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.

Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.
Cars

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.
Cars

2019 Ford Ranger saves fuel without sacrificing towing capacity

The 2019 Ford Ranger marks Ford's long-awaited return to the midsize truck segment, which has seen a resurgence lately. But will being late to the party make Ford's job more difficult?
Cars

Take a friend stargazing at 202 mph in the 2019 McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren has introduced the 2019 720S Spider. As its name implies, it's a convertible variant of the 720S coupe. The company promises the Spider retains the coupe's dynamism and agility thanks in part to the widespread use of carbon fiber.
Cars

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.
Cars

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Cars

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Cars

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.
Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.
Mobile

McLaren puts the pedal to the metal in special-edition OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is yet another flagship killer smartphone, bringing powerful specifications to a much lower price than the competition. Now, OnePlus has teamed up with McLaren for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition.
Cars

Aston Martin’s 1,000-hp Valkyrie will boast the Mona Lisa of the engine world

Aston Martin has released new details about its F1-inspired Valkyrie hypercar. Co-developed with Red Bull Racing, the Valkyrie will be one of the most aerodynamic production cars ever made.
Cars

The redesigned 2020 Passat shows Volkswagen still believes in sedans

The sedan segment in America is shrinking, but Volkswagen still believes in it. The German firm has released a teaser sketch to preview the redesigned 2020 Passat it will introduce during the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.
Cars

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti has released a teaser image to preview a concept it will unveil at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The yet-unnamed design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language.