The 2024 Ford Mustang doesn’t get a new platform, but it changes a lot on the inside. The Mustang graduates from the Sync 3 to the Sync 4 infotainment system, and every model comes with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 13.4-inch touchscreen that can be combined under a single piece of glass.
On Monday, Motor Authority visited Farmington Hills, Michigan, to check out the new system and how it works. Bottom line, it moves the Mustang to the top of the class for connectivity, it controls old and new performance functions, and its video game graphics should delight tech fans.
Sync 4 is already in use in some other Ford products, but this is the first time it will be used in the Mustang, where it will get its own skin and several of those aforementioned performance features. It has twice the processing power as Sync 3, can be updated over the air automatically or on a schedule, and uses the Unreal Engine computer graphics popularized by first-person shooter video games. This software allows for several graphics animations that accompany modes and other functions, at least one of which can be manipulated on the touchscreen.
The Sync 4 system affects the graphics on both the instrument cluster and touchscreen. Here’s how.
2024 Ford Mustang digital instrument cluster
Five graphics themes are available for the instrument cluster (IP):
- Fox Body ’87-’93
The themes match the car’s drive modes for the most part, though there is no Calm drive mode; the Slippery drive mode uses the Normal theme; Drag Strip drive mode uses the Track theme; and drivers can choose any theme for the six available Custom drive modes.
The IP also has a digital tach and speedometer, as well as a central display with 10 information views, nine of which can be chosen to display via settings in the touchscreen. The Driver Assistance screen is always there, but drivers can also choose to see basics such as trip meters, fuel economy, and gauge readouts.
2024 Ford Mustang touchscreen performance functions
The Sync 4 system does away with most of the hard buttons, and only a row of six buttons sits below a pair of air vents located below the center screen. One of those buttons is a star that can be programmed to activate launch control. Other buttons include an auto hold function for stop lights, the exhaust setting, a rev match feature for cars with the 6-speed manual transmission, or the Calm IP screen. The only climate control button is a windshield defroster. The rest of the climate control settings sit along the bottom edge of the touchscreen at all times, even when Apple CarPlay or Android Auto are in use.
Another hard button is a Mustang pony icon that automatically activates the MyMustang screen, which itself is home to the following control adjustments:
- Digital gauge cluster layout for the touchscreen that lets drivers choose three- or five-gauge displays from nine possible gauges. Those gauges are: engine oil pressure, inlet air temperature, vacuum, battery voltage, engine oil temperature, accelerometer, air/fuel ratio, axle oil temperature, and cylinder head temperature.
- MyColor: primary and secondary color settings for the digital screens, plus a choice of 28 colors of ambient lighting.
- IP cluster theme
- Exhaust mode
- Custom drive modes with up to six possible profiles
The drive modes are chosen on the left side of the steering wheel. Setting a Custom drive mode through the center screen first asks the driver to pick a mode upon which the settings will be based. From there, drivers can make the following adjustments:
- Dampers: normal, sport, track, or drag
- Steering: comfort, normal, sport, sport+, or track
- Exhaust sound: quiet, normal, sport, or track
- Stability control: On or off
- Auto start/stop: On or off
- IP theme: See above
Some of the individual settings won’t be available based on what drive mode is used as the basis for that custom setting.
MyMustang is also home to the car’s nine Track Apps. They are:
- Acceleration timer: Measures 0-30 mph, 0-60 mph, 0-100 mph, ¼-mile, and 1/8-mile times. Also has three start types that consist of automatic, drag race lights, track race lights.
- Brake performance: 60-0 mph and 100-0 mph performance.
- Lap timer: Can save three tracks, and drivers can edit the name of each.
- Shift indicator: Can present as a light, a tone, or both and be set from 4,000-7,000 rpm. Sets a blue line in the tach at the shift point. Drivers can also choose a drag light that glows at the shift point above and below the tach or a track light that starts wide, changes colors and narrows as it approaches the shift point, and ends as a blue light when it’s time to shift. The light becomes red at the 7,500-rpm redline.
- Drift brake: Turns on the drift brake, which allows drivers to channel their inner Vaughn Gittin Jr. Drivers can then use the hand-held drift brake lever on the center console to lock the rear wheels for drifts or handbrake turns.
- Line lock: Foot on the brake, activate on the screen, then floor it and the front brakes will hold to let you do a burnout.
- Launch settings: Works in tandem with launch control. Go here to set the rpm at which the car will launch, between 2,500-7,000 rpm. Drivers can also activate launch control here.
- Launch control: Activate launch control with the brake pedal pressed, wait for the light to indicate launch control is active, floor the throttle, then let off the gas to rocket forward.
- Rev match: On or off in cars with the manual transmission.
Other screen functions
The screens are connected under a single piece of glass in higher-line models and are separate in lower-line versions, but they are the same size regardless. They also offer the same processor and functionality, though lower-line cars will lack controls for features such as magnetic dampers that are in higher-line cars.
Every Mustang also comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A third of the center screen can still be devoted to the native controls while CarPlay or Android Auto are active, though that area will only show the current radio station and won’t provide a way for drivers to change the station.
The 2024 Ford Mustang will offer a state-of-the-art digital experience, especially among an aging lot of pony cars. It will come with performance goodies owners have come to know and love—such as launch control and the line lock—and add cool new features, including the drift brake and more digital gauges.
The Mustang’s new digital environment appears to work well while still in development, and we look forward to putting it to the test when we drive the Mustang, likely in June.
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