Mustang-like and electrified. What did Ford just show a preview of?

Ford Mustang mystery teaser

The minute-long television commercial Ford released to mark the start of its new marketing campaign left us with more questions than answers. It’s not Bryan Cranston’s starring role that we’re curious about. We want to know more about the enigmatic, electric-looking, Mustang-like car shown 37 seconds into the video.

The ad briefly shows footage of a 2019 Mustang roaring down a desert road before cutting to an animation of its 5.0-liter V8 engine in action. The next scene introduces a car we’ve never seen before. It looks like a Mustang, but a body-colored panel with a back-lit emblem replaces the grille. These styling cues fall in line with the design language that nearly every car company — from Volkswagen to Mercedes-Benz — has adopted to characterize future electrified models.

This could be our first look at the gasoline-electric hybrid Mustang tentatively scheduled to make its debut in 2020. We know precious little about the car because Ford won’t release technical specifications until much closer to its on-sale date. It may not even be based on the current-generation car.

Another plausible possibility is that Ford has just given us an early look at the front of its electric, Mustang-inspired crossover. The model’s teaser campaign has already started, we saw a sketch of its shapely rear end in September 2018, so the ad could be the next installment. While placing a Mustang emblem on a crossover is a bold decision that risks diluting the model’s hard-earned image, Ford has openly stated the yet-unnamed car’s design will draw inspiration from the famous sports car.

“Mustang has a soul. It’s a balance of performance and design. If you can capitalize on the cachet and let that rub off on the rest of the portfolio, it’s a good thing,” Darrel Behmer, the Mustang’s chief engineer, explained in a recent interview with industry trade journal Automotive News.

Ford is leaving us in the dark. It hasn’t commented on the model shown in the ad. We could learn more about it in the coming months, either at the Los Angeles auto show, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), or at the Detroit auto show. And, whether it’s a Mustang or merely a Mustang-inspired crossover, the car will arrive in American showrooms in about 2020.

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