Detroit Motor Show - Try to describe the Mustang Shelby GT500 and you’re going to end up with a mouthful of superlatives.
For starters, it’s the most powerful street-legal Ford as well as the most advanced Mustang ever, and it also claims to be the most agile American muscle car on the block, while also having the largest brakes.
So how potent is is really?
Ford is only talking projected numbers for now, but its hand-built 5.2-litre V8, boosted by a 2.65-liter roots-type supercharger, is said to produce “more than” 700 horsepower (522kW), and Ford is also boasting about a sub-11-second quarter mile and a 0-60mph (96km/h) time around the 3.5 second mark.
Thankfully Ford also did away with the Mustang’s lazy torque converter autobox, the GT500 instead getting a Tremec seven-speed dual-clutch unit, which shifts power to the rear wheels through a bespoke carbon fibre driveshaft. The ‘box has multiple driver-selectable modes as well as line-lock and rpm-selectable launch control.
For the cornering side of the deal, the GT500 gets a track-inspired chassis, featuring a MagnaRide suspension system with lighter coils, as well as Ford Performance-spec Michelin Pilot Sport tyres. Buyers can up the ante further with two optional handling packages.
Shelby also installed a Brembo braking system featuring huge 420mm two-piece rotors and six-piston calipers.
The latest Shelby GT500 is a spiritual successor to the original of 1967 which founder Carol Shelby claimed was the first real car that he was “really proud of”.
“Carroll was always working on the next faster Shelby, I think he would love this Mustang more than any other,” said Ford president Jim Farley. “A takedown artist, the new Shelby GT500 will surprise supercar owners with its Ford Performance racing tech, supercharged engine and visceral swagger.”