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Ford's max Mustang brings ‘world class’ into the sports coupe conversation

  • Magazine Article
  • 20AUTP03_12
Published March 01, 2020 by SAE International in United States
  • English

There's the old saw about a something being better than the sum of its parts. That phrase applies to the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 - despite most of its parts being categorically bombastic. Its performance far exceeds any old-school ponycar yardstick, but those expecting a straight-line brute will be surprised. The Shelby GT500's sublime chassis stands it more in the company of powered-up Porsches than howling Hellcats.

The supercharged “Predator” 5.2-L V8's stun-grenade numbers - SAE-rated 760 hp and 625 lb-ft (847 Nm) - might logically be blamed for perpetuating any perceptions of the Shelby GT500 as one-trick musclecar. It's the “most power-dense V8 in America,” boasts Mustang chief engineer Carl Widman. The backstory is nearly as good as the raw performance: it was long assumed that the Predator would be a supercharged variant of the heralded and high-revving 5.2-L “Voodoo” flat-plane-crankshaft V8 that debuted in 2015's Mustang Shelby GT350. Instead, engineers fitted a conventional cross-plane crank and changed nearly every internal component, retaining only the basic architecture from the Voodoo.