Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
February 13, 2012
Photos By: Courtesy Ford Motor Company

When Chevrolet revealed its '12 Camaro ZL1 with 580hp, no one at Ford seemed concerned. Here's why. They knew what was coming for '13--a Shelby GT500 with a new supercharged 5.8L V-8 that puts out 650 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque, making it the most powerful production V-8 engine in the world, and one-upping the hottest Camaro by 70 horsepower. Ford says the new Shelby is capable of 200 mph. And although Ford has not yet released fuel economy numbers, they say the GT500 remains exempt from the gas guzzler tax. Amazing.

Obviously, Ford's SVT found a way to get a 100hp bump over last year's 5.4L GT500. Most of the credit goes to a larger, more efficient supercharger, a TVS series 2300 with 2.3L displacement and a unique design for the 5.8L, combined with a more efficient air cooler, higher-flow intercooler pump, and an intercooler heat exchanger with 36 percent more volume. Updated camshaft profiles also contribute to the power increase.

While the Shelby doesn't get as much of a visual make-over as the rest of the '13 Mustang line (notable exception: quad tailpipes), nearly every vehicle system has been upgraded to handle to additional horsepower and torque. The six-speed manual transmission offers upgraded gears and bearings, and the final drive ratio has been revised to 3.31:1 for optimized gearing. The dual-disc clutch has increased torque and rpm capacity.

With 200 mph capabilities, SVT updated the front grille, fascia, and splitter to make the GT500 more secure and planted to the road at high speeds. To better manage the torque, a Torsen differential is now part of the optional Performance Package, which also includes SVT-designed Bilstein electronic adjustable dampers, while a new launch control system is integrated with both engine and traction controls to let drivers set the desired launch rpm. The Performance Package can even be upgraded with a Track Package that includes coolers for engine oil, transmission, and differential.

Stopping is also addressed with a new Brembo braking system that includes six-piston calipers in front along with larger front and rear rotors with improved brake pads. Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar G:2 are standard on 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels, with a unique wheel available for cars with the option packages.

Obviously, with 650hp and 200 mph capabilities, the '13 Shelby GT500 rates as the most impressive performance Mustang of all time. We can't wait to see what Shelby American has in store for its GT500 Super Snake. Last year, the top package made news with 850hp. Will we see 1,000hp for the '13 Super Snake?

As expected, the second year for the Boss 302 pays tribute to the second year of the original. With new hockey stick stripes replacing the C-stripes from '12, the '13 model pays tribute to the '70 Boss 302, which featured Larry Shinoda's eye-grabbing graphics. Like the '70s, the new side stripes are reflective. According to Ford, it's the first modern application of reflective stripes on a modern production car.