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What’s New for the 2018 Mustang?

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The Mustang receives a mid-cycle refresh for 2018, and that means two things: some of us will be buying one, while others will be looking out for wrecked and damaged cars to harvest parts for our projects. Here’s what has changed for this model.

No More V6

To the surprise of no one, Ford has dropped this rental car staple. While this engine had some fans who prefer naturally aspirated power, the tunability of the Ecoboost makes it a much better performance platform.

Updated V8

The good news: The revised Coyote gets a healthy increase in power, making 460 hp and 420 lb-ft. of torque. The bad news: the modifications made to get this power aren’t going to be easy to adapt to older engines.

Central to the engine’s updates is a new “Dual Fuel” system that uses two sets of injectors: most fuel is added by a set inside the intake manifold, while direct injectors add a rich mixture area next to the spark plug to help ignition. This provides most of the fuel economy and combustion temperature benefits of a pure direct injection system without needing a massive mechanical fuel pump.

Thanks to the lower cylinder temperatures, Ford was able to increase the compression ratio from 11:1 to 12:1. The engine is also lighter thanks to its use of a cylinder lining process introduced on the GT350’s Voodoo V8. This hardens the surface of the aluminum block, eliminating the need for iron cylinder sleeves.


The Ecoboost adds 20 lb-ft. of torque for a total output of 310 hp and 350 lb-ft. of torque. Throttle response has been significantly improved and that added torque comes on early in the RPM range.

Option Packages

Available with the Ecoboost and V8, the Performance Package adds bigger brakes, 19 inch wheels, Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S performance tires, a shorter final drive ratio, larger radiator, stiffer springs and a bigger rear anti-sway bar. The brakes are designed to withstand track abuse, but they perform slightly worse than the standard brakes on the street due to a touchy pedal and slightly longer stopping distances.

The Premium Package adds a lot of creature comforts, including a fully digital gauge cluster with Track Apps which can measure performance metrics including 0-60 mph, ¼ mile, G forces and stopping distances.


This year, the Mustang gets new shock absorbers, new cross-axis joint in the rear suspension and revised stabilizer bars for better ride and handling. MagneRide shocks are now standard with the performance package. These tunable shocks provide the sharp handling of the previous performance suspension with far better ride quality.

Manual Transmission

The 6-speed manual in V8 models now has a twin disc clutch and dual mass flywheel, features previously found only on the GT350. Launch control is now included with cars that come equipped with all manual transmissions.

New 10 Speed Automatic

The 10R80 transmission was co-developed with GM and is already being used in Ford’s Ecoboost 3.5l trucks including the Raptor. An extremely low 4.69:1 first gear and three overdrive gears with ratios ranging from 0.85:1 to 0.63:1 give this new transmission an extremely wide range, making it suited for both high efficiency cruising and serious acceleration. At 235 lbs, it’s just a few pounds heavier than the outgoing 6R80 6 speed automatic.

The TCU’s adaptive learning cycle fine-tunes shift points to your driving style, and the transmission can skip gears when down-shifting to deliver power immediately when you need it. A new Drag Strip mode available on Performance Package cars that allows full engine power to be applied during shifts, resulting in a 0-60 time of just under four seconds for the V8 and under 5 seconds for the four cylinder. This is faster than what can be achieved with the manual transmissions.

The “80” refers to a maximum torque capacity of 800 N-m, which is about 590 lb-ft, although real world performance is probably well beyond this rating: GM is using this transmission in the Camaro ZL1, which has an engine making 640 lb-ft. of torque. This may soon become a favorite transmission for high power street builds.

Want More from Your Mustang?

Anderson Ford Motorsport has been tuning and racing Mustangs since the dawn of the Fox body era, so we know what works. Whether you have a new Mustang, an old one, or a build that combines Mustang performance parts from different eras, we can help you get the performance you want.

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