The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 is one of the scariest production automobiles currently on the market, a vehicle that sports the most powerful V-8 engine that can be driven out of the showroom, and one that still makes use of a live-axle design to get that power to the ground. The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 is in many ways the ultimate expression of the current Mustang platform, and it's not only useful for shutting down competitors in straight-line jousts - it also sports a track-ready suspension system that is capable of turning in impressive road course lap times.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500.
The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 doesn't just look different from the standard edition of the Ford Mustang on which it is based, but it also comes with several updates compared to the previous year's Shelby model. The front fascia has been given a completely open grille in an effort to improve engine cooling and suck as much oxygen under the hood as possible, with just the Cobra logo identifying the vehicle at the lower left edge. A large splitter positioned under the Shelby GT500's air dam is also present and accounted for, while smoked LED tail lamps, a pair of forged alloy wheel designs, and LED bars integrated into the headlights help to further round out the vehicle's distinct personality.
02. The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Is The Most Powerful Mustang Ever
The centerpiece of the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 is its 5.8-liter V-8 engine. This massive unit has been supercharged in order to produce a whopping 662 horsepower and 631 lb-ft of torque, which makes the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 not only the most powerful Mustang to ever leave Dearborn, but also the most powerful V-8 engine currently available on the new car market. It takes roughly 150 horsepower to motivate the Eaton supercharger sitting on top of the engine, the mill's internals are forged, and the camshafts inside the motor can trace their lineage back directly to the Ford GT.
03. The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Comes With A Launch Control System
How does one get all of the 662 horses generated by the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 to the ground without incinerating its massive rear tires? The answer is via a launch control system. Once activated, the launch control system allows the driver to floor the gas pedal while keeping engine speeds pegged to a specific RPM. Letting the clutch out - as abruptly as possible - sees the vehicle's computer dole out torque to the driveline while automatically balancing traction and power. Used properly, the launch control system rockets the car forward without leaving a smoky cloud in its wake.
04. The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Features A Six-Speed Transmission 00
The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 doesn't offer buyers the choice between an automatic and a manual transmission: it restricts them exclusively to a shift-it-yourself gearbox in an effort to maintain the muscle car's high performance personality. The six-speed manual transmission that comes with the Ford Shelby GT500 has been strengthened compared to the 2012 model, and it features new gears and a stronger housing. The Shelby's final drive ratio now sits at 3.31:1 and the transmission is connected to the rear wheels via a carbon fiber driveshaft. The upshot of the revised transmission is a very civilized 24-mpg while cruising on the highway, which is a phenomenal number when considering the overwhelming output provided by the GT500's supercharged eight-cylinder engine.
05. The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Delivers Exceptional Speed
Launch control, 662 horsepower, and a six-speed manual transmission each suggest that the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 is an incredibly quick performer, and the data confirms this particular bias. The Ford Shelby GT500 doesn't even have to be shifted out of first gear in order to reach 60-mph, and the milliseconds saved by obviating the need to change cogs (combined with launch control) helps it to hit 60-mph in a frightening 3.5 seconds. The quarter mile is also victimized by the GT500, as the vehicle takes only 11.7 seconds to dispatch a drag strip run. Top speed for the Ford Shelby GT500 is a heady 202 miles per hour, which makes it the first member of the Mustang family to crack that mythical barrier.
06. The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Offers Several Options Packages
The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500's performance can be enhanced even further through the judicious application of options packages. The Performance Package adds Bilstein shock absorbers that are driver-adjustable from inside the car in order to move from normal to Sport mode, which tightens up the vehicle's suspension response. A unique Torsen limited-slip differential is also included with the Performance Package. The Track Package takes things a step further by significantly upgrading cooling for the engine, the differential, and the transmission, as well as providing further tuning of the Shelby GT500's suspension for the ultimate in on-track handling.
07. The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Debuts Track Apps
The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 lets owners keep track of just how quickly they can drive the coupe or convertible versions of the car with the Track Apps feature. Track Apps, which is displayed on the dashboard via the vehicle's LCD screens, offers an accelerometer to measure g-forces, a system for recording acceleration times in increments of 0-30, 0-60, and 0-100-mph, and a braking distance measurement system. In addition, the Track Apps system is capable of recording quarter and eighth-mile times, and it even comes with a simulated drag strip 'tree' to help drivers plan their launches.
08. The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Provides Outstanding Braking
The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 doesn't just offer incredible amounts of 'go' - it also has an appreciable amount of 'whoa' to help ensure that things don't get too out of control. The Ford Shelby GT500 comes with a new six-piston Brembo braking system at the front of the car, which is crucial when it comes to hauling the vehicle down from triple-digit speeds. Front rotors are upgraded too and measure 380 millimeters, while the rears check in at an almost-as-large 350 millimeters. In addition to outstanding braking capability, the GT500 features a special version of AdvanceTrac electronic stability and traction control which offers multiple settings in order to engage or back off the automobile's electronic nannies to best match driving conditions.
09. The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Can Be Had In Two Body Styles
The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 was initially offered exclusively in coupe form, which makes sense given its propensity for track day shenanigans and its overall high performance personality. However, there are some buyers out there who want to feel the wind blow through their hair at 200 miles per hour - or more - and for that unique subset of individuals the Ford Shelby GT500 is also offered in a drop-top model. The convertible edition of the Shelby GT500 is roughly 80 lbs heavier than the coupe, and the lack of a roof does slightly impact its handling capabilities, but with so much power on tap it's impossible to feel the performance penalty in the seat of your pants when the Ford is at full throttle.
10. The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Is The Final Piece of Carroll Shelby's Legacy
Carroll Shelby, the man who has lent his name to many incredible examples of high performance machinery, is no longer with us. The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 - and more specifically, the Shelby GT500 convertible - represent the final automobiles to have benefited from his input as a racing driver and designer of exotic, envelope-pushing performance cars. For some, this makes the 2013 model year of the Shelby GT500 a collector's item, but more importantly, it allows Shelby's legacy to be cemented with what will surely be looked back on as the wildest, fastest, and most track-friendly version of the Mustang ever produced.