What is it? The highest-performance factory-built Mustang to date, the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 takes on its muscle car rivals with 650 horsepower and a 200+ mph top speed.
The heart of this Blue Oval beast is a supercharged 5.8-liter V8 engine. With 650 horsepower and 600 lb.-ft. of torque, Ford claims it is the most powerful production V8 in the world. And yet through this continued powertrain enhancement, the GT500 manages to avoid a gas-guzzler tax.
To put the power to the tarmac, the GT500 uses a launch control system that allows the driver to set the desired launch rpm based on tire temperature, street surface, and other factors. This system ties in with the engine and traction controls to help this Mustang take off swiftly, while limiting tire spin.
The aerodynamics have been massaged for 2013 to aid the cooling system, increase downforce, and reduce drag. Stopping power has been increased with a new Brembo brake system, with larger discs and more-aggressive brake pads.
The chassis has been tuned to address the other changes, though the ultimate set up comes by way of an optional Performance Package. This extra brings electronic adjustable dampers that can be put in Sport mode when extra performance is desired. A Track Package can further prepare the car for high-speed, track use, with an engine, rear differential, and transmission coolers.
CR's take: Clearly, the Shelby GT500 is much more Mustang than most drivers need. (In part that is because the Mustang V6 and Mustang GT are so entertaining.) But, it is certainly the stuff that automotive fantasies are made of.
When will it be available? In 2012.