When the Mustang GT500 made its debut at this year’s Detroit Motor Show, the sight of the car itself must have caused a collective lapse in the journalistic thoroughness of the automotive media corps. Visually and in terms of its base ingredients, Ford Performance’s newest creation ticked all the boxes.
Despite the production car itself laid bare for all to see, the Dearborn-based automaker remained quite silent on specifics, confirming that the car’s 5.2-litre supercharged V8 will have in excess of 700hp (522kW), making it the most powerful production Ford ever built. But we already knew that.
Ford, more recently, published a more technical piece about how digital simulations and cutting edge 3D design leveraging supercomputer levels of processing were responsible for the various aerodynamic features and innovations that are found on the new GT500, but also confirmed a nugget that was hinted at back in January.
On a couple of occasions, the release references the downforce generated by the GT500 at 180mph (289.6km/h), a point of measure which is sometimes the case with very fast cars and their published stats. However, Car and Driver were more suspicious about the exactness of that figure and reported it to be the car’s official top speed.
Now, for reference, the previous generation GT500 was capable of reaching the coveted 200mph mark, but Ford has since confirmed to other outlets that, despite it being the most powerful Ford ever in production, each example car will indeed have an electronic limit that caps top speed at 180mph.
While some may choose to throw their arms up and flip some tables in revolt, this move is in keeping with direction of the car’s development, which from the start was conceived as more of a track scorcher instead of one that’s focused on straight line speed.
Unlike previous iterations of range-topping Mustangs, Ford has its sights on other cars such as the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, Corvette ZR1, as well as staple track-focused versions of other sports cars such as the Porsche 911 GT3 and the Nissan GTR Nismo.
With a frankly ridiculous amount of aero for a muscle car and plenty of carbon fibre components, there’s little doubt that the GT500 will indeed upset the establishment, but that’s not to say that straight line performance will be compromised.
After all, plenty of calibration work was put into its launch control system and quick-shifting Tremec dual-clutch transmission. Paired with its fat rear tyres wearing Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, and its 3.5 second 0-100km/h time becomes very believable, and replicable in the everyday. And, who knows, perhaps Ford Performance will wake up one morning and decide to offer an option to remove the electronic limiter.