We all knew this day was coming, but it's just something an auto enthusiast can't prepare for. A Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] Mustang Hybrid is happening, and it will be here in just a handful of years.
To be specific, 2020 is when the Mustang will add a hybrid model. Details are slim, but Ford confirmed it's happening. Claims are it will have the power of a V-8 with even greater low-end torque.
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Naturally, when enthusiasts think hybrids they think Toyota Prius, and then they get the shakes. One has to believe Ford isn't willing to risk ruining the heritage it has built with the Mustang nameplate just to increase fuel economy.
Aside from fuel economy, hybrid systems do have at least one performance advantage. An electric motor and battery pack combine to provide instant off-the-line torque. That torque fill could allow Ford to use larger turbos that take longer to spool up. The result would be more power.
It's not immediately clear whether the Mustang Hybrid would be powered by a turbocharged engine. On Tuesday, Ford announced that its utility vehicles—Transit Custom and perhaps F-150—would have hybrid powertrains mated to a forced-induction engine, but no announcement was made about the Mustang. A turbocharged 2.3-liter inline-4 currently offers V-6 power at 310 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque, and that sounds like a great base for the hybrid setup.
Part of the appeal of a muscle car/sports car is the experience, the sound, the rumble. Having V-8 power is great, but can a hybrid deliver that experience? Perhaps not, but if the trade-off is more power and better fuel economy, it may be worthwhile.
Stay tuned for more updates as Ford begins to flesh out the Mustang Hybrid.
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that Ford confirmed a turbocharged engine for the Mustang Hybrid. Ford has only confirmed turbocharged engines for its utility hybrids so far.