Ford hasn’t ruled out offering the next Mustang with all-wheel-drive

Longstanding rumors claim the next-generation Ford Mustang could offer all-wheel drive, and they may not be false. Although the company didn’t confirm an all-wheel-drive option is on its way, it refused to rule it out. “As you know, the [Dodge] Challenger has all-wheel-drive. We’re always looking at different kinds of performance, but we have nothing […]

Longstanding rumors claim the next-generation Ford Mustang could offer all-wheel drive, and they may not be false. Although the company didn’t confirm an all-wheel-drive option is on its way, it refused to rule it out.

“As you know, the [Dodge] Challenger has all-wheel-drive. We’re always looking at different kinds of performance, but we have nothing to announce at the moment,” affirmed Mustang brand manager Jim Owens in an interview with enthusiast website Ford Authority. What’s telling is that he highlighted the competition and didn’t shoot down the idea. He would have sung a different tune if asked about making the next Mustang front-wheel-drive — though taking that controversial route was once seriously considered by Ford, too.

Seeing an all-wheel-drive variant of the current-generation Mustang (pictured) is extremely unlikely. If it receives the green light, the layout would almost certainly be offered on the next-generation model due out for the 2023 model year. We’re guessing it would be an extra-cost option, and rear-wheel drive will continue to come standard.

It’s too early to tell how Ford would channel power to the four wheels. It could be a full-time system, or it could send spin the front wheels only when the rear axle loses traction. Either way, it’s safe to bet it will be rear-biased.

Although this is pure speculation, it’s interesting to note rumors claim the next-generation Mustang will be the first one available with a hybrid powertrain. Could these two reports converge into a through-the-road all-wheel drive system? It’s not absurd. Ford could keep a naturally-aspirated V8 in the engine bay and channel its output to the rear wheels, while adding electric motors to zap the front wheels into motion. Patented by the Blue Oval in 2017, it’s a setup that would add weight, but odds are it would be marketed as a high-performance drivetrain.

Ford has never offered four- or all-wheel drive on the Mustang, though England-based Ferguson Research built two or three prototypes in the 1960s. While some enthusiasts will inevitably argue a Mustang needs to be rear-wheel-drive, we’re not worried that adding the option of all-wheel-drive will dilute the car’s image or appeal. Dodge didn’t water down the Challenger by making all-wheel-drive available; it actually widened the model’s target audience. Following this path could help Ford position the Mustang as a year-round driver.

We’ll need to be patient to find out more about what Ford has in store for the next-generation Mustang. Called S650 internally, it’s scheduled to arrive in showrooms nationwide before the end of 2022 as a 2023 model.

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