While the new Ferrari Purosangue plays sobriety on the digitalization of its cockpit, it is quite the opposite with the seventh generation Ford Mustang. The one nicknamed Pony Car has focused on advanced infotainment, at the risk of disappointing the purists of the muscle car which celebrates its 58th anniversary and 10 million copies sold worldwide.
In 2018, we took control of the sixth generation of the Mustang in convertible version and a taste of this future digitization of the cabin was already being felt.
Thus, the famous instrument cluster with its needle counters gave way to a 12-inch screen (30.5 cm diagonal) customizable and rather well integrated behind the steering wheel. This was not the case with the 8-inch (20.3 cm diagonal) central capacitive touch screen (Panasonic), with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels positioned below the dashboard vents. It forced the driver to look away from the road.
“We exploit every pixel”claims Craig Sandvig, responsible for the design of the human / machine interface of the Ford Mustang, to explain this XXL digitization.
Thus, comfortably seated in his semi-bucket seat, the driver faces a new flat steering wheel, whose central hub is now octagonal instead of round. But it’s the long slab running along the dashboard that catches the eye. This is divided into two parts: the first of 12.4 inches (31.49 cm diagonal) acts as a customizable instrument cluster; the second 13.2-inch (33.52 cm diagonal) screen, facing the driver, is the heart of the Ford system.
The latter is based on the in-house SYNC4 platform, called SYNC New Generation on the Ford Mustang Mach-e. From this screen, the driver can interact with the car, in particular on the parameters displayed on a virtual Mustang, which can be rotated as desired with the fingers. Thanks to 3D Unreal Engine, the well-known graphics tool in the video game sector.
Modernity requires, this infotainment is compatible with CarPlay, Android Auto and natively integrates Amazon Alexa to access the Ford Streaming function. Finally, software updates, aka Ford Power-ups, will be done remotely or over the air (OTA).
The driver assistance component (ADAS) is provided by the Ford Co-Pilot360. We find the recognition of speed signs, intelligent adaptive cruise control (ACC +) with the Stop & Go function, keeping in the middle of the central lane, evasive maneuver or braking assistance. In addition, a function against potholes is added “which constantly monitors the suspension, steering and braking and adjusts the suspension response accordingly”.
It remains to be seen whether the aficionados will succumb to this ultra-connected Mustang, which seems to be eagerly awaited by customers, in particular by generations Y and Z, as well as traditional Mustang drivers according to Ricardo Garcia, director of interior design, Ford Motor Company. The latter explains “that it was about designing the most connected Mustang ever, while retaining that driver-centric cockpit […] It is important that customers like it and it is the bridge to the future of Mustang”.
Unlike the previous generation, many of the physical controls have been integrated into the digital display. Those refractory to this digitization will still be able to console themselves with the legendary sound of the 5-litre V8 or the “small” 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbo.