Modern muscle cars are smarter, better handling beasts than their basic predecessors, but that doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten their roots. The current Mustang introduced electronic line lock to drag racers, but that’s no longer the only piece of tech Ford offers for a quicker run down the strip – now it’s giving the Mustang Drag Strip mode.
With the new Drag Strip mode engaged, the upcoming Mustang GT V8 manages to sneak under four seconds to 60 mph (97 km/h), making it the quickest ever Pony to roll from the Ford stable. The new drive mode is relatively simple – it keeps the engine on the boil while the gearbox shifts, so drivers have peak power and torque as soon as the next gear is engaged – but it’s undoubtedly effective. Not only will it outrun the current Mustang GT, but it puts the new ‘Stang on par with a base Porsche 911 Carrera.
Not everyone will be able to match those figures in the real world. For one, owners will need to fork out for the optional Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tires, and cars with the six-speed manual gearbox will be slower than those with the optional 10-speed automatic. Ford says the new 10-speeder shifts faster than the outgoing six-speed unit, and has the ability to skip gears for the smoothest, most efficient forward progress.
Of course, more power is also a part of the equation for the quicker Mustang. The GT V8 has been boosted from 435 hp (325 kW) to 460 hp (343 kW), and torque has increased 20 lb-ft (27 Nm) to 420 lb-ft (569 Nm) as well. Ford is claiming better fuel efficiency from the uprated motor, thanks largely to the smart new automatic gearbox.
Although its figures aren’t as impressive, the EcoBoost Mustang also benefits from Drag Strip mode. With 310 hp (231 kW) of power and 350 lb-ft (475 Nm) of torque on tap, it’ll hit 60 mph (97 km/h) in less than five seconds. Impressive, but we’re going to withhold full judgement until Ford proves it knows how to make a turbocharged four-cylinder engine sound tough.
“Typically, when you shift gears, you give up time,” said Widmann. “In Drag Strip mode, the engine torque doesn’t drop when you’re shifting. You get peak engine torque and horsepower straight through thanks to our new Ford-built 10-speed transmission… Gearing matters, and in Drag Strip mode, this car launches better than ever off the line.”
Ford has put together a quick video of people doing things in four seconds, along with some footage of the Mustang jumping off the line, below.