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by George Skentzos

Ford has unveiled the flagship 2010 Shelby GT500 Coupe and Convertible, injecting some serious performance into the next generation Mustang range.

 

The new GT500 boasts the same engine that featured in the previous limited-edition GT500KR – a 5.4-litre supercharged V8.

The engine develops and impressive 402kW at 6200rpm and 690Nm at 4500rpm, mated to a six-speed manual transmission with a twin-plate clutch.

 2010 Shelby GT500 Coupe and Convertible

The clutch has been upgraded to a copper/fibreglass blend, ensuring a firm bite during hard launches, while a mechanism controls the intermediate plate making for smoother launches and shifts in normal driving conditions.

“We were charged with creating the ultimate GT,” Jamal Hameedi, chief program engineer for the car said. “I think we did that, but I’m a bit biased. This car is the direct result of all the work we did on the KR. But this car has a better ride, better handling and a more refined powertrain.”

2010 Shelby GT500 Coupe and Convertible

The transmission has also received a minor upgrade with taller gearing in fifth and sixth for improved fuel consumption at highway speeds.

These subtle improvements over the KR ensure its acceleration will be faster, but by how much is still anyone’s guess with the current GT500KR covering the 0-96km/h (0-60mph) dash in just 4.2 seconds.

 2010 Shelby GT500 Coupe and Convertible

While the overall powertrain is virtually identical to the KR, the exterior has brought the GT nameplate into the next generation with a serious of modern yet menacing visual enhancements.

“We worked hard to get as much downforce with as little drag as possible,” said Kerry Baldori, chief functional engineer for SVT. “We worked to seal off the air that comes in the front so it can’t go underneath the car. We spent a lot time sealing components such as the radiator and intercoolor to get rid of all the leak paths. The result of this evolution of aerodynamics is we’ve increased downforce, reduced drag and improved the overall efficiency of the 2010 Shelby GT500.”

 2010 Shelby GT500 Coupe and Convertible

The Shelby Cobra logo has been moved from its traditional location on the left hand side of the grille to clear a path for the cold air intake that feeds the V8.

The 2010 Shelby GT500 will arrive in showrooms in the first quarter of 2009, with the very first car to be auctioned alongside the first 2010 Mustang and the first 2010 Chevrolet Camaro at the Barrett-Jackson auction.




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