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2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse vs. 2024 Ford Mustang GT (Detailed Review)Oct 16, 2023 | BY Vukasin H.

2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse vs. 2024 Ford Mustang GT (Detailed Review)

Nowadays, the appearance of a brand-new, naturally-aspirated, V8-powered muscle car is a rare and wonderful thing. So, when Ford announced the 7th generation and confirmed that it would be classic in its approach but modern in its technology, enthusiasts all over the world were ecstatic. Fortunately, Ford didn't disappoint, and the venerable EcoBoost and fantastic 5.0-litre GT have returned with more power, sharper lines and advanced features. However, Ford introduced a very interesting model called the Mustang Dark Horse for most discriminating muscle car connoisseurs.


This version of the S650 Mustang is very significant since it is the first time that Ford presents an entirely new performance model, which is not Shelby, Cobra, Mach I or Boss, all of which have predecessors dating back to the '60s. The Dark Horse is a Mustang performance for the 21st century and more than just a "parts bin special", which is something 2021 to 2023 Mach I was accused of being. The 2024 Mustang Dark Horse S650 is based on the current GT but takes it up a notch. Ever since its introduction, Mustang fans have been eager to see what the Dark Horse is and how it differs from the standard GT. Here is all you need to know. 


Quick Summary - Dark Horse Vs GT (s650 Mustang)



2024 Mustang Dark Horse

2024 Mustang s650 GT

Starting MSRP

$90,000 AUD + On Roads (Estimated)

$72,000 AUD + On Roads (Estimated)





500 HP

480 HP


418 lb-ft

415 lb-ft

Transmission (Manual)

6 Speed Tremec TR-3160 Manual

6 Speed Getrag MT-82 Manual

Transmission (Automatic)

10-speed automatic

10-speed automatic


Magneride Suspension (standard)

Magneride Suspension (optional)

Drive Modes

6 Selectable Drive Modes

6 Selectable Drive Modes


Leather Recaro Seats with Suede Inserts and Blue stitching

Standard Black Leather Seats

Steering Wheel

Flat-Bottom Wheel (Leather with Suede and Indigo Blue Stitching)

Flat-Bottom Wheel (All Leather)

Manual Shift Knob

Anodised Blue Lightweight Titanium Manual Shift Knob

Standard Shift Knob


The Exterior Design (s650 Mustang)


The first thing to notice when you start comparing the GT to Dark Horse is the exterior design taking the iconic vehicle to new levels. Ford did a great job enhancing the GT's overall look with the Dark Horse bits and components since this version is recognisable and aggressive but still smooth. Also, the GT is available as a Fastback or Convertible, while the Dark Horse is a coupe only. We’ll explore the various exterior design features that make the Dark Horse stand out when compared to a s650 GT.


Redesigned Front Bumper, Splitter & Air Curtains


The Dark Horse features a distinct front fascia, optimised for  aerodynamics and enhanced downforce. The front grille boasts larger, open vented areas compared to the 2024 Mustang GT, significantly improving engine cooling.


2024 Mustang GT & Dark Horse Rear Spoiler & Diffuser


At the rear, the Dark Horse has an aggressive and more prominent spoiler compared to the GT. The Darkhorse Wing has a steeper angle with an optional handling pack “gurney flap” to create more downforce which ensures high speed stability and grip. In addition to this, the race inspired rear bumper diffuser on the darkhorse helps manage airflow underneath the vehicle with its design for a further reduction in drag.


Ford Mustang Dark Horse 2024

Image via Ford

2024 Mustang GT & Dark Horse Colours


Offering a notably more restricted colour palette compared to the GT, the Dark Horse model distinguishes itself with a unique flair in its aesthetic offerings. Most notable among its shades is the exclusive colour shifting 'Blue Ember,' a colour unavailable in any other models, which lends the Dark Horse a unique touch of individuality and elegance. In addition to this a vinyl package and hand-painted graphics create an impactful visual language throughout the vehicle and further accentuates its character. The following table showcases the available colours for the s650 Ford Mustang GT vs Ford Mustang Dark Horse (Colours to be confirmed for Australia).


2024 Mustang Dark Horse

2024 Mustang GT

Shadow Black

Shadow Black

Oxford White

Oxford White

Race Red

Race Red

Atlas Blue

Atlas Blue

Grabber Blue

Grabber Blue

Dark Matter Gray

Dark Matter Gray

Vapour Blue

Vapour Blue

Carbonized Gray

Carbonized Gray

Ember Blue

Rapid Red


Yellow Splash


Iconic Silver


Performance Wheel Options


The Mustang GT showcases a distinctive 19-inch black wheel design with a 10-spoke pattern reminiscent of a spider's web. With the Dark Horse edition, Ford further accentuates its character by offering unique wheel choices, including a standard set of aggressive split 5-spoke wheels. Yet, the highlight for the Dark Horse is the carbon fibre wheel upgrade. These 5-spoke carbon fibre wheels not only look classy but are also lightweight, with each wheel weighing a mere 20.1 lbs, thereby enhancing both the appearance and performance of the vehicle. Now for those enthusiasts looking to take it a step further and looking to upgrade to a 20" wheel that is wider and want a different style, we have got you covered here at My Stang Mods. We offer the best from premium industry leading brands such as Velgen, Vossen, Rohana, and Carroll Shelby.


Unique Dark Horse Emblems


The Dark Horse Mustang introduces unique badging, showcasing a stylized horse head logo, distinctively oriented facing forward - a first for a Ford Mustang. Surrounded by a futuristic sci-fi inspired horseshoe-shaped hoof, this emblem diverges from the traditional "GT" and "5.0" logos, infusing a unique character into the new model.


Interior Features and Comfort of Mustang GT 2024 and Dark Horse


The Dark Horse Mustang's interior closely mirrors the GT, with distinct contrasting indigo blue stitching on key interior elements as its standout feature. Both share a digital dash and six selectable driving modes. The Dark Horse has the same flat bottom steering wheel shape as the GT however it  is suede-wrapped flat-bottomed with blue stitching. The optional appearance package also includes RECARO® performance seats with blue bolsters and black Dinamica suede centres. A unique feature exclusive to the Dark Horse Mustang is the anodised blue titanium manual shift knob, designed to stay cool in warm conditions.


The S650 Mustang GT & Dark Horse features an impressive 13.2-inch infotainment display as standard that hosts Ford’s advanced SYNC 4 multimedia software. This state-of-the-art system ensures both, the drivers and passengers enjoy a user-friendly and intuitive experience, with features that include real-time updates and improved voice recognition. Complementing the cutting-edge tech, the Mustang also comes equipped with a premium B&O audio system, delivering crystal clear sound quality, making every drive both a visual and auditory delight.


The Engine


You cannot have a performance model without significant engine changes, and Ford upgraded the Dark Horse and justified its performance credentials. The venerable 5.0-litre from the GT is slightly modified and now produces 500 hp (367 kW) and 567 Nm of torque. That is 20 hp and 4 Nm more than the GT. Both engines use the same Gen 4 dual intake system with a 12.0:1 compression ratio, but the Dark Horse version had titanium connecting rods and different ECU tuning. The Dark Horse V8 makes power a bit higher up the rev range, which explains its 7.500 rpm red line.


The Transmission


Both the GT and Dark Horse come with the 6-speed manual transmission as standard and the well-known 10-speed automatic as optional. However, the GT has the Getrag MT-82 manual transmission, which has been used since 2011, and although it is a decent box, it isn't the best choice for this model. The Dark Horse has the Tremec TR-3160, which is regarded as a better and more compliant choice and has been used in the S550 Shelby GT350 and 2021-23 Mustang Mach I. Also, the Dark Horse has an optional 3.73:1 rear-end ratio for maximum acceleration. The 10-speed is mechanically the same in both models (slightly different gear ratios for the Dark Horse version), and it is one of the best automatics around. It comes with the launch control paddle shifters, and since it has ten gears, it even awards the driver slightly better fuel economy.


The Suspension


The S650 Mustang GT chassis is already very competent in terms of handling, but for Dark Horse, Ford prepared several crucial upgrades. The list starts with the unique strut brace and K-brace to improve rigidity and steering feel. The 5.0 GT has Magneride suspension as an option while it is part of the standard package on the Dark Horse. Also, the Dark Horse comes with more aggressive standard rubber (Pirelli P-Zero tyres) and has a Torsen limited-slip differential, while the GT has a standard unit. The Handling Pack will include stiffer springs and wider tyres, while the Performance Pack on the GT will get you a drift hand brake, which is a standard on the Dark Horse.


Ford Mustang GT 2024

Image via Ford

Mustang GT vs. Dark Horse: Performance Metrics

All of the hardware and tuning that differentiate the S650 Mustang GT from the Dark Horse are cool and interesting, but the main question is how it performs on the street and what the performance gains are if you opt for a more powerful Dark Horse. Well, here is the answer. The 2024 Mustang GT with the Performance pack and 6-speed manual can zip to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds. However, this is not the quickest of the Mustang GTs since the 10-speed-equipped GT Convertible with the Performance Pack can sprint to 100 km/h in just 4 seconds flat, despite some 70 kg more. 


However, the Dark Horse's slight advantage in power, drivetrain hardware and suspension improvements pay off, and when equipped with a 3.73:1 rear end and 10-speed automatic, it will reach 100 km/h in just 3.7 seconds, which is blisteringly quick. When equipped with a 6-speed manual, the same manoeuvre is possible in 4.1 seconds. Interestingly, in its most potent version, the Dark Horse is just slightly slower to 100 km/h than the mighty 2020 Shelby GT500 with an insane 760 hp!


But, the standard GT is not totally inferior to the Dark Horse. If we compare the quarter mile times, the regular 5.0-litre GT is slightly faster. Even though it is only by 0.1 seconds (12.6 vs. 12.5 seconds), it is still enough to win a drag race. The reason for this is the difference in transmission since the Tremec-equipped Dark Horse has shorter gears than the Getrag-equipped Mustang GT. So when you are racing the quarter-mile strip, Dark Horse needs three shifts while GT only needs two, so it is faster to cover the 402 m distance. In terms of top speed, both models are limited to 250 km/h (155 mph), but when the limiter is removed, we can expect top speeds of around 270 km/h (170 mph). 


The Price difference between Mustang GT and Dark Horse


As you expected, the 2024 Mustang GT and the Dark Horse have a significant price difference. The base GT model in America is just over $41,000 (6-speed manual Fastback), while the base Dark Horse is $59,000. Both models have the option of Performance/Handling Package at $4,500. Undoubtedly, the Dark Horse is a more powerful, faster and cooler proposition but much more expensive. Is it worth the investment? It depends on the customer since the standard GT is almost as competent but much more affordable. When the s650 Mustangs launch in Australia (Q1-Q2 2024), the 2024 Mustang GT is expected to arrive standard with the performance pack and is estimated to set you back around $72,000 AUD + on roads. Whereas the 2024 Dark Horse Mustang, we can expect its price to be around $90,000 AUD + on roads, on the local market. At the time of writing this article, prices are still yet to be confirmed by  Ford Australia.


About the Author


Vukasin H.

Life-long car enthusiast, an experienced car journalist, blogger, classic car expert, and avid collector of all things automotive. Always on the lookout for innovative automotive tech, exciting barn finds, and twisty scenic route for that perfect early-morning drive.

16October 2023