What It Is: The high-performance variation of the new-for-2015 Ford Mustang, which we believe will keep its Shelby GT500 moniker. In light of the expected return of the Shelby GT350, we hear those in Dearborn are wary of two Shelby-branded offerings in the lineup diluting the badge’s equity, and are looking into changing the more powerful car’s name to SVT Cobra. We don’t expect this name change to happen, but many monikers from high-performance Mustangs past are being considered for resurrection. If you’re wondering whether this is a GT350, well, that model isn’t expected to arrive for a few years yet, so it’s safe to assume this is a GT500.
Platform: The new Mustang makes use of a newly developed rear-drive platform code-named “S550.” Of course, the big news of S550 is that it features an independent rear suspension. Our guess is that this is where the majority of the development work on the GT500 is centered; the engineers must tune the suspension to handle the Trinity motor’s mighty thrust and unique weight balance. In previous sightings of GT500 mules, we spotted what appeared to be carbon-ceramic brake rotors peeking through the front wheel spokes, with the rear discs appearing to be crafted from steel. This car rolls with some visually prohibitive covers mounted over the wheels, obscuring any insight as to what may stop this tester. The fact covers now exist suggests that Ford will indeed move away from the outgoing car’s steel brakes.
Powertrain: We expect the Shelby GT500 will again utilize the 5.8-liter Trinity V-8, and while a power bump is possible, it’s not at all necessary. The GT500 today struggles to lay down the power and is plenty quick. Once again, the GT500 should get just a single transmission option: a six-speed manual.
Thanks to: Car and Driver