Interceptor: This 5.0-Powered, Manual Transmission Muscle Sedan is the Four-Door Mustang Ford Should Have Built
For all the success and enthusiast credibility the Mustang has brought Ford in the modern era - going back to the Fox Body 5.0s of the '80s & '90s, it's a little amazing that Ford has never expanded the Mustang DNA into a proper family muscle car/sport sedan.
Yes, they are now using the Mustang name for the Mach-E electric crossover, but that's a branding exercise rather than an actual engineering offshoot of the classic front-engined, rear-drive V8 Mustang formula.
Muscle Car for the Family
In fact, this hypothetical Ford performance sedan wouldn't even need to be called "Mustang," it would just need to perform like one and provide the same fun factor in a more practical package. Given the way the auto industry loves to share costs by spreading different models across shared platforms, it's genuinely surprising that Ford has never brought a Mustang-based performance sedan to the market.
But that doesn't mean they haven't toyed with the idea. And perhaps the closest this ever came to being a reality was back in 2007 with a concept car called the Ford Interceptor.
Given the timeframe and the look of this stylish concept, it's clear that Chrysler's 300C on Ford's mind when they brought this concept to the '07 North American International Auto Show, but the Interceptor was more of hard-edged muscle machine than the 300C or its cousin the Dodge Charger.
It was built from the platform the S197 Mustang, but with a slightly less retro look. And interestingly, it kept the solid rear axle that the Mustang was still using at the time for a "more hard core performance feel."
Of course it had a V8 engine up front mounted under its shaker style hood. But not the standard 4.6L used in the S197 Mustang GT. It used the 400hp 5.0L "Cammer" version of Ford's modular V8, which is the predecessor to the 5.0 Coyote engine of today.
And best of-all, the Interceptor mated that 400 horsepower V8 to a six-speed manual transmission, although an automatic option would of course be available had the car ever reached production.
The Right Amount of Retro
The concept's interior was just as striking as its exterior, with four-bucket seats, a full length center console and certain details borrowed from the Ford GT of the same era.
As the designers said, "The Interceptor concept is a sedan, but with the heart and soul of a performance car. This car is about restraint—and not clouding the driving experience with too much technology. There aren't a lot of layers between the driver and the road with this car."
It may not have used the Mustang name, but it was quite clear that had this reached production, it would have basically been a Mustang with four-doors and its own unique styling.
Sadly the Interceptor or a version of it never got the greenlight for production—likely another victim of the late 2000s economic downturn. But the car has actually aged very well, and the idea would be as welcome as ever.
To see the potential of a Mustang-based V8 performance sedan, all one needs to do is look at Dodge.
In the last 10 years the four-door Charger has become one of America's most popular performance cars, as respected and beloved as its two-door Challenger counterpart, and brining a muscle car experience to a whole segment of buyers who can't fit a coupe into their lifestyle.
Ford may have done away with its sedans in the American market, but a slightly updated of the Interceptor with Coyote power based on the S550 (or the next generation) Mustang platform would be a fantastic addition to the lineup before the inevitable move to electric power comes.