In a move that is likely to cause exploding heads among muscle car traditionalists, Ford could decide to ditch V-8 power for the next Mustang GT500 in favor of the new 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 found in the upcoming 2017 Ford GT supercar. A forced-induction version of the flat-plane crank V-8 from the 2016 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350 is also a possibility, but given that Ford has been championing its EcoBoost V-6 in halo products, including the GT and 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor, there might be something to this.

The news comes courtesy of Automobile Magazine, which says whatever engine the GT500 ends up with, we can expect it to produce over 700 horsepower. The new engine is undergoing development both in Dearborn and on the track in the Ford-powered 2014 Ford Riley Daytona prototype race car in the Tudor United SportsCar Series. The block, heads, pistons and intake are all new, and it uses a dual fuel-injection system that combines port and direct injection. Ford hasn’t shared much more than that, but promised that it will be virtually lag free.

With a startling 662 horsepower, the previous GT500 was a 200-mph muscle car that could be had for about $56,000. The only problem was that it didn’t go around corners so well due to its live rear axle and a heavy supercharged V-8 anchor under the hood. Combined with the Mustang’s newfound independent rear suspension, a lighter, smaller displacement V-6 could improve handling dramatically, making the GT500 more than just a straight-line threat.

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Why it matters

When Ford introduced the GT supercar earlier this year alongside the new F-150 Raptor, both powered by EcoBoost V-6s, it may have given you the impression that Ford was trying to drive the performance market away from V-8s and towards turbocharged V-6s. That certainly seems to be the case more so than ever, especially if this latest rumor holds true.

Ford recognizes that V-8s aren’t long for this world outside of enthusiast circles and is currently positioning it self as the American leader in turbocharger technology. But technology is worthless if no one wants it, so by putting its new EcoBoost V-6 in its fastest halo products, it’s essentially trying to make its engine of the future cool. I’d say it’s working.

2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang

2016 - 2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review here.

Source: Automobilemag

James Wolfcale
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