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by Tim Beissmann

CarAdvice’s spy photographers have snapped a high-performance version of the all-new Ford Mustang undergoing testing in California.

The heavily camouflaged prototype is believed be the successor to the monstrous Mustang Shelby GT500 – the range-topper of the outgoing, fifth-generation ‘pony car’ line-up that produces 494kW of power and 855Nm of torque from its supercharged 5.8-litre V8 and sprints from 0-100km/h in under four seconds.

Gains over its predecessor could see the new model produce in excess of 500kW, putting the compact two-door deep in supercar territory.

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Our spies said a glimpse at the tachometer revealed a 6500rpm redline and a 7000rpm over-rev region, mirroring that of the current GT500. Shots of the interior also reveal a six-speed manual gearlever and torso-hugging leather Recaro sports seats.

Differentiating the prototype from the regular 2015 Ford Mustang GT V8 is a bonnet bulge and larger front air intakes visible beneath the plastic cladding, vertical vents behind the front wheel arches, and quad exhaust outlets in the sporty rear diffuser.

Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres wrap around large alloy wheels, which are covered by black plates to disguise their unique design and the Mustang’s high-performance, cross-drilled brakes.

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Reports from the US suggest the new model may drop the GT500 badge, potentially becoming the GT350 or Mustang SVT (for ‘Special Vehicle Team’ – the division responsible for the development of the company’s highest-performance vehicles).

Whatever it’s eventually called, the new flagship Ford Mustang is not expected to launch before the second half of 2015.

Ford Australia will introduce the Mustang in coupe and convertible body styles in the second half of 2015. Two engines are confirmed for our market at this stage: the 227kW/407Nm 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbo and the 313kW/529Nm 5.0-litre V8.

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A Ford Australia spokesman said the company did not comment on speculation of new models, and said the current focus was on launching the regular Mustang variants into local showrooms next year.

Speculation has the Mustang starting at about $45,000 for the four-cylinder manual coupe.

Click the Photos tab for more images of the Ford Mustang prototype.




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