LA Show: Ford Shelby Mustang GT500

Ford - and Carroll Shelby - have unveiled the most powerful version of the Ford Mustang yet, with the 2012 GT500 also boasting a 200mph top speed

Here’s one to challenge the creaky hypothesis that there’s no such thing as too much power – a Ford Mustang that’s claimed to be capable of cracking the double-ton. Even more impressive is the fact that the car in question isn’t a one-off tuner special, but a full production model. The Shelby GT500 made its debut at the Los Angeles motor show, and its fair to say that it pretty much stole the headlines.

Carroll Shelby himself was on hand to unveil the latest in a long line of Mustangs to bear his name. Despite being 89 years old, and in frail health, Shelby turned up on the show stand to pronounce the car his ‘favourite Mustang of all time.’

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The numbers are certainly impressive. The supercharged 5.8-litre V8 is claimed to turn out 650bhp (and 600lb ft of torque) – figures that Ford claims make it the most powerful production V8 in the world. It was certainly enough to steal a fair bit of GM’s thunder from the near-simultaneous announcement of the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. There are no official acceleration times for the GT500 yet, but Ford claims it will have a top speed of ‘over 200mph.’ After our recent drive in the considerably less powerful Mustang Boss 302, that sounds positively scary.

Engineering changes have been made to deal with the extra power, with revised gearing to reduce wheelspin under acceleration and a carbonfibre propeller shaft. The GT500 also gets a new launch control system and uprated brakes including six-piston calipers at the front. It will be sold with the option of a Torsen limited slip differential, plus a Bilstein suspension package including adaptive dampers with two different modes.

The GT500 will go on sale next year, with a pricetag set to make it the most expensive Mustang of all time. Although it will never be officially imported, let’s hope that a few make the long trip to the UK.

Ford also announced a package of revisions to lesser versions of the Mustang at LA. You can read all about them here.

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