Rumored to get a supercharged V-8 with more than 700 horsepower

Unveiled in December 2013, the sixth-generation Mustang introduced not only a new design language but also a brand-new platform that features an independent rear suspension for the first time since the pony was launched half a century ago. It also received an updated engine lineup that included a turbocharged, 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine and became the first Mustang to be sold worldwide. For 2015, the Blue Oval launched the Shelby GT350, the first performance-oriented version of the sixth-gen muscle car. Come 2018 and the mighty GT500 is finally underway.

Test mules were spotted outside Ford’s Dearborn development facility in Michigan as early as 2016, but 2017 brought an updated version on public roads. Sporting a number of features that are different from those seen on the GT350, the prototype came with many hints that we are indeed looking at a more powerful Mustang. The launch date is a mystery as of this writing, but the new GT500 could make its public debut by the end of 2018 for the 2020 model year. If this proves to be true, the nameplate will return after a five-year hiatus, and Ford will finally have a competitor for the Chevy Camaro ZL1 and even the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.

Updated 05/30/2017: Based on the recent spy shots and rumors, we created a rendering for the upcoming Shelby GT500. Let us know in the comments section below what do you think about it!

Continue reading to learn more about the Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang.

Brief GT500 History

Before we move further, let’s have a closer look at GT500 models from the past to get a better grip of the nameplate’s importance for the muscle car market.

2019 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang
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2019 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang
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Note: 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 (left) and 1969 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 (right)
The original GT500 was launched back in 1967, four years after Ford introduced the Mustang. Although not as track-prepped as the GT350, the GT500 had a bigger engine, being fitted with a 7.0-liter V-8 instead for the 4.7-liter found in the former. On top of the engine, which pumped as much as 360 horsepower for the 1968 model year, the GT500 also received unique features inside and out and a Le Mans-inspired stripe package. Several body parts were made from fiberglass in order to save more weight and increase performance. In 1968, a limited-edition GT500KR, also know as the "King of the Road" was sold with the "Cobra Jet" V-8 engine.

The GT500 had a bigger engine, being fitted with a 7.0-liter V-8 instead for the 4.7-liter found in the former

A facelifted version followed in 1969 with the same 428 cubic-inch engine, but production stopped in the summer of 1969, when Carroll Shelby terminated his agreement with Ford. However, unsold 1969 models were given 1970 VINs. In 1971, the last few GT500s were produced in Europe under license by Belgian dealer Claude Dubois.

2007 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
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Ford Shelby GT500

Note: 2007 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 pictured here.

While the Mustang moved on, no Shelbys were made until the 2000s. The GT500 returned for the 2007 model year, four decades after its initial release, this time around based on the fifth-generation model. Now using a 5.4-liter V-8, the GT500 generated 500 horsepower and had numerous performance upgrades compared to the standard Mustang GT. Production continued until 2009 and a GT500KR version was again offered, alongside a Super Snake variant. The GT500 returned in 2010 with the same supercharged 5.4-liter V-8, but output increased to 540 horses. The powerplant was swapped for an all-new aluminum unit in 2011, when performance improved to 550 horsepower.

2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 High Resolution Exterior
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Note: 2013 Ford Mustang Shleby GT500 pictured here.

The final batch of GT500s was made available in 2013 and 2014, this time with a supercharged, 5.8-liter V-8. Rated at 662 horsepower and 631, it became the most powerful GT500 ever built and a tough benchmark for future Shelby Mustangs. Another edition of the Super Snake, which boosted the V-8’s output to 850 horsepower was offered until the fifth-generation Mustang was discontinued at the end of 2014.

Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang Exterior

2019 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang Spyshots Exterior
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2019 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang Spyshots Exterior
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2018 Ford Mustang Exterior High Resolution
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2018 Ford Mustang High Resolution Exterior
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Note: Upcoming Shelby GT500 (top) next to the 2018 Ford Mustang (bottom)

- * Aggressive design
- * Larger fender intakes
- * Vented engine hood
- * Trunk lid spoiler
- * Race-inspired diffuser
- * Carbon-fiber trim
- * Stripe packages

While it will borrow some of the GT350’s body panels, the GT500 will get a few features of its own

As you’d expect from a Mustang wearing the GT500 badge, Ford’s latest muscle car will be a more aggressive version of the GT350 styling-wise. This isn’t visible right now as the prototype is still camouflaged, but Ford will definitely roll out a unique aero package. While it will borrow some of the GT350’s body panels, the GT500 will get a few features of its own. For starters, we know for sure that the high-performance coupe will sport a larger, fixed-wing atop the trunk lid. This feature is not yet present on the latest test mule, but we’ve seen it on previous prototypes, as well as in the company’s teaser showing the top of the car. A new bumper a massive splitter round of the front fascia, which also includes the iconic "cobra" badge on the grille.

Although hidden by camo, the front fascia should also employ larger bumper intakes and a revised main grille that lets more air into the engine. Speaking of that, the bigger, more powerful powerplant will come with a brand-new hood fitted with a large power dome. The teaser also shows a massive vent in center with six slats. A revised diffuser and new side skirts are also on the table, along with exclusive "GT500" badges on the fenders. The GT500 package could also include a couple of new exterior colors and various body stripe combinations.

Rendering

2019 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang
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As explained above, our rendering artist fed the GT350 a bowl of steroids and turned it into the sexiest and most aggressive sixth-generation Mustang yet. The front fascia is highlighted by the honeycomb mesh in the main and lower grilles, carbon-fiber splitter with massive winglets at each corner, and a beefed-up, vented engine hood. The latter is obviously bigger in the official teaser, which makes the design much more aggressive. The unique wheels with red brake calipers, the "GT500" badges on the front fenders, large side skirts, and the carbon-fiber wing complete the picture.

2019 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang
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2016 - 2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang High Resolution Exterior
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Shelby GT500 rendering 2017 Shelby GT350

Interior

2015 Ford Mustang
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2016 - 2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang High Resolution Interior
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Note: Interior of a standard Ford Mustang pictured on the left and Shelby GT350 pictured on the right

- * Likely based on GT350
- * New seats
- * Contrast stitching
- * Bespoke instrument cluster
- * Unique features

The GT500's interior will remain recognizable as a Mustang, but it will get an array of unique features

The interior of the GT500 is a complete mystery as of this writing, but logic dictates it will be based on the GT350. It will remain recognizable as a Mustang and employ a similar dashboard, door panels, and center console, but it will get an array of unique features. While the steering wheel will likely be sourced from the GT350, the instrument cluster will have bespoke gauges, while the infotainment screen will be updated accordingly.

Look for "GT500" badges, unique upholstery with high-contrast stitching, and sports seats. Traditionally, the GT500 was never as track-oriented as the GT350, which means that the new model will probably receive the convenience features that aren’t available in the standard version of the latter. The list includes air conditioning, a sound system, rear seats, and a backup camera.

Drivetrain

- * Supercharged V-8
- * Twin-turbo engine still an option?
- * At least 700 horsepower
- * Six-speed manual likely
- * Some will miss the all-motor setup
- * Brembo brakes
- * Michelin tires

Rumors suggest that Ford will drop a twin-turbocharged engine in the GT500

"What engine will the GT500 get?" is arguably the biggest dilemma surrounding this Mustang. And it’s an important question since the GT500 has been the most powerful factory-built Mustang to come from Ford in recent years. Anything above it usually wears a Super Snake badge, and it’s made in Shelby’s shop.

So what engine will be providing the juice for the upcoming GT500? The only thing I am sure of as of this writing is that it will have eight cylinders and use some kind of forced induction.

Initial rumors suggested that Ford will drop a twin-turbocharged engine in the GT500. This would be a first for the nameplate, which used a supercharged V-8 in its previous generation, but such an overhaul would make sense given Ford’s recent drivetrain strategy. The twin-turbo scenario is also backed by the letters TT on one of the test car’s windscreen, which is similar to those seen on recent Ford SVT Raptor mules, already confirmed to use turbos. The V-8 in question is yet unknown, but it could either be a modified version of the 5.0-liter "Coyote" or a brand-new engine.

Power estimates range from 700 to as much as 800 horsepower

If it happens, this will make the GT500 the only beefed-up muscle car to use turbocharging, as both the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and the Dodge Challenger Hellcat have superchargers under the hood.

On the other hand, there has been a lot of talk about Ford working on a supercharged version of the 5.2-liter V-8 offered in the GT350. This is definitely doable, and the 5.2-liter has great potential when it comes to horsepower and torque, but there’s no confirmation that the Blue Oval is indeed strapping a blower to the "Voodoo" unit yet.

The muscle car might use Tremec’s TR-6060 six-speed manual gearbox

But no matter the engine, the GT500 is rumored to have enough power to outgun both the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat output-wise. Estimates range from "more than 700" horsepower to "as much as 800" horses. This immense amount of power will be backed by a high-performance braking system from Brembo and new Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. As far as transmissions go, it was originally believed that the GT500 might arrive with a dual-clutch automatic. However, a prototype spotted testing in April 2018 had a manual-specific gear shifter and it’s now believed that the muscle car might use Tremec’s TR-6060 six-speed manual gearbox.

Ford could offer both though, which would keep everyone happy. While the manual will please hardcore enthusiasts, the automatic will provide quicker shifts for drivers looking to set the fastest laps at the race track.

Prices

It’s obviously too early to talk about prices, but the GT500 could be the most expensive version of the sixth-generation Mustang and fetch around $70,000. What’s more, word has it that Ford plans to build it in limited numbers, which could translate into unreasonable dealer fees.

Competition

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
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When it arrived for the 2015 model year, the Challenger Hellcat was the most powerful factory-built muscle car ever made thanks to the 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet coming from the supercharged, 6.2-liter, Hemi V-8. More than two years have passed and this hasn’t changed (if we ignore the dragstrip-focused Demon), despite Chevrolet launching a new Camaro ZL1. Needless to say, the Hellcat is tough to beat. It 0-to-60-mph sprint is also impressive at a little over three seconds, as is its 199-mph top speed. The supercharged Mopar is also reasonably priced given the performance it returns, retailing from a little over $60,000 including destination. On the flipside, demand is higher than production, making Hellcats difficult to find at dealers. The Hellcat won’t be around for much more either.

Find out more about the Challenger SRT Hellcat here.

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Introduced for the 2017 model year, the new ZL1 is based on the lighter and sportier sixth-generation Camaro and gets its juice from the same supercharged, 6.2-liter LT4 engine found in the Chevy Corvette Z06. The mill pumps 650 horsepower and 650 pound-feet to the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual or a brand-new 10-speed automatic. Performance-wise, the ZL1 needs only 3.5 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start and 11.4 ticks to complete the quarter mile. An updated Magnetic Ride Suspension, Performance Traction Management, and an electronic limited-slip differential keeps the ZL1 on its best behavior. Pricing starts from $62,135, a nearly $7,000 hike from the previous generation, but just a tad more expensive than the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.

Learn more about the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 here.

Conclusion

2019 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang Spyshots Exterior
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Arguably the most anticipated high-performance version of the Ford Mustang, the GT500 is finally set to return after being discontinued in 2014. No longer built in Shelby’s shop and with a turbocharged engine under the hood, the new coupe will definitely be a massive departure from its predecessor. However, performance should improve dramatically, and if recent rumors are true, the upcoming Shelby GT500 might have what it takes to give the Dodge Challenger Hellcat a run for its money.

  • Leave it
    • Likely more expensive than competition
    • Limited production run could make it extremely scarce at dealers
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