What it is: The most steroidal colt in Ford’s stable, with a higher number in its name and more power under the hood than any other production Mustang.
Why it matters: Ford needs an answer to Dodge’s 707-hp Challenger SRT Hellcat and Chevy’s 650-hp Camaro ZL1.
Platform: For the first time, a factory Mustang Shelby GT500 will have an independent rear suspension. The rest of the mega-Mustang is less groundbreaking: wider tracks, aerodynamic work, fatter tires. As with the previous GT500, this new model wears an enlarged grille with a big lower intake, and the combined visual effect is of gaping holes. Mostly, that maw—along with other various gashes and vents in the GT500’s bumper and hood—exists to route cool air to the brakes and engine. But it also looks mean as hell.
Powertrain: Those yawning orifices up front aren’t feeding a hamster on a wheel. A big forced-induction V-8 will gulp air through them. Everyone is expecting a twin-turbocharged Coyote 5.0-liter V-8. That’s certainly a possibility but would surely sacrifice any pretense of efficiency in order to top the old GT500’s 662-hp supercharged 5.8-liter V-8 and the Camaro ZL1’s output, let alone mount a darkhorse effort to usurp the Challenger Hellcat’s horsepower rating. To that end, we hear Ford is leaning away from EcoBoost and toward a supercharged, larger-displacement version of the Mustang GT’s Coyote. If that sounds a lot like the GT350’s 5.2-liter Voodoo V-8, well, that’s because it would be, albeit with a conventional 90-degree crankshaft in place of the Voodoo’s 180-degree piece, as well as direct fuel injection. Expect both a six-speed manual transmission and a 10-speed automatic co-developed with GM and also used in the ZL1.
Competition: BMW M4, Cadillac ATS-V coupe, Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, Mercedes-AMG C63 S coupe.
What might go wrong: It might not be as good on a track as the ZL1, but considering how well the GT350 handles, that seems unlikely.
Estimated arrival and price: Later this year; expect to pay at least $65,000, more if dealers decide to gouge buyers.