Welcome to Pop the Hood, an autoMedia.com feature that examines the hottest new models on the market and the things that set them apart from the competition. Last time, we looked at five ways the Scion FR-S shed the pounds. Today, we'll discuss the improvements that Ford made to the 2013 Shelby GT500.
1. Monster Power
Let's get the obvious one out of the way, first. Ford officially announced today that the Shelby GT500 will produce an insane 662 horsepower from its aluminum 5.8-liter V8. That's supercar territory, just a hair away from the limited edition and much less civilized GT1000, and with a 200+ mph top speed, pushes the GT500 into direct competition with the world's most exclusive exotics.
2. Torque, Torque and More Torque
Horsepower is all well and good, but torque is what smokes tires. And the 2013 Shelby GT500 has a lot of it - 631 lb.-ft., to be exact. And like a true muscle car, low-end torque is available as soon as your toe touches pedal. In fact, 395 lb.-ft. are available at just 1,000rpm, and more than 90% of total torque is available from 2,200-5,800rpm. Some high-powered cars boast impressive numbers that take several thousand rpm and a couple of gears to kick in. The new GT500 is not one of them.
3. Weight Still Low
Ford made great strides to reduce weight in the 2011 Shelby GT500, but with the engine growing from 550 horsepower to a whopping 662, you would be forgiven for expecting the weight to balloon once again. Not so. The 2013 GT500 gains just thirty pounds over the 2011 model, weighing in at a relatively svelte 3,850 lbs. Of course, saving weight is extremely important, not the least of which because it often leads to…
4. Improved MPG
Again, with a 112-horsepower boost over the 2011 model, your first reaction might be to consider gas prices and then pass on the 2013 GT500. But the car actually improves efficiency over the previous model, even with all that extra power, from 15/23 to 15/24. Ok, so it's a minimal gain, but the fact that you can pick up a 662-horsepower pavement shredder without paying the Gas Guzzler tax is simply an engineering marvel. Plus, it beats the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 by 5mpg and more than 80 horsepower. The GT500 is actually the most fuel efficient vehicle in America with more than 550 horsepower. Ford is proving that performance and efficiency need not be mutually exclusive.
5. Better Aerodynamics and Handling
Putting down that much power in a car that (somehow) still uses a live rear axle is asking for trouble, right? Nope. The greatest feature of all in the 2013 GT500 may be its balanced performance as a sports car, not just a muscle car. Aerodynamics have improved drastically, with a new splitter and front fascia that directs airflow 33% more effectively at 160mph. The GT500 comes to a stop with help from six-piston caliper Brembo brakes and larger rotors. Launch control, Bilstein adjustable damping and AdvanceTrac stability control will all make the GT500 more of an all-around performance car then ever before.