all-wheel drive as an optional extra for the Challenger as long as the engine has six cylinders and the transmission is an eight-speed automatic. Coincidence? Most likely not, but the plot thickens from there on forward.
January 2019 is when the Ford Motor Company filed a patent for a hybrid V8 with a DOHC valvetrain and two electric motors located on either side of the oil pan. Patent number US 20190023115A1 also mentions “a longitudinally-mounted engine in a rear-wheel-drive vehicle,” which is very intriguing if you remember that the e-motors are driving the front wheels.
Fast-forward to the present day, and Mustang brand manager Jim Owens used a very interesting choice of words when speaking to our friends at Ford Authority. When asked about AWD in the next-generation pony car, he started off by highlighting that “the Challenger has AWD.” Mentioning that nameplate and drivetrain is very intriguing, and reading between the lines, the Blue Oval has indirectly suggested all-wheel drive once again.
“We’re always looking at different kinds of performance,” added Owens, and he signed off with the typical “nothing to announce at the moment.” There are, however, two things that need to be mentioned about the S650 Mustang going all-wheel drive either mechanically or with electric motors.
First of all, the added complexity will make servicing harder and costlier. Secondly, the extra weight of AWD will be offset by extra grip when launching from a standstill as well as in the twisties. You can’t have one without the other, but there’s another reason for Ford’s interest in all-wheel drive.
Beyond the crazy powerful Hellcats, the Challenger AWD has proven popular with customers living in colder states. Even Nissan and Toyota have jumped on the all-wheel-drive bandwagon with the Altima, Camry, and Avalon, which speaks volumes about the current trends in the U.S. market.
The S650 is expected to ride on a specific platform featuring elements from the CD6 that Ford utilizes in the Explorer and Lincoln Navigation. Due to go on sale as a 2023 model, the all-new Mustang will be manufactured at the Flat Rock assembly plant where the outgoing model is produced.