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

Bigger battery and folding top add appeal, but BMW’s i8 remains ultra-niche

Want a high-performance vehicle that's more than just a frightening driving experience? Desire the look and feel of a sports car with the road manners of a luxury commuter? The BMW i8 is for you.
Cars

Amazon plugs in with $700 million investment in electric pickup company Rivian

Amazon invested $700 million for a minority stake in U.S. all-electric truck maker Rivian, according to a joint release. The announcement follows a Reuters report that GM and Amazon might invest $1 billion to $2 billion in the company.
Cars

2020 Kia Soul and Soul EV continue to think inside the box

The 2020 Kia Soul is the third generation of Kia's boxy curiosity. The Soul maintains its signature look, but gets tech and powertrain upgrades. The all-electric Soul EV returns as well.
Cars

Bentley Bentayga Speed surpasses Lamborghini Urus as world’s fastest SUV

The Bentley Bentayga Speed has wrested the title of world's fastest SUV from its cousin, the Lamborghini Urus. But the Bentley is just 1 mph faster than the Lamborghini. It requires 626 horsepower to achieve that top speed.
Cars

The Polestar 2, Sweden’s answer to the Tesla Model 3, begins taking shape

Volvo sister company Polestar has released a teaser image to give us our first look at the 2, its second model. Polestar tells us the 2 will arrive as a four-door fastback with a 400-hp electric powertrain and about 300 miles of range.
Cars

Psychedelic Volkswagen Microbus from Woodstock returns for an encore

With its trippy paint scheme, the Volkswagen "Light" bus became a symbol of the 1969 Woodstock music festival. VW teamed up with the artist who created this rolling mural to stage a comeback in time for Woodstock's 50th anniversary.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

2019 RAM 1500 Classic Warlock special edition: Badass style without the whoop

If you like the looks of blacked-out badass trucks without the cost of a desert racer, FCA announced the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock, a special edition pickup that focuses on appearance with only a touch of additional off-road capability.
Product Review

Mercedes-Benz updates the timeless G-wagen for the modern world

For decades, the G-Class has been an outlier in the Mercedes-Benz portfolio, a body-on-frame brute with the soul – and driving manners – of an off-road pickup. With the all-new G550, Mercedes seeks to smooth out some of the rough edges.
Cars

2020 GMC Acadia toughens up on the outside, gets smarter on the inside

The 2020 GMC Acadia crossover gets styling updates and a more rugged AT4 trim level. Under the skin, the Acadia sports a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a wider array of tech features.
Cars

Nissan is using old Leaf batteries to power and connect off-the-grid campers

Nissan has teamed up with trailer manufacturer Opus to design a mobile, weatherproof power pack built with battery cells sourced from the first-generation Leaf. Called Roam, the pack stores enough electricity to power a camper for up to a…
Cars

Alfa Romeo’s latest Ferrari-powered F1 race car is ready to hit the track

Alfa Romeo is doubling down on Formula One racing after a decades-long hiatus. Now essentially a support team for Ferrari, its 2019 driver lineup includes a former world champion and a potential future star.
Cars

Researchers teach self-driving cars to predict pedestrians’ next moves

University of Michigan researchers are developing a system that teaches self-driving cars to predict pedestrian movement. Humans don't always act in their own best self-interest, so autonomous cars will need to practice protective driving.
Cars

Subaru’s latest VIZIV concept car is pumped full of adrenaline

The Subaru VIZIV Adrenaline is the seventh member of the Japanese automaker's family of VIZIV concept cars. It debuts at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, but for now, all we're getting is a shadowy teaser image.