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Nobody expected the 2024 Ford Mustang to show up and upstage wine-and-cheese crowds from the BMW M and Porsche persuasion. Well, the Mustang might have something up its sleeve to contend with some much pricier European competition. Beyond its welcomed bump in power, the optional Handling Pack pushes the pony car to new lateral limits. Paired with a set of sticky Pirelli Trofeo RS tires, the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse Handling Pack will show some serious athleticism. 

The 2024 Ford Mustang gains in-corner composure with the Handling Pack

It’s a comment complaint with the new 2024 Ford Mustang: numb steering and less-than-confident feedback. Tragically, it’s a scathing indictment of the Mustang’s new lease on life. After all, Ford CEO Jim Farley wants to take the Mustang racing on the international stage. 

However, it’s not all bad news for the time-honored nameplate; the range-topping Dark Horse promises a sharper Mustang drive with a gut-punching 500 horsepower on tap. Better yet, shoppers who check the Handling Pack box will get an entirely different pony car. 

The 2024 Ford Mustang GT and the Dark Horse, like this one, lose power for Great Britain.
A 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse | Ford

The pack revises the Dark Horse’s chassis, focusing on stiff, responsive corner dynamics rather than highway livability. Throw on a set of wider, grippier 305 front and 315 rear Pirelli Trofeo RS tires, and the Dark Horse becomes another animal entirely. 

You’d expect the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse Handling Pack to grip hard. And it does. But it’s the extent of its track-readiness that beggars belief. In Road & Track’s hot lap test, the Dark Horse with a Handling Pack out-cornered and ultimately outran a Porsche 911 Carrera T (the automatic fabric rooftop 992 model). 

While that’s far from the most lethal gun in the 911’s lineup, anytime you see the word “Mustang” ahead of the number “911” and it’s not in a crowd-smashing scenario, it’s cause for excitement. In fact, reviewers said the Handling Pack-equipped Mustang is so confidence-inspiring that it makes the second-generation BMW M2 look completely unhinged.

There you have it. We might not have a Shelby in the seventh-gen Mustang lineup, but we’re in good hands with the Handling Pack-equipped Dark Horse. Of course, even with adjustability, the stiffened Dark Horse isn’t likely to be as supple and relaxed a grand tourer as the GT Premium.