Ford posted a mysterious picture on its official Twitter account just as Tesla prepared to unveil the Model Y. The tweet asks many more questions than it answers, but it confirms something Mustang-related (or, at least, Mustang-inspired) is coming with some form of electrification. It could be the long-promised hybrid Mustang, or it could allude to an electric crossover injected with strands of Mustang DNA that’s under development at the Blue Oval’s headquarters.
We’ve caught a glimpse of the gasoline-electric Mustang before. In 2018, Ford released a heritage-laced television ad showing a 2019 Mustang roaring down a desert road before cutting to an animation of its 5.0-liter V8 engine in action. The next scene introduced a car that looked like a Mustang, but with a body-colored panel and a backlit emblem instead of a grille. These styling cues fall in line with the design language that nearly every car company — from Volkswagen to Mercedes-Benz — has adopted to characterize future electrified models. The image Ford tweeted (accompanied by the caption “hold your horses”) showed the same emblem. Coincidence? You tell us.
Hold your horses pic.twitter.com/EYNqZLv3ER
— Ford Motor Company (@Ford) March 15, 2019
We know precious little about the hybrid Mustang because Ford won’t release a full set of technical specifications until much closer to its on-sale date. It may not even be based on the current-generation car. Patent filings leaked in early 2019 suggest it will come with a V8 engine, and it will be the first factory-built Mustang with all-wheel drive. Nothing is official yet, however.
Another plausible possibility is that Ford has just signaled the imminent arrival of an electric, Mustang-inspired crossover that will compete in the same segment as the Model Y. The model’s teaser campaign has already started, we saw a sketch of its shapely rear end in September 2018, so the ad and the tweet could be the next installments. While placing a Mustang emblem on a family-friendly crossover is a bold decision that risks diluting the model’s hard-earned image, Ford has openly stated the yet-unnamed car’s design will draw inspiration from the famous sports car.
“Mustang has a soul. It’s a balance of performance and design. If you can capitalize on the cachet and let that rub off on the rest of the portfolio, it’s a good thing,” Darrel Behmer, the Mustang’s chief engineer, explained in a recent interview with industry trade journal Automotive News.
Ford is leaving us in the dark. We could learn more details about the model depicted in its tweet in April 2019 during the annual New York Auto Show. And, whether it’s a Mustang or merely a Mustang-inspired crossover, the car will arrive in American showrooms in about 2020.
Updated on March 15, 2019: Added Ford’s tweet.