2010 Ford Shelby GT500 Sneak Preview

 
 
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Due to go on sale this spring, the next Ford Shelby GT500 benefits from lessons learned from the ultra high-performance 2008-2009 Ford GT500KR. The next GT500 will also be improved inside thanks to interior developments applied to the updated base models. It'll come in coupe and a convertible versions.

The 2010 Shelby GT500 was developed by Ford's Special Vehicles Team (SVT) in consultation with race car legend Carroll Shelby. The GT500KR's influence starts with the 32-valve, dual overhead cam 5.4-liter V8, which gains 40 horsepower to 540 and 30 pound-feet of torque to 510. The power increase can be traced to a lower restriction exhaust system with four-inch outlets and a new open element cold-air intake ram air system, a version of which debuted on the GT500KR.

SVT officials say the GT500's performance has been improved in every way. A higher numeric rear axle ratio (3.55:1 versus 3.31:1) should aid acceleration. The six-speed manual transmission's twin-disc clutch is larger (250 mm versus 215 mm), and the transmission has revised fifth and sixth gear ratios for better highway fuel economy.

The KR also contributed to the new GT500's suspension. The 2010 GT500 gets new stabilizer bars and shock damping, and the spring rates are 13 percent stiffer up front and seven percent stiffer in the rear. The standard wheels will be cast-aluminum 18s, and forged alloy 19s will be optional. Ford's AdvanceTrac electronic stability control will be standard, and it will come with three settings: on, Sport, and off. Anti-lock brakes will also be standard, as will front and side airbags.

Designers also worked to improve aero balance and therefore improve handling. New designs for the front splitter and rear spoiler increase front downforce and decrease it in the rear. This moves the center of pressure forward and closer to the center of gravity, which aids handling.

The 2010 Shelby GT500 also gets the revised body from the updated 2010 Mustang, as well as a new powerdome hood with a large functional air extractor, a large mouth front end design with hints of Shelby's iconic AC Cobra, and new body side stripes. Inside, the GT500 adds some neat touches and the higher quality interior materials used for the revised base Mustang, including a soft-skin dashboard. Muscle car fans will appreciate the striped cue ball-style shift knob. Also new are satin aluminum trim and suede-like alcantara material for the seat inserts, shift boot, parking brake boot, and steering wheel. The seats and shift knob will also have striping that matches the exterior color. Ford's Sync system and ambient lighting will also be standard. A voice-activated navigation system will be optional.

Pricing and production numbers will likely be announced Spring 2009.

Preview by Kirk Bell [NewCarTestDrive].

 
 
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