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Motoring: Mustang Shelby GT500 muscles its way onto the road

Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | October 28th, 2013

The muscle car wars have made a comeback. This genre of automobiles started out in the 1960s, but due to rising fuel prices and ever tighter emission regulations, the muscle car almost vanished in the '80s and '90s.

Thankfully though, the American muscle car has returned, and now the competition is fiercer than ever. Chevrolet has the Camaro, Dodge has the Challenger, and Ford, the company that started this whole segment, has the Mustang.

Ford had revised all Mustang models for 2013, but the biggest news is regarding the model with the biggest muscles: the Shelby GT500.

While in previous years, this model was offered with a 5.4-litre supercharged V8, for 2013, the GT500 comes equipped with a 5.8- litre supercharged V8. This all aluminum, four-valve per cylinder motor produces 662 hp and 631 lb/ft of torque, making it the most powerful stock production muscle car ever made. Power is fed to the rear wheels through a Tremec six-speed manual gearbox (sorry, no automatic offered). A new dual-disc clutch is employed to deal with the increased torque and rpm capacity.

As you'd expect, this is a fast car. The zero to 100 km/h sprint is done in 4.0 seconds flat, and it can hit a top speed of 325 km/h, a feat it accomplished at the Nardo highspeed test track in Italy. That means the new GT500 is also the fastest muscle car currently in production. Trust me, I know just how fast this car truly is.

While the GT500 retains the independent front suspension and a live-axle rear layout from previous models, there are optional packages available to make the car handle better. The Performance Package comes with a Torsen limited- slip differential for better traction when driven hard, and buyers can also opt to include an additional Track Package which comes with an external engine oil cooler, rear differential cooler and a transmission cooler for further durability during track tests.

Not all the tuning on the new GT500 is focused on performance; comfort is also a priority. Cars fitted with the Performance Package also get SVT-designed Bilstein suspension with electronically adjustable dampers, which can offer a comfortable ride for the road, or a hard setup for track use.

Externally, the 2013 GT500 also gets revisions. There is a sharper nose at the front with an aggressive splitter to improve downforce at speed. Around the back, new taillights are much better integrated into the design of the trunk. While the profile is very familiar, new 19-inch front and 20-inch rear alloy-wheels do enhance the look. Those wheels come equipped with Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar G:2 tires as standard.

While the interior does not seem to have changed much, it does get new gadgets like Track-Apps, which records your various performance data, and a Launch Control system, which allows you to make those perfect acceleration runs every time.

If you get carried away, new six-piston Brembo brakes will do the job to slow you down.

The 2014 model of the GT500 is identical to the 2013 model. Pricing for the 2014 GT500 coupe starts at $61,699; the convertible starts at $66,699.

In 2014, the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 will face new competition in the form of the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and the track-biased Camaro Z/28. These surely are great times to be a muscle car fan.
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