200mph Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang breaks cover in LA

200mph Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang breaks cover in LA

Ford has revealed its 2013 Mustang range, at the top of which sits a Shelby GT500 version capable of surpassing the magical 200mph mark, and consequently humbling its recently revealed nemesis, the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.

According to Ford, the 650HP churned out by the GT500's supercharged 5.8-litre powerplant makes it the most powerful production V8 ever seen – therefore trumping the ZL1’s title of ‘fastest Camaro in history’. Torque from the all-aluminium engine is equally impressive, standing at 600lb ft; even more remarkable given that a V10-engined Lamborghini Gallardo Super Trofeo Stradale ‘makes do’ with 398lb ft.

The Blue Oval proudly states that almost every element of the powertrain has been optimised with a focus on generating the additional 100-odd horsepower over the previous generation GT500. But Ford’s coup will only be complete if the car proves to be equally capable as a daily driver, as the company claims it to be. The GT500’s ability to avoid the American ‘Gas Guzzler’ tax is an early sign that it might be more practical than the headline numbers attached to the car suggest.

The 1750kg powerhouse will be anchored by six-piston Brembo calipers when required, which grab at the enlarged discs via revised pads designed to reduce brake fade. Wheel diameters are 19 inches at the front and 20 inches at the powered rear end, where the 650 horses arrive from the V8 via a carbonfibre driveshaft.

For those who want to put their GT500 through more strenuous challenges than the customary traffic-light drag race, additional capabilities can be garnered from the Performance package (adding Bilstein electronic adjustable dampers and a Torsen limited-slip differential) and the Track package (which provides additional cooling for the engine oil, transmission and rear differential, allowing them to withstand prolonged abuse).

200mph Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang breaks cover in LA 200mph Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang breaks cover in LA

Also making its debut at the Los Angeles show is the Mustang Boss 302, inspired by the heritage of its 1970s namesake. Gaining the visual upgrades applied to the rest of the range (including HID headlamps and revised bumpers), the Boss also gets a ‘hockey stick’ graphics package that harks back to the original car. Power is increased to 444HP over the standard V8 Mustang’s 420HP.

200mph Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang breaks cover in LA

The first of the 2013 model year Mustangs will reach U.S. showrooms early next year, with the GT500 and Boss derivations following closely behind. Ford has not yet revealed whether any versions of its 'pony car' will reach the UK, so we're inclined to predict the same import-only scenario as previous generations.

Text: Joe Breeze
Photos: Ford