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How does the Ford Mustang’s electric drift brake work?


Owners of the new Ford Mustang will be able to yank on a real handbrake – but unlike the old car, this one is fully electric

The seventh-generation Ford Mustang might not be hybrid or fully-electric just yet, but what it does have is a cool party trick called the electronic drift brake that replaces a physical handbrake. 

Sitting very close to the shift lever, this lever allows the driver to lock up the rear wheels of the car to help initiate a slide or drift. 

While there is a physical handle to pull on, the activation of the rear brakes – triggered by a pull of the lever –  itself is electronic in nature. 

Ford Mustang 2023 interior
The interior of the new Ford Mustang with electric drift brake pictured

US automotive media outlet The Drive that the electric lever is said to create a much more instantaneous locking of the rear wheels and can deliver four or five times more brake force. 

Ford said at the launch of the Mustang last week that there are two calibration settings for the electronic drift brake, one for beginners and one for drifting experts. 

But to make the feature seem more safe, Ford has made sure that you can only operate the electric lever in track mode and even then, the lever can only be enabled via a button on the touchscreen at the start of your drifting session. 

Ford Mustang 2023 electric handbrake diagram
The 2023 Ford Mustang drift brake

The Drive said that when using the lever at the unveiling of the seventh-generation Ford Mustang, the lever action felt smoother than a regular handbrake, while also feeling like a quality item. 

How does the lever lock the wheels, then?

According to Autoblog, pulling the handbrake sends a signal to the auxiliary parking brake calliper (not the core rear braking calliper) that works in conjunction with the stability control system to increase or decrease the amount of pressure required to keep a drift going. 

Ford Mustang Dark Horse 2023 front end tunnel
The Ford Mustang Dark Horse is coming to Australia

However, the larger central brake callipers can be used to increase control in the drift.

While a traditional hand brake locks into place when you pull it up, the electronic one in the Ford Mustang falls back down again. If you pull on said lever once, that engages the park brake for when you need it, like on a hill, for instance. 

What else is cool about the new Mustang?

One of the unique features on the Mustang is the key fob that lets the owner start the car remotely without physically being in it

Ford Mustang 2023 red and silver duo
The Ford Mustang GT and Ecoboost models

But the real show-off feature is that you can rev the Mustang outside of the car by using the key fob. 

Remote start is certainly not a new thing, however the ability to rev the car and show off to your friends is novel.

When will the new Mustang be released in Australia?

The Ford Mustang in seventh-generation guise is scheduled to launch in Australia late in 2023 and will consist of a lineup including the Ecoboost, GT and Dark Horse variants. 

The Dark Horse will pack more punch than a standard GT V8 variant and will produce as much as 372kW from its naturally-aspirated V8 engine. 

A 13-inch instrument display along with  a 12.3-inch central touchscreen will also feature for the new ‘stang.