Follow along as we break down the key differences between the S550 Mustang and the S650 Mustang.
The S550 Mustang brought forth a whole new look for the Ford Mustang, ushering in a new wave of enthusiasts from across the globe. With a more unique design, the famous American muscle car had a new look and the performance to compete at levels never seen before. What was once a vehicle that was mainly used for drag racing through the past decades, the Ford Mustang was now known for its road-racing capabilities, thanks to the S550.
With the release of the seventh-generation Mustang, codenamed the S650, it is apparent that Ford is doubling down on raw, V8 performance. As other manufacturers were releasing new electric versions of their flagship muscle cars, such as the Dodge Challenger, Ford Motor Company was stunning the world with the new 500-horsepower, V8 Ford Mustang Darkhorse.
Let’s take a look at the differences between the S550 and S650 to give you a better idea of what you can expect from the new Mustang.
In 2018, with the facelift of the S550, a Gen 3 Coyote V8 was unveiled for the Ford Mustang GT. This upgrade gave the 5.0 engine 25 more horsepower and 20 more lb-ft of torque. While these power increases were nominal, when paired with the all-new 10R80 transmission, it created an impressive driving experience not commonly seen from automatic-equipped Mustangs.
Fast forward to 2024, and Ford has upped the ante again with another revision to the 5.0L dubbed the Gen 4 Coyote. Now unlike other re-designs in the past, this new 4th generation looked much different than its predecessor thanks to the all-new dual throttle body setup. From 2015-2023, each Coyote generation sported a single throttle body and intake tubing setup. So when popping the hood on an S650 GT, you might do a double-take when you see two intake tubes.
Notably, those who choose to go with the new Darkhorse Mustang will get a modified version of the Gen 4 Coyote, boosting the power levels to a ground-pounding 500 horsepower.
For those looking at the gas-sipping EcoBoost Mustang, you will get to enjoy a newly upgraded EcoBoost engine in the 2024 4-cylinder S650. Featuring a new Modular Power Cylinder engine architecture, you will get improved performance, equating to an additional 5 extra horsepower compared to the 2018-2023 EcoBoost.
When it comes to exterior styling, the S550 can be broken up between two different iterations as Ford gave the S550 a facelift for 2018. For this comparison, we are going to look at the 2018+ S550 vs. the 2024 S650 Mustang to make things easy.
Taking a look at the front end of the Mustang S650, we see many differences between the S550 model year, as well as some similarities.
Headlights - Perhaps one of the most stand-out features of the new Mustang is the redesigned headlights. For years, Ford has used a round, projector-style headlight in their pony cars, staying on par with most new cars on the road. The S550 features a round projector headlight with three accent daytime running lights, an ode to the Mustang heritage. On the S650, Ford went to a completely different level with a triple pod configuration and a tri-bar LED accent DRL setup. The headlight housings themselves are much sleeker, providing a more modern look for the 7th Gen Mustang.
Grille - On the 2024 Mustang Ford made a pretty obvious change to the previous S550 grille. Simply comparing the two side by side, it's as if Ford flipped the grille upside down for the S650 and added some “nostrils” that have become popular throughout the S197 and S550 generations.
Hood - Comparing the hood on the S650 vs. the S550, we can see that the two-vent style hood as seen in 2018-2023 has been toned down to a single vent hood, closer to the front bumper. While many have expressed their opinions about this hood resembling the Camaro or Corvette hood vent, we believe this is an ode to the S197 Shelby GT500 hood vents.
Bumper - The bumper difference from the S550 to S650 is pretty astounding as Ford made an interesting switch halfway through the S550 generation. From 2015-2017, the front bumper sported a smooth transition near the fog light opening whereas the 2018-2023 sported an edgier front bumper, reminiscent of the Mustang Mach 1, Shelby GT350, and Shelby GT500. It seems as if Ford blended these two for the S650, making the harsh lines smoother and removing the bumper lights and fog lights in favor of a classic honeycomb grille.
Trunk - The rear of the S650 Mustang is one of the most stand-out features of the entire vehicle. The styling of the trunk and taillights is something we have never seen before, drawing plenty of conversation across social media and the Mustang forums. The S650 trunk is built to stick out further past the rear decklid as before and Ford has seemed to ditch the classic black trunk trim panel.
Taillights - While the taillights still feature the iconic tri-bar look dating back years into the Mustang heritage, they have taken on a new shape to contour the new angled trunk. This has created a never-before-seen taillight for the Mustang, further showcasing Ford’s attention to detail in design on this Mustang.
Rear Valance - The rear valance seems to have been brought up higher as well on the S650 while still sporting the classic dual exhaust and low-mount reverse light. We are sure that this is going to be an area that many enthusiasts choose to upgrade.
The interior of the S650 is one of the most talked about upgrades of the 7th Gen Mustang. With so many changes coming for the 2024 Mustang, it is best if we break these down by the most popular upgrades.
Infotainment - For the first time in Mustang history, we are seeing a dual-screen cluster, similar to BMW’s ID8 infotainment system. With a 12.3” and 13.2” digital cluster coming standard on the new Mustang, it sure is an upgrade from the optional 12.3” digital gauge cluster found on the S550s. Ford has also brought over SYNC 4 to the S650, a notable upgrade as Ford has been using SYNC 4 in other models for a couple of years.
Dash - To accommodate the beautiful new infotainment system, Ford has redesigned the dash for the S650, removing many of the manual buttons, and adding them to the infotainment system. With the larger screens, the A/C vents have been moved to the center of the dash, which is a drastically new look from years past.
Steering Wheel - An exciting new feature found standard on the S650 is a flat bottom steering wheel. These styles of steering wheels have been found in race-inspired vehicles for years and were recently used in the 2020 GT500s. According to Ford engineer Ed Krenz, the circumference steering wheel is larger as well.
Electronic Drift Feature - If you have opted for the Performance Package S650, you will get an EDB or Electronic Drift Brake. The EDB is an emergency brake that has been optimized for drifting. With drifting becoming more mainstream, it seems that Ford is leaning into more motorsports platforms and making the Mustang more track-ready for a variety of enthusiasts.
Image Via Ford.com
Fox Body Gauges - While it may not mean a lot to everyone, as Fox Body enthusiasts here at LMR, we are especially excited to see Ford’s tribute to one of their most popular platforms. Hidden within the factory gauge settings is an option to give your speedometer gauges a retro feel, mimicking the popular 1987-1993 Mustang gauges. With Ford leaning into more and more Fox Body parts lately, we are excited to see what they may have up their sleeves!
A big highlight for the S650 is the upgrade in how the car feels and handles. For those who have been lucky enough to get their hands on the S650, most can attest to the quicker steering feel. In the S550 Mustangs, there is a joint in the steering column for vibration. This has been reportedly removed for the S650. The steering gear ratio was increased along with an overall steering rack capacity upgrade for better steering response. It seems that Ford is fine-tuning the Mustang to be a car that can go from daily driving to road-course ready with little to no modifications.
Image Via Ford.com
As far as suspension goes, it is reported that the S650 Mustang has gotten “significant upgrades” over the current model. Taking cues from the Raptor programs, Ford has equipped certain trim 2024 Mustangs with the next-generation Magneride suspension system. As you may remember, Magneride was previously only featured on premium trim packages and special editions like the Bullitt and Mach 1.
As Mustang enthusiasts, we are pleased to see Ford sticking with a manual transmission option for the 2024 Mustang. For those who want to manually shift gears in their S650, you can enjoy the same MT82-D4 6-speed that was found in the 2018-2023 Mustangs. This will feature the same rev-matching feature as well for those of you who want to hoon a bit.
On the automatic transmission equipped S650s, the legendary 10R80 will be carried over from the S550, making it hard to beat when compared to manually shifting the new Mustangs. This transmission has proven itself over the past few years to be one of the best automatic transmissions Ford has ever produced for the Mustang.
As one of the most popular sports cars of all time, Ford has done a superb job of raising the bar year after year with the Mustang. The S650 has showcased Ford’s dedication to the enthusiasts and the hobby of car modding. As Ford continues to release more and more high-performance versions of the S650, we can see that they are looking to compete at a higher level of racing while keeping consumers happy with high-powered, streetable versions of the Mustang.
We here at LMR are excited to dig into our 2024 Mustang and start offering the best parts for you to make your S650 unique. Stay tuned for more content coming soon!
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