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by Tim Beissmann

The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 is claiming bragging rights in the world of V8 engines after its 5.8-litre supercharged engine was upgraded to produce 485kW of power.

The more powerful V8, which also delivers 813Nm of torque to the rear wheels, comes as part of a Model Year 2013 update for the Shelby GT500 and regular versions of the famous Mustang sports car on which it’s based, which will all be displayed at this week’s 2011 Los Angeles motor show.

To put the GT500’s power output into perspective, the Ferrari 458 Italia’s 4.5-litre V8 produces 425kW and 540Nm, and the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG’s 6.2-litre V8 generates 420kW and 650Nm.

Ford’s 5.8-litre isn’t technically the most powerful V8 in production, however. The twin-turbocharged 5.0-litre V8 engine in the Koenigsegg Agera R, which produces 830kW of power and an almighty 1200Nm of torque, is one example of a more powerful V8, albeit in a considerably more exclusive and expensive vehicle.

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Ford says almost every major component has been optimised, including the powertrain, gearing, suspension and brakes, though the company hasn’t provided any fresh performance figures.

The engine benefits from a new supercharger, new cross-drilled block and heads, revised camshaft profiles, a new carbon fibre driveshaft, and an upgraded transmission, clutch and axle.

Ford SVT (Special Vehicle Team) chief engineer Jamal Hameedi said the 2013 Shelby GT500 was fitted with a new Brembo brake package and launch control system, and was available with an optional Torsen limited-slip differential to improve the vehicle’s handling.

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“It might just seem like we’re putting a bigger engine into the car,” Mr Hameedi said, “but it’s been a balanced approach through and through.”

Ford says the GT500’s advanced aerodynamics package can handle extreme loads at 200mph (320km/h), and says the car offers 33 per cent more effective aero loading at 160mph (257km/h) than the previous model.

Neither the Ford Shelby GT500 nor the standard Ford Mustang is sold officially in Australia.

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There has been speculation, sparked by comments by Ford boss Alan Mulally, that the next-generation Mustang could share its rear-wheel-drive underpinnings with the next Falcon – in a similar set-up to the Chevrolet Camaro/Holden Commodore where Holden designed and developed both vehicles on the so-called ‘Zeta’ platform.

The more likely scenario remains, however, that the next Falcon, due about 2015, will share its underpinnings with the front- and all-wheel drive Ford Taurus large car as part of the blue oval’s One Ford policy – where only one vehicle type/size is produced for all global markets.




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