S650 Mustang: No AWD for the Next Generation Ford

The next generation of the original pony car is likely to share a lot with the current S550 Mustang. For instance, the next generation, the S650 Mustang, will likely be available in some derivation of the current EcoBoost and Coyote powerplants. However, there will be no all-wheel drive (AWD) for the next generation of Ford Mustang.

S650 Ford Mustang will be RWD only

A review of a current S550 Mustang GT | Matt Maran

The current S550 line, which replaced the S197, is only available in rear-wheel drive (RWD) configuration. That means that power is transferred to the rear wheels by a driveshaft. As a result, the muscle cars are more prone to spinning and smoking tires, making for a riotous drive. In addition to show-offy burn-outs, drivers can easily coax the Mustangs into slides and drifts, if tricky to keep under control. The S550, however, made the first move in creating a Mustang that handles as well as it looks, with independent rear suspension coming standard.

According to Ford Authority, The S650 Mustang will be no different. The newest Mustang will send power to the rear wheels, not all four tires. This development comes despite the ongoing rumors that the S650 will involve at least one AWD option. The announcement is surprising, given the widespread acceptance of AWD in everything from cars to crossovers to SUVs. That, and the fact that Stellantis offers the Dodge Challenger V6 in an AWD format, means that the Mustang shrugged off the AWD application of a direct competitor.

Why is AWD so beneficial?

S650 Mustang: No AWD for the Next Generation Ford
Ford Mustang | Sjoerd van der Wal, Getty Images

AWD has gained popularity for a myriad of advantages. First, AWD tends to perform better in adverse weather conditions. The power being available to any one of the tire surfaces with reduced traction typically results in better grip. Many modern cars utilize intelligent AWD systems, which can sense when a specific tire is losing traction and supplement it with power delivery. 

In addition to safety, AWD has some serious performance applications. A car with all-wheel drive tends to put the power down more effectively than cars with tons of power and rear-wheel drive. The effectiveness of “hooking the tires up” means the vehicle can, in some cases, launch harder and reach benchmarks like 60 mph faster.

Finally, AWD tends to produce more mechanical grip than RWD. Rear-wheel drive cars, especially mighty cars like the Mustang, will find oversteer with ease. While RWD performance cars are more prone to oversteer, AWD cars are more prone to understeer, only after pushing the car hard.

What can we expect from the S650 Mustang?

The latest Mustang, even without AWD, should be a pretty lovable muscle car. The S650 is expected to share some engine options with the S550, namely the 2.3L EcoBoost Inline-4 and the 5.0L Coyote V8 engines. However, the popular expectation is that some form of electrification could be present with one or both powerplants. That is exciting because the newest Mustang could be faster, more efficient, and more forward-thinking than any ICE Mustang before.

Based on spy shots captured by Ford Authority, the body does not appear to be a dramatic departure from the current S550 either. That is not a shame, however, considering the seemingly Callum-esque design of the 2015 and up Mustangs. So we can expect an S650 in keeping with much of the existing Mustang formula. The Mustang will be a RWD muscle car with an available V8. However, it might also be a partially electrified pony car, which is downright thrilling.

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