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Detroit show: LHD-only Ford Mustang GT500 debuts

Ford Australia rules out Mustang GT500 with 522kW-plus supercharged 5.2-litre V8

15 Jan 2019

FORD Australia has ruled out the 522kW-plus Mustang GT500 due to its lack of right-hand-drive production, with the third-generation Shelby sportscar making its debut overnight at the Detroit motor show.
Touted as the “most powerful street-legal Ford in history”, the GT500 is planned to remain a left-hand-drive model, although Ford Australia product communications manager Damion Smy said the company “will continue to explore opportunities for Australian customers”.
Drawing motivation from a hand-built 5.2-litre V8 engine that is hooked up to a 2.65-litre Roots-type supercharger nestled between its cylinder banks alongside an air-to-liquid intercooler, the GT500 produces more than 522kW of power.
Manual transmission enthusiasts should look away as the GT500 is exclusively mated to a Tremec-sourced seven-speed dual-clutch automatic unit that sends drive to the rear wheels via a carbon-fibre driveshaft while shifting gears in less than 100 milliseconds.
As a result, the Blue Oval claims the GT500 can dash from standstill to 60mph (97km/h) in 3.5 seconds while on the way to knocking down the quarter-mile (402m) sprint in less than 11 seconds – the best performance figures yet for a Mustang – thanks to launch control.
Compared to regular sixth-generation Mustangs, the GT500 features revisions for its electric power steering and independent suspension with adaptive MagneRide magnetic dampers, which adds lighter coil springs.
Michelin was tapped to provide tyres for the GT500, with the pony car rolling on either Pilot Sport 4S or Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber with unique compounds and tread.
A pair of 420mm two-piece discs – the largest on a US-market sportscar – are clamped by Brembo six-piston callipers up front to provide track-ready braking performance.
Two optional handling packages are available, including the Carbon-Fibre Track package that adds 20-inch carbon-fibre wheels and an adjustable exposed carbon-fibre wing spoiler, among other parts.
Styling changes were made with cooling, aerodynamics and downforce in mind, with an enlarged grille flanked by side air intakes that link up with the wider front wheelarches and LED headlights.
However, it is the GT500’s louvred bonnet vent that commands all the attention, measuring a massive 787x711mm and featuring a removable aluminium rain tray that contributes to its better air extraction, which has increased by more than 50 per cent overall.
Inside, exposed carbon-fibre trim and Dark Slate Miko suede door inserts with accent stitching set the GT500 apart alongside Recaro front racing seats with pass-throughs for safety harnesses.
“A takedown artist, the new Shelby GT500 will surprise supercar owners with its Ford Performance racing tech, supercharged engine and visceral swagger,” Ford Motor Company president of global markets Jim Farley said.
Sales of the Mustang took a significant hit last year, with 6412 examples sold – a 30.0 per cent decrease over the 9165 deliveries made in 2017.
Nonetheless, the Mustang was the overall best-selling sportscar for the third year in a row and outpaced the BMW 2 Series Coupe and Convertible (1361 units), Toyota 86 (957), Mazda MX-5 (835) and Subaru BRZ (688), among others, in its sub-$80,000 segment.


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