2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse Vs BMW M4

Ford's new 500-hp Mustang Dark Horse battles the updated BMW M4 to find the best two-door manual-transmission sports car.

Salman Chaudhary, Founder Pinkywheels.com

1/22/2024

Mustang Dark Horse vs BMW M4
Mustang Dark Horse vs BMW M4

2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse Vs BMW M4

The automotive world is witnessing a paradigm shift, with traditional rivals facing transitions and new contenders entering the scene. In this comparison, we delve into the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse and scrutinize its potential superiority over the revered BMW M4. Let's break down the key aspects to determine whether the Ford's Dark Horse truly stands as a formidable competitor to the BMW M4.

A Brief History of the Mustang

Before delving into the specifics of the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse, it's essential to appreciate the Mustang's legacy. As the pioneer of Pony cars, the Mustang made its debut in 1965, capturing the hearts of enthusiasts. Over the years, it has faced competition from the likes of the Camaro and Challenger. Fast forward to 2024, with the Challenger retired and the Camaro on its final year, the Mustang's competition landscape is changing. Car and Driver once labeled the S550 Mustang as a more affordable version of the BMW M4. Now, with the new S650 platform and the performance-oriented Dark Horse trim, the comparison gains renewed significance.

Exterior Features

The visual appeal of a sports car plays a crucial role in its allure. The 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse, dressed in Blue Ember, boasts a distinct exterior design. Full LED lighting, gunmetal gray finishes, and functional vents contribute to the Mustang's aggressive stance. The front grille evolves in a way that appeals to enthusiasts, featuring dual nostrils that complement the dual throttle bodies on the V8 engine. In comparison, the BMW M4 tends to embrace larger nostrils, prompting a debate on aesthetic preferences.

Wheel and Tire Setup

Wheels are not just for show; they impact performance. The Mustang Dark Horse showcases a 19-inch wheel design with six spokes, adorned with blueberry Brembo calipers. The staggered setup with 255-width tires in the front and 275-width tires in the rear enhances traction for this rear-wheel-drive beast. The optional handling package offers even stickier tires and lighter forged wheels, a feature that might sway performance-oriented buyers.

Interior, Technology and Comfort

Stepping inside, the Dark Horse surprises with its blend of comfort and technology. The interior features alcantara, blue leather, and a carbon fiber-style design. The 13.9-inch infotainment system, though not the reviewer's favorite, offers SYNC 4 software. The Mustang's digital cluster provides customization options for track apps, ambient lighting, and various cluster themes. Comparatively, the M4's interior might be more refined, but the Mustang aims to offer a driver-centric experience with a touch of American muscle flair.

2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse:

1. 13.9-Inch Infotainment System: The Mustang Dark Horse features a large 13.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system, providing a visually impressive display for various functions.

2. SYNC 4 Software: The infotainment system runs on SYNC 4 software, offering modern connectivity, smartphone integration, and navigation capabilities.

3. Customization Options: The system allows for customization of track apps, ambient lighting, and cluster themes, providing a personalized driving experience.

4. Instrument Cluster Display: The 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster provides clear and crisp visuals, allowing easy access to essential driving information.

BMW M4:

1. Advanced Head-Up Display: The BMW M4 may offer an advanced head-up display, projecting essential information onto the windshield, enhancing driver convenience and safety.

2. iDrive Infotainment System: BMW's iDrive system is known for its user-friendly interface, intuitive controls, and responsiveness, contributing to a positive user experience.

3. ConnectedDrive Services: The M4 may come equipped with BMW's ConnectedDrive services, offering additional features such as remote vehicle control and real-time traffic information.

4. Harman Kardon Audio System: Optional high-quality audio systems, such as the Harman Kardon setup, provide an immersive listening experience for occupants.

Mustang Dark Horse vs BMW M4
Mustang Dark Horse vs BMW M4

Powertrain

The heart of any sports car defines its essence. The Mustang Dark Horse packs a 5.0L V8 engine with dual throttle bodies, producing 500 horsepower and 418 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a Tremec six-speed manual transmission, the Mustang accelerates from 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds and achieves a top speed of 168 mph. The BMW M4, equipped with a 3.0L inline-six, generates over 470 horsepower. The choice between the two depends on whether one prefers the visceral growl of a V8 or the refined power delivery of a twin-turbocharged inline-six.

2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse:

1. 5.0L V8 Engine: The Dark Horse is powered by a robust 5.0-liter V8 engine, producing 500 horsepower and 418 lb-ft of torque, delivering a visceral and powerful performance.

2. Dual Throttle Bodies: Equipped with dual throttle bodies and airboxes, the engine enhances air intake efficiency, contributing to responsive acceleration and a thrilling driving experience.

3. Tremec Six-Speed Manual Transmission: The Dark Horse offers an engaging driving experience with a Tremec six-speed manual transmission, featuring short throws and crisp engagement for enthusiasts who prefer manual control.

4. Quick Acceleration: Achieving 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, the Dark Horse exhibits quick acceleration, showcasing the potency of its V8 powerplant.

BMW M4:

1. Inline-Six Engine: The M4 is powered by an inline-six engine, delivering a blend of performance and efficiency, producing over 470 horsepower and offering a more refined power delivery.

2. Twin Turbocharging: The M4 features twin turbochargers, optimizing power output across the RPM range, providing smooth acceleration and performance.

3. Transmission Options: Buyers have the flexibility to choose between a six-speed manual or a zf8-speed automatic transmission, catering to those who prefer manual control or automated shifting.

4. Acceleration Performance: The M4 offers competitive acceleration, though specific figures may vary based on the chosen transmission and model variant.

On the Road

The true measure of a sports car lies in its on-road performance. The Mustang Dark Horse excels in delivering a visceral driving experience. The reviewer commends its improved chassis dynamics, quickened steering, and enhanced overall handling. With a limited-slip differential, 373 gears, and massive Brembo brakes on all four corners, the Dark Horse is poised for spirited driving. The manual transmission, with short throws and crisp engagement, outshines the M4's shifter, which is criticized for its rubbery feel.

Fuel Economy

When it comes to fuel efficiency, the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse achieves an estimated 14 MPG in the city and 23 MPG on the highway. In comparison, the 2024 BMW M4 Competition Coupe showcases a slightly improved fuel efficiency of 16 MPG in the city and maintains the same 23 MPG on the highway. The fuel tank volume for the Mustang Dark Horse is 16 gallons, providing ample capacity for extended drives, while the BMW M4 comes with a slightly smaller 15.6-gallon fuel tank.

Comparative Pricing

While the BMW M4 undoubtedly offers a luxurious and refined driving experience, the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse brings an intriguing proposition to the table. With a base price around $63,000 and the handling package pushing it closer to $66,000, the Dark Horse is significantly more affordable than the M4, which can reach around $90,000. The price difference raises the question: does the Dark Horse offer a better bang for the buck?

Pros of the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse:

1. Powerful V8 Performance: The 5.0L V8 engine, generating 500 horsepower and 418 lb-ft of torque, delivers a raw and exhilarating driving experience.

2. Aggressive Exterior Design: The Mustang Dark Horse boasts an aggressive stance with unique styling elements, such as dual nostrils and functional vents, setting it apart from competitors.

3. Competitive Pricing: With a base price around $63,000, the Dark Horse offers impressive performance at a more accessible price point compared to competitors like the BMW M4.

4. Improved Chassis Dynamics: Enhanced steering and handling, especially in track-oriented driving, provide a more engaging and responsive driving experience.

Cons of the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse:

1. Limited Interior Technology: While the infotainment system is functional, some may find it less intuitive compared to competitors, lacking physical buttons for essential controls.

2. Interior Material Quality: While upgraded, the interior materials may not match the luxury feel of competitors like the BMW M4, compromising on overall interior refinement.

3. Limited Rear Seat Space: The rear seats, though present, may lack the space and comfort found in some competitors, limiting practicality for passengers.

4. Touchscreen Dependency: Accessing various controls, including climate and seat settings, relies heavily on the touchscreen, which may be less convenient for some users compared to physical controls.

Mustang Dark Horse vs BMW M4
Mustang Dark Horse vs BMW M4

Pros of the BMW M4:

1. Refined Interior: The M4 offers a more luxurious and refined interior with high-quality materials, providing a premium feel and comfort for occupants.

2. Sophisticated Driving Experience: The inline-six engine, coupled with advanced technology, delivers a smooth and sophisticated driving experience suitable for both daily commutes and spirited drives.

3. Available Advanced Technology: The M4 may feature more advanced technology options, including a head-up display, enhancing the overall driving and ownership experience.

4. Brand Prestige: The BMW brand brings a long-standing reputation for performance and luxury, contributing to the prestige associated with owning a BMW M4.

Cons of the BMW M4:

1. Higher Price Point: The BMW M4 typically comes with a higher starting price, potentially placing it out of reach for buyers on a tighter budget.

2. Heavier Weight: Over the years, the M4 has gained weight, affecting overall agility and performance compared to lighter competitors.

3. Less Aggressive Styling: Some enthusiasts may find the M4's design less aggressive or distinctive compared to rivals, like the Mustang Dark Horse.

4. Potential for Electrical Issues: Historically, BMWs, including the M4, have faced occasional electrical issues, which could impact long-term reliability and ownership costs.

FAQs

What sets the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse apart from its competitors, specifically the BMW M4?

The Mustang Dark Horse distinguishes itself with a powerful 5.0L V8 engine, dual throttle bodies, and aggressive styling. Its performance-oriented features and competitive pricing make it a formidable contender against the BMW M4.

How does the exterior design of the Mustang Dark Horse compare to the BMW M4?

The Mustang Dark Horse exhibits an aggressive stance with full LED lighting, gunmetal gray finishes, and functional vents. The front grille evolution, dual nostrils, and distinctive color options contribute to its visual appeal, offering an alternative to the BMW M4's design.

What wheel and tire setup does the Mustang Dark Horse feature, and how does it impact performance?

The Dark Horse sports a 19-inch wheel design with six spokes, Brembo calipers, and staggered tire sizes (255-width in the front, 275-width in the rear). The optional handling package provides stickier tires and lighter forged wheels, enhancing traction and overall performance.

How does the interior of the Mustang Dark Horse balance comfort and technology?

The Dark Horse interior features alcantara, blue leather, and a carbon fiber-style design. Its 13.9-inch infotainment system, though not the reviewer's favorite, offers SYNC 4 software with customization options. The Mustang aims to provide a driver-centric experience with a touch of American muscle flair.

What distinguishes the Mustang Dark Horse's engine and transmission setup?

Under the hood, the Dark Horse boasts a 5.0L V8 engine with dual throttle bodies, producing 500 horsepower and 418 lb-ft of torque. Paired with a Tremec six-speed manual transmission, it accelerates from 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds. The reviewer highlights the visceral experience of the V8, challenging the refined power delivery of the BMW M4's inline-six.

How does the Mustang Dark Horse perform on the road, and what improvements does it bring over previous models?

The Dark Horse excels in delivering a visceral driving experience with improved chassis dynamics, quickened steering, and enhanced handling. The reviewer praises its manual transmission for short throws and crisp engagement, outshining the BMW M4's shifter, criticized for its rubbery feel.

What is the comparative pricing between the Mustang Dark Horse and the BMW M4?

The Mustang Dark Horse presents an attractive proposition with a base price around $63,000 and the handling package pushing it closer to $66,000. This pricing significantly undercuts the BMW M4, which can reach around $90,000, making the Dark Horse an intriguing option for those seeking performance on a budget.

How does the Mustang Dark Horse balance affordability with performance?

The Mustang Dark Horse offers a compelling combination of aggressive styling, powerful V8 performance, and a more accessible price point compared to the BMW M4. It raises the question of whether it provides a better value proposition for enthusiasts seeking a raw and exhilarating driving experience.

What are the key considerations for potential buyers deciding between the Mustang Dark Horse and the BMW M4?

Potential buyers should consider their preferences for driving experience, design aesthetics, interior features, and budget constraints. The Mustang Dark Horse appeals to those seeking a visceral and powerful performance, while the BMW M4 offers a more refined driving experience and luxurious interior.

Conclusion

In the eternal debate between American muscle and German precision, the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse makes a compelling case for itself. With a blend of aggressive styling, powerful V8 performance, and a more accessible price point, it challenges the dominance of the BMW M4. While the M4 may appeal to those seeking a more refined driving experience and luxurious interior, the Dark Horse offers a raw and exhilarating alternative. The final decision boils down to personal preferences, driving priorities, and the budget one is willing to allocate for their sports car dreams.

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