Despite so much talk of electric cars and autonomous driving, you can still buy a 797-horsepower Dodge Challenger or a 650-hp Chevrolet Camaro. But the rival Ford Mustang has stayed out of the horsepower wars — until now. Unleashed at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, and reviving one of the greatest names in muscle car history, the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 will boast over 700 hp.
We can’t provide a more specific figure yet, unfortunately. But Ford promises the latest Shelby GT500 will not only be the most powerful production Mustang ever, but the most powerful street-legal car it has ever produced. All of that power is generated by a 5.2-liter supercharged all-aluminum V8. It’s based on the engine used in the Shelby GT350 Mustang, and is mated exclusively to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Ford noted that the dual-clutch gearbox can shift much quicker than a manual, at under 100 milliseconds per gear change.
Drivers won’t have the satisfaction of shifting themselves, but at least they’ll get places quickly. Ford claims the GT500 will do zero to 60 mph in the “mid-three-second” range, and run the quarter mile in under 11.0 seconds. That should put the Ford within striking distance of the 797-hp Challenger Hellcat Redeye Widebody, which does zero to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds and runs the quarter mile in 10.8 seconds at 131 mph, according to Dodge.
But while the Challenger is an old-school muscle car that’s really only good in a straight line, Ford claims the GT500 will also be able to turn corners with aplomb. It features revised rear suspension geometry, a new electric power steering unit, and an upgraded version of the MagneRide adjustable-suspension system found in lesser Mustangs. The GT500 also sports bigger Brembo brakes than its GT350 sibling, and improved cooling courtesy of a more aggressive-looking front end, and 20.0-inch wheels housed in bulging fenders.
Buyers can also add a Handling Package with adjustable strut top mounts, and a bigger rear spoiler, or a Carbon Fiber Track Package with carbon fiber wheels with 0.5-inch wider rear wheels, and an adjustable carbon fiber rear wing spoiler from the Mustang GT4 race car. Ford also removes the rear seats to save weight. However, the options list also includes some creature comforts, like an 8.0-inch touchscreen, 12.0-inch driver information display, and 12-speaker B&O Play audio system.
Pricing will be announced closer to the car’s launch, but expect the Shelby GT500 to command a significant premium over the GT350, which starts around $60,000. The GT500 will share the Detroit spotlight with two other enthusiast favorites: the reincarnated Toyota Supra and the Subaru WRX STI S209, the latest in a line of special-edition performance models that have never been offered in the U.S. before.
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