Las Vegas, Nevada - This, says Shelby American, is the fastest Mustang derivative it has ever unleashed on the car-buying public: the upgraded 2018 Shelby Super Snake.

With the optional Whipple supercharger and authoritative Shelby exhaust system bolted onto its Shelby-tuned five-litre Ford V8, it’s rated at 597kW - a whopping 37kW more than the previous Super Snake.

A bigger radiator, an oil cooler (on automatic transmission models), a one-piece propshaft (manuals only) and upgraded half-shafts help lay that power down for a 0-100km/h sprint in 3.5 seconds.

But, as the classic Pirelli advert said, power is nothing without control, so the new Super Snake comes with Ford Performance suspension (a Shelby by Penske track pack is an extra-cost option), Shelby by Brembo brakes with six-piston front and four-piston rear callipers and 20 inch forged-aluminium wheels on Ford Performance wheel studs.

The Super Snake looks the part, too, with a new front treatment that has the Shelby name emblazoned on the grille for the first time, a new bonnet, side skirts, a rear diffuser and spoiler, deep tinted windows, and special badging and striping.

Extra-cost options include wide-body wheel arch flares and go-fast rally stripes, shown here.

The cockpit is tricked out with special badges and contrast stitching, door sills and specially-embroidered floor mats (without which no performance upgrade is complete) and number plaques on the engine and dashboard - because only a limited number of 2018/19 Super Snakes will be available worldwide, each numbered and entered into the Shelby registry.

Pricing starts at $113 445 (R1.68 million) ex works in Las Vegas - which, unusually, includes the base Ford Mustang coupé, as well as Shelby’s standard three-year or 50 000km warranty.

IOL Motoring