Ford has an early gift for fans of performance this holiday season. Official horsepower numbers are in for the seventh-generation Mustang, and as expected, the new Dark Horse model leads the way with an even 500 bhp and 418 pound-feet of torque. However, the GT isn't far behind with an official rating of 480 bhp. Add an optional exhaust upgrade and power rises to 486 ponies. EcoBoost models receive a slight bump to 315 bhp.

While there have been more powerful Mustang models through the years, the fourth-generation Coyote V8 in the Dark Horse is the most powerful naturally aspirated 5.0-litre production engine ever offered by Ford. It wields upgraded internals, namely forged connecting rods, a unique balanced crankshaft, and strengthened camshafts. In addition to bumping the power slightly, the engine is able to better withstand extended time at its 7,500-rpm redline.

Gallery: Ford Mustang (2023)

The fourth-generation Coyote also holds station in the GT, matching the 480 bhp previously offered in the Mustang Bullitt. The Mach 1 carried the same rating before getting a revision to 470 bhp. A new dual throttle body design helps the latest Coyote crank out its power, though you'll need to select the optional active performance exhaust system to get the 486-bhp peak. Torque is up to 418 lb-ft, or 415 lb-ft with the standard-issue V8.

"Mustang has always pushed the envelope," said Ford Mustang Chief Engineer Ed Krenz. "From Mustang GT to Dark Horse, this is our best 5.0-litre V8 yet. It’s naturally aspirated awesomeness. And Mustang EcoBoost fans are also getting a boost in power to make every Mustang more fun and visceral to drive."