The snake escapes: Ford’s 700-hp Mustang GT500 slithers online ahead of schedule

Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 leak
Sinister_Life

Ford has largely stood on the sidelines as Chevrolet and Dodge wage a full-fledged horsepower war to dominate the muscle car segment. Now it’s finally ready to jump in the battle with one of its most iconic nameplates as a weapon. The Mustang Shelby GT500 will return in 2019 packing over 700 horsepower, and a leaked image posted on Instagram gives us an early look at the model.

The picture was uploaded by Instagram user Sinister_Lifestyle and taken by an anonymous shooter during what looks like a preview event held at Ford’s headquarters for a group of hand-selected customers. Ford hasn’t commented on it but we think it’s the real deal. It shows a mean-looking evolution of the 2019 Mustang with huge air intakes up front, a heritage-laced cobra emblem attached to the grille, a sizable wing on the trunk lid, and wheels that appear to be made out of carbon fiber. The GT500 is finished in Ford Performance’s typical shade of dark blue and it wears a pair of white racing stripes for contrast.

It’s too early to tell precisely what lurks between the flared fenders. Ford previously hinted at a supercharged V8 engine rated at more than 700 hp; an earlier, unverified report pegs its output at 720. We know it will be the most powerful street-legal Ford production car ever made, topping even the last-generation GT500 and the mighty, 647-hp GT supercar. It will need that kind of power if it wants to take on its Detroit-based rivals.

When it comes to horsepower, the GT500 will easily beat the 650-hp Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and likely fall in the same ballpark as the 717-hp Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. The 797-hp Challenger Hellcat Redeye will likely remain the most powerful American muscle car available brand-new, however.

The eight-cylinder will send its prodigious power to the GT500’s rear wheels through a carbon fiber driveshaft. The report claiming a 720-hp output also points to a six-speed manual as the standard transmission option, though Ford could add an automatic (possibly its 10-speed unit) to the list of extra-cost options.

Ford plans to introduce the Mustang Shelby GT500 during the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, but the leak might force the company to show us the car sooner. We wouldn’t be surprised to hear more about it in November during the annual SEMA show. While pricing information hasn’t been announced yet, we expect the GT500 will start under the six-digit mark. Act fast if you want one; like its predecessors, it will become an instant collector’s item.

Updated on October 19, 2018: Added leaked image and the latest technical specifications.

Cars

Mercedes wants to turn your car into a comfortable shopping mall on wheels

Mercedes-Benz designed its MBUX infotainment system with e-commerce in mind. Motorists can upgrade compatible cars via an over-the-air software updating system, but the brand wants to take this technology to the next level.
Cars

Tesla gives us a cryptic look at its cyberpunk, Blade Runner-inspired pickup

Tesla has started designing its long-promised pickup truck. The yet-unnamed model will come with dual-motor all-wheel drive and lots of torque, plus it will be able to park itself. It could make its debut in 2019.
Cars

Mustang-like and electrified. What did Ford just show a preview of?

Ford posted an enigmatic picture of a blue Mustang emblem on a black background right as Tesla prepared to introduce the Model Y. Is the Blue Oval teasing a hybrid Mustang, or is it previewing a Mustang-inspired, battery-powered crossover?
Cars

The mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette is so powerful it mangles its own body

Chevrolet has major changes in store for the eighth-generation Corvette. The coupe will arrive in 2019 with a mid-mounted engine. We won't see it at the Detroit auto show, but spy shots and rumors give us a good idea of what to expect.
Cars

Ford to expand autonomous-car research in race to launch robo-taxi service

Ford is in a race with Waymo and GM Cruise to launch large-scale taxi and delivery services using autonomous vehicles. Already testing its technology in four U.S. cities, the automaker looks set to expand its program to a fifth.
Emerging Tech

Racing to catch a flight? Robot valet at French airport will park your car

Hate searching for parking at the airport when you need to catch a plane? Startup Stanley Robotics recently unveiled a new outdoor automated robotic valet system. Here's how it works.
Cars

Nvidia’s new simulator brings virtual learning to autonomous vehicle developers

Nvidia introduced a simulator for testing autonomous vehicle technologies. Drive Constellation is a cloud-based platform technology vendors can use to validate systems efficiently, safely, and much faster than with vehicles on real roads.
Cars

Tesla wirelessly gives the Model 3 a 5-percent increase in power

Tesla again showed the potential of its innovative over-the-air software updating system by making the Model 3 five percent more powerful via a firmware update. The Performance model gained 23 horsepower.
Cars

Fiat wants to transform the cheeky 500 city car into an urban Tesla

Fiat is finally preparing a new 500. Scheduled to make its debut in early 2020, the retro-chic city car will go electric in part to comply with looming emissions regulations.
Cars

Say goodbye to Uber for good: Here's how to cut ties with the ridesharing service

If you thought that deleting the Uber app would also delete your account, think again. You'll have to deactivate your account, then wait 30 days in order to do so. Here, we outlined how to delete your Uber account once and for all.
Cars

FWD vs. RWD vs. AWD: How the wheels that turn change the way you drive

Let's face it, you've likely heard front-, rear-, and all-wheel drive mentioned before in some context or another. But what do these terms mean, especially in terms of performance? We’ve got the answers.
Cars

Shift it yourself: How to drive stick in a manual transmission car

Driving a manual transmission car might seem intimidating at first, but it's not as difficult as you might think. Knowing how to operate this type of gearbox will serve you well. Here's everything you need to know to learn how to drive…
Product Review

Who needs a Range Rover? BMW’s X7 has better tech and just as much luxury

The 2019 BMW X7 is the German automaker’s long-overdue entry into the full-size luxury SUV segment. Packing three rows of seats and plenty of tech, can the new BMW take on Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover?
Cars

Waymo boosts robo-taxi plans with new service center in Arizona

Waymo has announced plans for a facility in Phoenix, Arizona, that will help to service, maintain, and grow its fleet of autonomous Waymo One cars. The vehicles operate as part of the company's robo-taxi ridesharing service.