With Mustang sales still resolutely down ?US customers bought 19% fewer of them in December 2016 than they did in the same month in 2015 ?it鈥檚 tempting to wonder how Ford dealers will react to the parent company鈥檚 announcement of the 2018 Ford Mustang, a full year before it goes on sale.

Potential buyers can of course keep ordering the current model, but they might just as easily choose to wait for the ?8 car despite a likely small increase in price ?expect around £32,000 for entry-level cars ?as there are some worthwhile upgrades on the way.

For a start, there鈥檚 the 10-speed automatic gearbox. Available with both the 5.0-litre V8 and 2.3-litre Ecoboost engines and controllable with paddle-shifters, it鈥檚 reckoned to shorten shift times as well as offer different settings for the three drive modes.

2018 Ford Mustang V8 GT with Performance Package in Orange Fury

Front and rear styling mods (with all-LED headlight clusters) deliver more efficient aerodynamics. There are three new paint colours, and a new digital dashboard, as shown in the GT supercar in early January. Ford鈥檚 Fordpass smartphone app will feature too. This gives owners the facility to find, unlock, lock, and start their Mustang using their phone.

The 5.0-litre V8 will have a higher rev ceiling and more power in the higher reaches, along with improved fuel economy. If you opt for the V8 with the six-speed manual 鈥榖ox, new clutch mods maximise torque delivery, while an active valve exhaust option enriches the exhaust note.

Upgraded shock absorbers plus a new cross-axis joint and tweaked stabiliser bars are designed to enhance ride quality and handling in general. Go for the Mustang Performance Package and you鈥檒l get Magneride adaptive dampers.

Pre-collision and pedestrian detection systems will form part of the new safety package. A memory function lets owners save their preferred drive settings, right down to the steering and suspension.