Ford performance vehicle without Shelby, Cobra, Mach I, or Boss, which have precedents from the 1960s. The 2024 Mustang Dark Horse S650 builds on the existing GT but takes it to the next level. Since its launch, Mustang fans have been eager to learn more about the Dark Horse and how it differs from the standard GT. Let’s discuss that here in detail.

Ford Mustang GT vs Dark Horse: Quick Comparison

SpecificationMustang Dark HorseMustang GT
Starting MSRP$59,270$41,495
($46,015 for Premium Package)
Engine5.0L DOHC Ti-VCT V85.0L DOHC Ti-VCT V8
Horsepower500 hp480 hp
Torque418 lb-ft415 lb-ft
Transmission (Manual)6 Speed Tremec TR-3160 Manual6 Speed Getrag MT-82 Manual
Transmission (Automatic)10-speed automatic10-speed automatic
SuspensionMagneride Suspension (standard)Magneride Suspension (optional)
Fuel DeliveryDual port fuel direct injectionDual port fuel direct injection
Compression Ratio12.0:112.0:1
Bore and Stroke93 x 92.7 mm (3.66 x 3.64 in)93 x 92.7 mm (3.66 x 3.64 in)

Exterior Comparison

Rear Wing

Source: motortrend & caranddriver

Starting at the rear, both the Dark Horse and the GT have rear wings. But compared to the GT, the Dark Horse has a bigger, stronger wing. The angle of this wing is steeper to provide more downforce.


Source: cars & cjponyparts

The GT features the well-known “GT” symbol on the back and the 5.0 fender badges. Additionally, the GT receives the traditional “pony” insignia on the front grille, which has been a feature of Mustangs since 1965.

However, the Dark Horse is not given the same 5.0 fender badges. It is replaced with the new “Dark Horse” logo instead. Additionally, the “Dark Horse” logo is used on the back, between the taillights. This sets the Dark Horse apart from the other S650 configurations. If you want to alter the stock appearance, you can always install an aftermarket badge or other accessories. Alternatively, you have the option to completely delete the fender badges.

Front End

Source: carmichaelford & lutherfamilyford

In comparison to the GT, the Dark Horse has a bigger front lip, which enhances its performance. Moreover, it features bigger front intake vents to supply the engine with additional air. Unlike the GT, the Dark Horse has huge plastic inserts under the headlights. Lastly, the Dark Horse features bigger front apertures to improve airflow beneath the vehicle.


Source: motorauthority & caranddriver

The GT is equipped with a unique set of S650 Mustang wheels. It has a black, 10-spoke, 19-in (482 mm) pattern that looks like a spider’s web. The Dark Horse comes with a different set of 5-spoke wheels as standard.

You can upgrade to a pair of aggressive-looking, lightweight carbon fiber wheels, but they are not as fascinating as the GT’s. The Dark Horse’s staggered wheel diameters are another noteworthy feature for improved performance. The fronts measure 19″ x 9.5″ (482 x 241 mm), while the rears are 19″ x 10″ (482 x 254 mm).

Interior Comparison

Source: cjponyparts

Both the Dark Horse and the GT have quite similar interiors. Customers get a 13.2-in (335 mm) infotainment screen with Ford’s SYNC 4 and the significantly updated instrument cluster. The Dark Horse’s standard Recaro seats are the only noticeable difference. Recaro seats are an option for the GT, but they will cost extra. Additionally, the flat-bottom steering wheel will come standard on both vehicles.

Spec2024 Mustang Dark Horse2024 Mustang GT
SeatsLeather Recaro Seats with Suede InsertsCloth Seats with Leather Inserts
DashIncludes Digital DashIncludes Digital Dash
Steering WheelTrack Inspired Flat-Bottom WheelTrack Inspired Flat-Bottom Wheel

Engine and Power Comparison

Source: Youtube/Hennessey Performance

Dark Horse and GT both will come fitted with Ford’s latest Coyote V8—the fourth generation. The Coyote V8 has been Ford’s top-tier V8 for Mustangs for the past ten years or more, having been launched in 2010. The Coyote engine has changed over the years, but the 4th generation looks like it will be the best one yet. The new Coyote in the Dark Horse produces 418 lb-ft of torque and 500 hp.

In addition, the Dark Horse has a few more improvements over the GT. The most powerful non-Shelby Mustang ever gets a uniquely balanced crankshaft and forged piston connecting rods to manage higher cylinder pressures and piston speeds. You also receive a 7,500 RPM redline and stronger camshafts.

The GT may not have the same output, but it certainly isn’t lacking in power. The GT is expected to produce 415 lb-ft of torque and 480 hp. However, you will get an additional 6 hp and 3 lb-ft of torque if you upgrade to the active-valve performance exhaust system. Similar to the Dark Horse, the GT is naturally aspirated, so you can anticipate the distinctive V8 feel and sound.

SpecMustang Dark HorseMustang GT
Power500 hp, 418 lb-ft of torque480 hp, 415 lb-ft of torque
Redline7,500 RPM7,250 RPM
Forced Induction?NoNo

Transmission Comparison

Source: Youtube/GaudinX

Although 6-speed manual transmissions are standard on the Dark Horse and GT, the two 2024 Mustang transmissions differ significantly.

The GT is packaged with the Getrag MT-82. Ford has used this 6-speed transmission for the Mustang since at least 2011. Given how well-known the transmission is, Ford is undoubtedly at ease using it in its vehicles. But over the years, a lot of concerns have been raised regarding the transmission.

The Getrag MT-82 has a number of prominent issues, including sliding, gear conflicts, failures, and a high-RPM lockout. Even though it’s not a bad transmission, Ford’s decision to keep using it in the S650 generation is surprising. If you would rather have an automatic transmission and enjoy a better driving experience, the GT also comes with an optional 10-speed automatic.

The Dark Horse comes standard with the Tremac TR-3160, 6-speed manual transmission. This considerably enhances the Dark Horse’s performance and is a major improvement over the MT-82. Ford previously used this transmission in the Mustang Mach 1 (2021) and GT350 (2016–2020). The TR-3160 plays a significant role in the designation of both of these vehicles as high-performance beasts.

The TR-3160 is the ideal transmission for a performance-edition Mustang because it was designed with high-torque applications in mind. Similar to the GT, the Dark Horse is offered with an optional 10-speed automatic transmission. Despite having slightly different gear ratios compared to the automatic in the GT, you can anticipate comparable performance.

SpecMustang Dark HorseMustang GT
Transmission6-speed, Tremec TR-3160 manual as standard and optional 10-speed automatic6-speed, Getrag MT-82 manual as standard and optional 10-speed automatic

Suspension Comparison

Source: drivencarguide

Even though they share a chassis, the Dark Horse is far more nimble and responsive.

The Dark Horse has a lightweight strut tower brace and K-brace developed by Ford Performance that makes the chassis more rigid. As a result, the driver has more grip and steering response. The Dark Horse also comes with a Magneride suspension, a Torsen rear differential, and Pirelli P-ZERO tires. All of these enhancements provide you with better handling than the GT.

While the Dark Horse already surpasses the GT, the optional ‘Handling Package’ improves its performance even further. By purchasing this upgrade, you get a unique back wing that includes a Gurney flap. You also receive wider Pirelli Trofeo tires to match wider front and rear wheels, larger front and rear sway bars, stiffer springs, and an improved rear wing.

Having said that, the new GT comes with improved handling. One of the 2024 Mustang GT package options, the performance pack, significantly enhances the S650’s stock suspension and handling. When you purchase the performance pack, you get the new electronic drift brake and Magneride suspension.

Six distinct driving modes are also available to you: regular, sport, slippery, track, drag strip, and custom. These are available on the GT and Dark Horse models, and they enhance the handling qualities of your S650.

Spec2024 Mustang Dark Horse2024 Mustang GT
DriftingDrift brake (Standard)Drift brake (Optional with Performance Pack)
SuspensionMagneride Suspension (standard)Magneride Suspension (Optional with Performance Pack)
Chassis BracingFord Performance strut tower brace and K-brace (standard)Stabilizer bars (standard)
Drive Modes6 Selectable Drive Modes6 Selectable Drive Modes

Which One is Better?

Source: garycrossleyford

Although the Dark Horse beats the GT in practically every category, that is by design. When Ford created the Dark Horse, they were confronting the last generation of gas-powered Mustangs. They realized they needed a halo car to give loyal supporters exactly what they desired. That’s what the Dark Horse is. A side project that’s perfect for introducing the S650 generation. Even though the GT isn’t as good as the Dark Horse, it’s still a fantastic vehicle all around and costs less. Whatever you choose, you will not be disappointed.

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