The 2018 Mustang offered a refresh in the middle of the S550 generation. In addition to a few appearance tweaks, major performance upgrades were made. New colors, features, and options made this one of the more exciting mid-generation refreshes.
2018 Ford Mustang Specs
|2.3L EcoBoost I-4
||310 hp @ 5,500 RPM
||350 lb-ft @ 3,000 RPM
|5.0L Ti-VCT V8
||460 hp @ 7,000 RPM
||420 lb-ft @ 4,600 RPM
|5.2L Ti-VCT V8 "Voodoo"
||526 hp @ 7,500 RPM
||429 lb-ft @ 4,750 RPM
|EcoBoost Premium Coupe
|GT Premium Coupe
|EcoBoost Premium Convertible
|GT Premium Convertible
|Lead Foot Gray
Interior Trim Colors
|Ebony w/Metal Gray Stitch
|Ebony (Premium Trim)
|Midnight Blue w/Blue
|Show Stopper Red
|Ebony w/Red Accents (GT350R)
Every engine saw major improvements for the 2018 year except for the GT350’s Voodoo engine. This flat-plane crankshaft Coyote variant was left as-is for the duration of the GT350’s run.
No More V6
One of the most noticeable differences between 2018 and the earlier S550 Mustangs was the discontinuation of the V6.
With a more powerful EcoBoost, the V6 had lost its appeal, and Ford opted to cast it aside. The EcoBoost became the new base Mustang.
The new EcoBoost engine maintained the 310 horsepower of the 2017 model but saw improved torque. The new overboost feature enabled it to deliver a smoother torque curve and brought it up to 350 lb-ft of torque.
Another new feature for the 2018 EcoBoost was an integrated exhaust manifold. By integrating the exhaust manifold into the turbocharger, turbo lag was reduced. Better responsiveness and quicker acceleration were other exciting benefits. The Ecoboost still can't hold a candle to the GT's V8, but it's a remarkable motor in its own right.
By increasing the size of the cylinder bore and adding larger valves, the newest Coyote saw improved displacement. The Coyote’s weight was also reduced thanks to Plasma Transfer Wire Arc (PTWA) technology. This allowed Ford to replace the more traditional iron cylinder liners. The result was better performance, improved durability, and around 8.5 pounds of weight savings.
At 460 hp, the 2018 Mustang GT outperforms the 2012 and 2013 Boss 302 which had 444 horsepower.
Both the manual and automatic transmission options improved for the 2018 Mustang. The automatic transmission saw an increase from six to ten speeds, and the manual transmission corrected some of the previous generation’s issues.
The GT350 continued to use the same TR-3160 manual transmission it had used since 2016.
The 10R80 automatic transmission was developed jointly by General Motors and Ford. Before coming to the Mustang, the 10R80 was used in both the Camaro ZL1 and the Ford Raptor.
This automatic earned some converts from the stick-shift only crowd. With its quick shifting, the Mustang GT can get from 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds, an improvement over the manual’s 4.3 seconds.
Not only is the automatic fast-shifting, it’s also lighter than the manual transmission.
The MT82 transmission has been the subject of plenty of criticism. This is mostly due to its lack of durability, and its propensity to lockout of the third gear. There were plenty of other issues as well, including reports of the clutch pedal getting stuck. The D4 update sought to correct those issues.
By improving the MT-82’s gear ratios, the manual now offers a better shifting experience. The synchros have been upgraded, as have the shift forks. By moving the shift box, the third gear lockout issue has been corrected.
Additional durability was achieved with a dual-mass flywheel and twin-disc clutch.
2018 Mustang Transmission Gear Ratios
The 2018 Mustang got a major facelift. The front fascia was entirely changed to create more of a “sharkbite” look. The changes necessitated a new hood, front fenders, a front bumper cover, and an upper and lower grille.
The most striking exterior difference was the new headlights. The Mustang was updated to an all-LED setup, and the narrower new headlights were set at an angle. The overall look is more aggressive.
2018 Mustangs had a few color changes. Grabber Blue and White Platinum were no longer offered. Instead, Kona Blue, Orange Fury, and Royal Crimson were added as options.
2015-2017 Mustang owners have often complained that the interior trim seems to be all over the place. Some pieces are satin, some are chrome. For 2018, Ford finally altered the interior trim to be all satin.
2018 also saw the addition of an option that many Mustang owners were excited about: A heated steering wheel. While not a lot of people drive their Mustang through the winter, it’s a nice touch for those chilly spring mornings.
Another option many were excited for was the addition of a digital instrument cluster. The digital instrument gauges allow for customization. Depending on which driving mode you’re in (Normal, Sport, or Track), you’ll have a gauge layout that prioritizes the info you need.
Special Editions and Packages
The Shelby GT350 and GT350R remained the same for 2018. They also stand as 2018’s only true performance-centered special editions.
There’s a lot to say about the GT350 and GT350R. Besides impressive performance specs, both variants have been praised as true enthusiasts’ cars. Only available with a manual transmission, the GT350/R is designed to be driven by someone who loves cars.
The most notable feature of the GT350/R is the Voodoo Coyote variant engine it has. This engine is a flat-plane crankshaft, which means it’s high-revving and has a unique sound.
EcoBoost Performance Package
The EcoBoost performance package bundles together some of the most popular and universal modifications. A strut tower brace, larger rear sway bar, heavy-duty front springs, and larger brake rotors are the highlights of this package.
GT Performance Package
The GT version of the Performance Package includes all the features of the EcoBoost Performance Package as well as:
- K-member brace
- Unique front air splitter
- Brembo 6-piston front brake calipers
- Summer-only tires
- Ebony black aluminum wheels
GT Performance Package II
For 2018, Ford introduced an even better performance package for the GT. In addition to the features of the regular Performance Package, it also included MagneRide, track-inspired springs, an improved sway bar, and some track-focused wheels and tires.
You can find all the differences between the Performance Package and Performance Package II here.
Black Accent Package
The Black Accent Package is exactly what it sounds like. A shortcut to getting a blackout Mustang of your own. Black wheels, black badging, a black spoiler, and a black roof form the basis of this package. Though it was an option for 2016-2017 GT Mustangs, the EcoBoost gained it as an option for 2018.
Carbon Sport Package
First introduced in 2018, the Carbon Sport Package is pretty simple. Alcantara seat inserts and a carbon fiber instrument panel and shift knob. Its simplicity is an asset though, since just about every Mustang looks better with these features. It’s no surprise that it’s been so popular.
Besides the optional packages, there were two major performance options that became available in 2018.
MagneRide is a remarkable suspension system that was first introduced with the GT350 and GT350R. In 2018, this suspension became an option for EcoBoost and GT Mustangs.
MagneRide is an active suspension system that uses dampers full of magnetorheological fluid to automatically stiffen and relax the suspension as needed.
The result is a suspension that handles remarkably well and is also comfortable.
Active exhaust was another popular performance option. Though it was only available on GT Mustangs for 2018, in 2019, Ecoboost Mustangs could also have it.
Active exhaust allows you to have a roaring exhaust on track days, while also keeping the neighbors happy. A variable valve allows the exhaust to stay quiet when you need it to be, and then adjusted when you hit the open road.
Mods for 2018 Mustangs
The 2018 Mustangs came from the factory full of features, but that doesn’t mean they’re at peak performance.
One of the most popular modifications is adding a cold air intake. There are a variety of great cold air intakes for S550 Mustangs. Coupled with a tune, this is an effective and easy modification.
Installing a supercharger is another way to improve the S550 Mustang’s performance at the track. The right supercharger can increase horsepower to outshine the GT350’s. Or, you could just choose to turn the GT into a GT350.
For those who are already happy with their 2018 Mustang’s performance, a new set of wheels can change the entire look.
This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.