Ford unveils Shelby Mustang GT500 Convertible at Chicago Auto Show

Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 convertible

The newest version of Ford’s most powerful Mustang, the Shelby GT500, is yet to turn a wheel in anger, but that didn’t stop Ford from unveiling a convertible version at the Chicago Auto Show.

Like the GT500 coupe, the convertible is a Mustang on steroids. The centerpiece is a 5.8 liter supercharged V8, producing 650 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque. That’s 100 more horsepower and 100 more lb-ft than the old version, which only had a piddling 5.4-liter engine.

To match the engine’s immense power, Ford’s Special Vehicles Team added Brembo brakes with six-piston front calipers, and an optional Performance package with Bilstein adjustable dampers and a Torsen limited-slip differential. For would-be racers, the Track package adds coolers for the engine oil, transmission, and rear differential.

On the outside, the GT500 convertible sports more aggressive front and rear fascias, unique wheels, and racing stripes right out of the ‘60s.

The GT500 coupe has been making headlines because of its claimed 200 mph top speed, but Ford will limit the convertible to 155. Still, Ford told Motor Trend, the new car is nearly four seconds quicker around Sebring International Raceway than the one it replaces. Sebring is in Florida, where convertibles are very popular, so this is particularly useful information.

Any Mustang’s natural competition is the Chevrolet Camaro, and at first glance the GT500 seems to have it outgunned. Chevy announced a convertible version of the ZL1, the most powerful Camaro, last October. That car only has 580 hp, courtesy of a detuned version of the Corvette ZR1’s 6.2 liter supercharged V8.

However, the Camaro has a more sophisticated suspension system, the same magnetorheological system used on Corvettes and Cadillacs. The shock absorbers are filled with a metallic fluid that can be manipulated with magnetic current, allowing thousands of adjustments per second. This might give the ZL1 convertible an edge at Sebring, or any other track, even if the GT500 is the king of straight line speed.

Pricing has not been announced, but expect the MSRP to be around the current car’s $53,810 base price. That may sound like a lot for a Mustang, but it’s very cheap for a car with 650 hp. The Corvette ZR1, the fastest and most expensive car GM makes, only has 638 hp; exotics like the Lamborghini Gallardo and Ferrari 458 can’t touch that number either.

They can touch the GT500’s 155 mph top speed, though. Since no acceleration figures have been released, it’s hard to tell whether all that extra horsepower will be nothing but sound and fury, until someone figures out how to disable the speed limiter.

The unveiling of the GT500 convertible coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Special Vehicles Team. Since 1993, the group known as SVT has been Ford’s in-house tuner, a counterpart to Mercedes’ AMG and BMW’s M and maker of high-performance machines from the Raptor pickup to the GT supercar.

Carroll Shelby, the legendary builder of the Cobra and the original Mustang GT500, may have his name on this new car, but SVT did most of the work. To commemorate the anniversary, the GT500 convertible sports illuminated doorsills with the SVT logo, because nothing says “high performance” like extra branding.

Cars

Ford Mustang EcoBoost upgrade pulls serious performance from just four cylinders

The 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost gets a new "High Performance Package" that boosts output from the 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine to 330 horsepower, and adds suspension and brake upgrades.
Cars

Bored with stock? The best tuner cars are begging to be modified

Modification has been around almost as long as the automobile itself. Here are 25 of the best tuner cars you can find, ranging from American muscle standouts to Japanese drift cars.
Cars

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Turbo shows value and performance can go hand in hand

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata goes in a bold new design direction, with LED streaks on its hood and sleeker bodywork all around. It starkly contrasts with the current Sonata's conservative design.
Cars

2020 Ford Escape gets sleeker styling, greener powertrains, more tech

The 2020 Ford Escape gets redesigned for the first time since the 2013 model year. Ford brought back the hybrid powertrain, and is adding a plug-in hybrid option for the first time.
Cars

Café racer-inspired ebike hits 28 mph quickly and quietly with carbon belt drive

Ebike manufacturer Electra launched the Café Moto Go, an advanced ebike. The Café Moto Go's step-over frame was inspired by café racers. The Café Moto Go is a premium performance ebike built to run smoothly and extra quietly.
Cars

Where to go when your EV is low: Rich neighborhoods have most charging stations

If you're running low on juice in your electric vehicle, head for the rich part of town. A survey by Realtor.com found median home list prices in the 20 U.S. ZIP codes with the most EV charging stations were 2.6 times the national average.
Cars

Ford is keeping hackers out of its cars by putting key fobs to sleep

Ford found a way to stop thieves who try to hack their way into a car by duplicating its key fob. It developed a smart key fob that puts itself to sleep when it's idle for at least 40 seconds. It automatically wakes up when someone picks it…
Cars

This vintage Ford Bronco off-roader has a modern electric powertrain

Zero Labs took a classic Ford Bronco and replaced its gasoline engine with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. So you get the style and off-road capability of a Bronco, but with zero emissions.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Earth Day, indoor container farming, robot submarines

Today on Digital Trends Live, we discuss how technology intersects with Earth Day, a new Tim Cook biography, indoor container farming, robot spy submarines, A.I. death metal, and more.
Cars

Tesla will have ‘autonomous robotaxis’ in 2020, Elon Musk says

Tesla will deploy self-driving cars in a "robotaxi" service in 2020, CEO Elon Musk said at the automaker's Autonomy Investor Day. Musk has promised autonomous Tesla electric cars before, but will he finally deliver this time?
Cars

Startup Smartcar accuses bigger rival Otonomo of stealing intellectual property

California-based startup Smartcar claims its intellectual property was stolen by a much bigger (and better-funded) rival named Otonomo. Otonomo hasn't given its side of the story yet.
Cars

2020 Nissan 370Z Special Edition celebrates 50 Years of the Z car

Nissan is celebrating 50 years of its iconic "Z car" with a special edition of the 2020 370Z. The 50th-anniversary model is dressed to look like a 1970s race car, but remains technically unchanged.
Product Review

BMW’s smallest M car is its biggest performance statement

The BMW M2 Competition is frighteningly quick in a straight line, and its short wheelbase lends itself to some hilarious power slides, but it’s the curvy roads and tight tracks where this coupe comes alive.
Cars

Tesla rushes investigators to China to figure out why a parked Model S exploded

Tesla has sent a team of in-house investigators to Shanghai to determine why an early Model S suddenly exploded and caught fire. The electric sedan was parked before the fire started, and the cause of the blaze remains unknown.