If diehard Ford fans thought the idea of a four-cylinder Mustang was tough to comprehend, who knows what they will make of this radical idea to appeal to fuel misers and meet tightening emissions regulations.
Respected British magazine Autocar claims the next Ford Mustang – due to be unveiled in 2022 – will have the option of hybrid power. The good news? Two electric motors will still be paired to a V8 – to create an all-wheel-drive version.
Under the plan revealed exclusively by Autocar, the petrol V8 would drive the rear wheels (as it does in today's Ford Mustang) and each of the front wheels would be powered by an electric motor.
According to Autocar, the Mustang's proposed hybrid system is similar to one revealed in a Ford patent filed in 2017. It will be the biggest change to the Mustang since the introduction of the original version (pictured above alongside a current model).
The hybrid system is said to be able to shut off the V8 in certain situations, enabling pure electric motoring over short distances and trimming overall fuel consumption,
Ford indicated in 2017 that the Mustang muscle car and F-150 pick-up would eventually adopt hybrid power, however those plans were reportedly put on the back burner while the company expedited development of the all-electric Mustang Mach-E SUV (pictured below).
Ford has not commented on the Autocar report about a hybrid V8 all-wheel-drive Mustang, however it appears to be well-informed speculation.
If the report turns out to be true, it is unlikely this will be the only engine option for the next generation Ford Mustang.
In Australia, the Ford Mustang is available with a 2.3-litre turbo four-cylinder (236kW/448Nm), a 5.0-litre V8 (339kW/556Nm) and a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 (522kW/830Nm) in the limited edition Ford Mustang R-Spec (pictured below). In the US there are two other V8s and a V6 option.
Autocar reported that the 2022 Ford Mustang – codenamed S650 – will have an evolutionary rather the revolutionary design update, with styling said to be influenced by the Mach-E electric SUV.
The current Ford Mustang's four-seat layout is likely to continue, the magazine reported, with the hybrid system's battery pack said to be neatly integrated into the chassis without impacting cabin space.
Both coupe and convertible body styles are due to be carried over to the next generation Ford Mustang, as are left- and right-hand-drive configurations.
Autocar say it believes the S650 Mustang will be unveiled in 2022 ahead of a showroom arrival in 2023.
The arrival of a new generation Ford Mustang will be a welcome sight in Australia, given that it recently posted its lowest month of sales since going on sale here in late 2015. However, the Ford Mustang remains the country's best-selling sports car by a significant margin.
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