For the second time in just a few days, spy photographers have captured a heavily camouflaged seventh-generation Ford Mustang prototype prowling the streets around Blue Oval headquarters in Dearborn. This time, we don't just have images. The lengthy spy video featured above offers an up-close look at the exterior, a glimpse of the interior, and some burbly V8 noise to remind us that internal combustion isn't dead yet.
The clip is a bit over three minutes long, following what we believe is a 2024 Mustang GT. The camera isn't shy about getting up close, and at the 1:30 mark we peer inside to find something surprising – a prominent Bullitt badge on the steering wheel. Some might conclude this is actually a Bullitt prototype, but that's highly unlikely considering the early stage of development. In all likelihood it's simply a parts bin item used for this prototype, but it's an interesting find nevertheless.
The video also lets us hear, without question, a V8 engine under the bonnet. We clearly hear it on a few occasions, though the best sound bite comes at the 2:28 mark during a brief acceleration run. The engine sounds deep and raspy, which has us wondering exactly what's under the bonnet. The familiar 5.0-litre seems a certainty, but a 6.8-litre V8 could be in the works as well. A major Canadian trade union official briefly mentioned such an engine for the Mustang back in 2020, though no specific comment or announcement ever surfaced from Ford on the matter.
Gallery: Next-Generation Ford Mustang Up-Close Spy Photos
As for the transmission, neither the video nor the photos are crystal clear on exactly how gear changes are being made. However, during the video's interior close-up, the driver appears to be moving something in the area where a shift stalk would be, just prior to pulling away from the camera. Some of the acceleration runs also have an audible pause after the initial throttle burst, though the sound quality isn't good enough to clearly identify a manual upshift. We can't definitively proclaim the presence of a manual transmission, but evidence in favour of three pedals and a stick is certainly compelling.
Along with the video comes a new set of spy photos capturing the same prototype. Aside from the V8 soundtrack, this car rides on the same wheels used by the current Mustang GT, lending further credence to this being a future GT test car. Heavy camouflage still covers the body, but look closely at the wings/fenders behind the front wheel. Two horizontal bumps are visible in the covers, suggesting some kind of vent could be hiding behind. We didn't notice this in our first Mustang prototype sighting, and that car also had smaller wheels. It's possible that was an entry-level EcoBoost 'Stang, with this being a gnarly V8-powered GT.
Don't expect full disclosure anytime soon. Sources suggest the seventh-generation Mustang will arrive for the 2024 model year. That means a debut could take place as early as the end of this year, but more likely, sometime in 2023.