The new GT500 is coming soon. Here's what you need to know before it arrives.
Ford fans rejoice, for today is a good day. The long-awaited return of the Mustang Shelby GT500 is nearly upon us, with the automaker confirming the reveal is just a couple months away. When we last saw the GT500 it had a solid axle in the back, 662 supercharged horses up front, and all kinds of retro attitude in between. Much has changed in the Mustang world in the few years it’s been gone, which might have some of you wondering what we can expect in the reborn Pony Car. Here’s everything we know right now on the 2020 Shelby GT500.
What is it?
Carroll Shelby tuned his first Mustang way back in the mid-1960s with the first-generation model, and his name has been synonymous with the Pony Car ever since. The Shelby GT500 was reborn in 2007 as the range-topping Mustang, and its supercharged V8 ultimately pushed the car to 200 mph before disappearing in 2015 with the launch of the sixth-generation car. The Shelby GT350 with its high-revving, naturally-aspirated V8 stepped in to assume the top spot, and it's certainly no slouch in its own right. But Ford fans have eagerly awaited the GT500’s return ever since it left.
Just prior to the 2018 North American International Auto Show last January in Detroit, Ford released a teaser video that confirmed a new GT500 was finally on the way for 2019, but little else was known. That would change throughout 2018.
What does it look like?
Camouflaged prototypes have been spotted quite often since that first teaser video, and we’ve seen some additional teasers from Ford as well. Obviously, we’re dealing with a current-generation Mustang that should be familiar to everyone, with some aggressive tweaks to the hood and rear fascia for extra cooling and improved downforce. There’s also a daunting front fascia and massive grille that looks large enough to consume small hatchbacks, a whopping big wing at the back, and it will ride on Shelby-specific wheels.
We can’t gloss over this section without mentioning the photo that surfaced on Instagram just over a month ago. Posted by the user sinister_lifestyle, it allegedly showed the GT500 in full view wearing a traditional blue finish with white over-the-top racing stripes. If the photo is legitimate, there are extensive aero changes to the front fascia that would suggest the GT500’s mission might be more focused on handling than the previous incarnation.
What’s under the hood?
A specific engine isn’t confirmed as of yet, but we do know it will be supercharged – especially since Ford just dropped this teaser on Facebook.
That said, it’s widely believed the 5.2-liter flat-plane crank V8 in the current Shelby GT350 will be force fed and dropped into the engine bay. Back in January Ford said the new muscle machine would make at least 700 horsepower (522 kilowatts), though the company seems to have dialed back for reasons unknown. The latest teaser – just announced today at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show – said the car “delivers over 650 horsepower.” Of course, that could still mean the engine will belt out over 700 ponies, which seems logical to us considering Chevrolet and Dodge have engines well north of that figure stuffed into performance machines.
Another alleged leak back in August – this time from Mustang6G.com – was said to list numerous GT500 specs, including the engine displacement of 5.2 liters with an output of 720 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. The source was never confirmed, but some additional figures in the leak cast some doubt on the validity of the image, notably a curb weight of 4,225 pounds and a top speed of 190 mph. That’s significantly heavier than the similar GT350, and over 10 mph slower than the previous generation GT500. Check out the thread at Mustang6G.com to decide for yourself.
What else should we know?
This new GT500 will mark several firsts for the Shelby Mustang lineup. For starters, Ford has already said it will have the highest horsepower of any production vehicle to ever wear a Blue Oval badge. It will also be the first Shelby GT500 to ride on a fully independent suspension (the 1999 - 2004 SVT Cobra had IRS but it didn't wear a Shelby badge), which became standard-issue on the sixth-generation Mustang in 2015. Those are good things, but there’s a rumor that the new ‘Stang could also be the first Shelby to not offer a manual transmission. Instead, it’s believed the shifting will be done with a dual-clutch automatic, possibly with a paddle-shift option. Still, we've seen spy photos showing what appears to be a manual so we're holding out some hope.
When will we see it?
That question was finally answered today. Save the date for January 14, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan, where Ford will unveil the all-new Mustang Shelby GT500.