Ford has an early gift for fans of performance this holiday season. Official horsepower numbers are in for the seventh-generation Mustang, and as expected, the new Dark Horse model leads the way with an even 500 horsepower and 418 pound-feet of torque. However, the GT isn't far behind with an official rating of 480 hp. Add an optional exhaust upgrade and power rises to 486 ponies. EcoBoost models receive a slight bump to 315 hp.

While there have been more powerful Mustang models through the years, the fourth-generation Coyote V8 in the Dark Horse is the most powerful naturally aspirated 5.0-liter production engine ever offered by Ford. It wields upgraded internals, namely forged connecting rods, a unique balanced crankshaft, and strengthed camshafts. In addition to a modest power increase, the changes help the Mustang Dark Horse enjoy its 7,500-rpm redline.

2024 Ford Mustang V8 Engine

This fourth-generation Coyote mill also resides in the GT. Its standard 480-hp rating matches recent iterations of the Mustang Bullitt and Mach 1, thanks to a new dual throttle body design. You'll need to select the optional active performance exhaust system to get the 486-hp peak, though. Torque is up to 418 lb-ft with the exhaust upgrade, or 415 lb-ft without it. Power ratings are the same for cars with automatic or manual transmissions.

Buyers considering the base model 'Stang get a turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that Ford says is all-new. Even though displacement is the same, the mill has a new bore-to-stroke ratio, a new direct injection system, and a plethora of other changes for a bit more power while also targeting better fuel economy. With 315 hp and 350 lb-ft of twist, it's officially the most powerful base-model Mustang Ford has ever offered.

Gallery: 2024 Ford Mustang

"Mustang has always pushed the envelope," said Ford Mustang Chief Engineer Ed Krenz. "From Mustang GT to Dark Horse, this is our best 5.0-liter V8 yet. It’s naturally aspirated awesomeness. And Mustang EcoBoost fans are also getting a boost in power to make every Mustang more fun and visceral to drive."

Expect the seventh-generation 2024 Mustang to reach dealerships in the summer of 2023. In the meantime, check out Ford and other automakers with a 2022 Star Awards recap in the Rambling About Cars podcast, available below.

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