Friday, April 27, 2012

Absurdity: 2013 Shelby GT500 officially rated at 662 hp / 631 lb-ft

Take that, Chevy.

(Source: Consumer Reports)

We already knew that the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 was going to make big power, but we didn't know it would be this much.  Ford released official power figures for the upcoming beast, and it seems as if they had "destroy all" in mind when creating the engine.

How does 662 horsepower and 631 pound-feet of torque sound?  Those are absolutely monstrous figures.  World-crushing, in fact.  Ford claims the GT500's V8 is the most powerful in the world.  It sounds like Al Oppenheiser might be eating his words, or rather the GT500's dust (in a straight line at least).

Let's put things in perspective: in 2005, Ford released the all new Mustang, with retro styling and the 4.6L V8.  Just seven years ago the most powerful Mustang in Ford's lineup made 300 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque.  Put two of these engines together and you'd only best the 2013 GT500's torque by 9 pound-feet....and you would still be down 62 horsepower.  Just think about that.  Two engines.  9.6 liters.  16 cylinders.  And still less horsepower than the new GT500.  That.  Is.  Insane.

Two of these can't even match the GT500.
 (Source: Serious Wheels)

 Not only do these numbers beat the Camaro ZL1 by 82 horses and 75 lb-feet of torque, they trump those of the mighty Corvette ZR1 by 24 horses and 27 torques.  The ZR1 has to hustle about 500 pounds less around the track (the ZR1 is 3353 pounds, compared to the GT500's 3820 lbs), but Ford has been hard at work re-engineering the GT500's suspension and chassis to make it as capable as a car with a live rear axle can be.  They've been re-working, re-tuning, and re-invigorating this car every few years, and they might just be at the point at which they can't take the Mustang any further.

More reasonable comparison: Boss 302 and Camaro ZL1.  Nice try, Chevy.
 (Source: Motor Trend)

People claim the ZR1 is scary to drive fast, but the C7 Corvette is due out next year, and the replacement for the ZR1 should be come just a couple years after that.  It will be lighter, better balanced, and undoubtedly faster (along with a vastly improved interior).  Ford is due to replace the Mustang within the next few years as well, but if they are really trying to get the Mustang to compete with the 'Vette, it's going to need to lose a few pounds and gain a more track-oriented mindset.  But with the ultra-high-performance territory comes price, and here Ford seems to be limiting the GT500 to under $60,000, a very reasonable price for a car with more power than the $375,000+ Lexus LF-A.  Remember, the less powerful ZR1 hurts the back account a good bit more at over $100,000, but it is capable of taking down supercars around a track.  Another $60,000 performance bargain?  The Cadillac CTS-V, which "only" has 556 horsepower and 551 lb-ft of torque, but utilizes the same magnetic suspension found in the ZR1 (and the car weighs very close to the GT500 at around 3,800 pounds).  There's a track battle brewing: GT500, CTS-V, Z06, ZR1.  American muscle, high performance, absurd power.  Oh, and the Dodge SRT Viper.
Looks right at home on a track to me.
(Source: Edmunds)
It's a strange day when the iconic American supercar, the Dodge SRT Viper (it's going to take a while to get used to that) can be compared to a factory-built Mustang in the same sentence.  But the GT500 even bests the Viper's V10, albeit with a supercharger in the place of two extra cylinders.  At 640 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque, the GT500 bests it by 22 horsepower and 31 pound-feet of torque.  The Viper weighs in at 3354 pounds for the "base" model, and 3297 with the optional Track Package.  Such a big weight advantage should make the Viper fast enough to spank the GT500, but wild things can happen when engineers run free.

The all-new SRT Viper has less power than a Mustang?  Who woulda thunk it.

(Source: Top Speed)

Yes, power is nothing without traction, control and balance.  But big numbers can do magical things when given the right tuning setup.  Just look at the BMW X6M.  A 5,300 pound SUV should not be able to do what it does, but its 555 horsepower make it ridiculously quick even for a two-and-a-half-ton behomoth.  Only time will tell if the GT500 is capable of making its earth-moving power work the same wonders on a track that it can do on a dyno.

This shouldn't be fast.  Some people question whether it should even exist.
 (Source: Autoblog)

Hopefully the near future will bring a track test with the Shelby GT500, Corvette ZR1, CTS-V, and SRT Viper battling it out for the title of America's best supercar.  And hell, throw in cars like the 458 Italia, R8, 911 Turbo and GT-R for the fun of it.  We already know how some of those cars do around a track, but what about the new Viper and the GT500?  Only lap times can decide this one...but my money's on the Viper being the quickest out of the domestic power giants.

The horsepower wars are in full effect.  In a time when Ford can offer an all-electric Focus alongside a 662-horsepower GT500, the automotive industry is at its peak.  Just think of the heavy-duty truck industry:  Ford claims one power figure, Chevy milks power out of their trucks just to beat Ford, Ford retaliates with enough power to reverse the earth's rotation.  Things are about to get even more interesting for high-performance cars.  The C7 Corvette and next-generation Mustang are right around the corner.  The Viper is about to prove itself in the real-world.  Who knows what will happen next?  Don't blink, you might just miss something game-changing.

- Ross B

(Source: Top Speed)

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