2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Convertible to Debut in Chicago

2012 Chicago Auto Show / 72 Comments

The same 650hp V8 has been dropped in the convertible, but top speed has been limited.

The 1993 SVT Mustang Cobra and SVT F-150 Lightning debuted in Chicago twenty years ago and with it the Special Vehicle Team aka SVT was introduced to the world. Now Ford is marking the high performance department's 20th anniversary by unveiling the topless Shelby GT500 which, along with the hard-top, will come with a commemorative lighted sill plate. A nice touch indeed, but what's more important is the car's supercharged 5.8-liter V8.

The most powerful production V8 in the world is good for 650hp and 600lb-ft of torque and delivers a top speed of over 200mph. To put that in perspective, the 1993 SVT Mustang Cobra's 5.0-liter V8 offered a mere 235hp. Additional power from the powertrain comes from a new supercharger, new cross-drilled block and heads, updated camshaft profiles, a new carbon-fiber driveshaft and upgraded transmission, clutch and axle. An optional Performance Package adds SVT-designed Bilstein electronic adjustable dampers and a new Brembo brake system to boost performance.


The result is that the new convertible shaved almost 3.5 seconds off its Sebring International Raceway lap time compared to the 2011 and 2012 models. Upon the leaving the track, 'sport' mode can be switched to 'normal' mode via a button on the dash to soften the ride over road irregularities. Sport mode delivers improved response time on the track and less body roll when cornering with reduced pitch under braking. The Performance Package can also be upgraded to a Track Package that comes with external engine oil, rear differential and transmission coolers for further durability around the tarmac.

However, Ford's engineers displayed uncharacteristic prudence by limiting the GT500 convertible to 155mph in line with the other roofless Mustangs to stop the old boys that buy this car from wrapping it around a tree when trying to impress their more youthful partners. Check back later for more details and live photos from the Chicago Motor Show that kicks off today.

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