It's no secret that the current-gen Mustang has its days numbered and that an all-new model is on the Horizon. Ford CEO Jim Farley recently said that he wants the new iteration of the cultural icon to be a true poster car, even if he won't say when it will debut or what secrets it hides. So it's important that we not forget that there's a Mustang still on sale today—and that it's getting a bit of special treatment for what could potentially be one of the final model updates of the current generation.
The 2022 Ford Mustang lineup adds a bit more show (and go) to existing fan favorites. For show, there's the ominous new Stealth Edition appearance package for pony cars with an EcoBoost engine under the hood. And as for the go, Ford is coupling its GT Performance package with the heritage-inspired California Special for the very first time.
The theme of the Stealth Edition is a darkened and "sinister" look, according to Ford. Black pony badges, black mirror caps, and black 19-inch wheels are appointed to every corner to help add a bit of mystery to the modern-day muscle car. A performance rear wing and clear LED taillamp covers (which are shared with the Mustang's Ice White appearance package) help to dress up the rear of the coupe.
Speaking of the interior, Ford also made several custom interior appointments exclusive to the Stealth Edition, including a matte and gloss black instrument panel badge, plus an illuminated sill plate. Finally, to stick with the theme, the package is only available when selecting Atlas Blue, Carbonized Gray, Dark Matter, or Shadow Black.
And yes, it's just an appearance package, but murdered-out muscle cars have been a trend for as long as there have been cars with muscle. A menacing update to Ford's EcoBoost Mustang won't net it another 150 ponies, but it sure as hell will make the fastback look good.
Onto the V8. Over the last decade, Ford has revived the iconic California Special Mustang as a tribute to the original package developed with Shelby American in 1968. Now, for the first time ever, Ford is adding the GT Performance package as an option for Cali-spec'd cars.
The California Special package is already around for the 2021 model year Mustang, meaning many of its visual add-ons won't come as a surprise to seasoned pony fans. Unique five-spoke 19-inch wheels, a special honeycomb grille, and heritage-inspired graphics immediately identify a California Special. Buyers who opt for the GT package get a bit more pizzaz thanks to a larger front splitter and performance rear wing.
While this is more than just an appearance package, it doesn't add any more ponies to the already ample 460-horsepower, 5.0-liter V8 under the hood, The GT Performance package is focused on improving the Mustang's handling by adding stopping power, suspension work, and stability.
To tighten up the car in the bends, Ford gave it a lower ride height with a stiffer spring rate. Additional rigidity was added with a K-member brace, subframe V-brace, strut tower brace, and tubular rear sway bar. Some extra grip is ensured thanks to the Torsen limited-slip differential, and stability control tuning unique to the car. Finally, six-pistol Brembo calipers are nestled behind the 19x9-inch front wheels for some extra stopping power, while a slightly wider 19x9.5 rear setup completes the staggered look of a muscle car.
Orders for the 2022 Ford Mustang, including both the new Stealth and California Special editions, will begin later this year but the actual cars won't arrive on dealer lots until early 2022.
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