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For 2018, Ford turns the Mustang into a meaner, more high-tech horse

Why it matters to you

Ford is embracing technology across its entire line, including the iconic pony car known more for its brawn than brains.

Following a leak, Ford has officially introduced the updated 2018 Mustang. The car receives a more muscular look and new tech features inside, but the V6-powered model has been dropped for the next model year.

The mid-cycle update brings new sheet metal from the A-pillar forward. The headlights are smaller than the ones on the current model and they each get three short strips of LED daytime running lights. It’s a modern interpretation of one of the original Mustang’s defining styling cues that cleverly provides the 2018 model with a new lighting signature. A redesigned bumper, a lower hood, and horizontal turn signals round out the updates up front.

More: A hybrid Mustang and an electric SUV are just the start of Ford’s electric lineup

Moving to the back end, the changes are largely limited to a revised bumper and redesigned LED taillights. New alloy wheel designs, several additions to the color palette, and a bigger spoiler that is available at an extra cost round out the major updates.

The Mustang is one of the first Ford products offered with a digital instrument cluster. The optional 12-inch LCD unit offers three separate views that are fully configurable. It can be set up to display different information for the normal, sport, and track driving modes. Ford points out that even the Mustang’s exhaust note can be personalized via an optional active-valve exhaust system.

As expected, the naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V6 engine has been dropped from the Mustang lineup. The pony’s car entry-level engine becomes a turbocharged, 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder. Enthusiasts who want more power can step up to the GT model, which is powered by the Blue Oval’s 5.0-liter Coyote V8 engine. The mill has been comprehensively re-engineered and it now uses both direct and port fuel-injection systems to deliver more power and better gas mileage. However, Ford won’t publish fuel economy or performance figures until closer to the Mustang’s on-sale date.

Transmission options include an enthusiast-friendly, six-speed manual transmission and a brand-new 10-speed automatic that replaces the current car’s six-speed unit. Ford promises the 10-speed delivers better low-speed response and reduced friction losses. Real-time adaptive shift scheduling ensures the transmission is always in the right gear, though steering wheel-mounted shift paddles are available for drivers who want to give their fingers a good workout.

The Mustang is all about performance, but Ford has packed more high-tech features into its iconic pony car than ever before. The list of available electronic driving aids has been expanded to include pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, distance alert, a lane-departure warning system, and lane-keeping assist. Owners can use a smartphone application named FordPass to start, lock, unlock, and locate their car. Finally, the optional Mustang Performance Package includes an adaptive suspension named MagneRide borrowed from the Shelby GT350.

The 2018 Ford Mustang will go on sale worldwide in the fall. Pricing information and full technical specifications will be released a few weeks before it lands in showrooms.