2011 Ford Shelby GT500: Lighter, stronger, faster

At the 2010 Chicago Auto Show, Ford has unveiled the next Shelby GT500 with an all new aluminum V-8.

Antuan Goodwin Reviews Editor / Cars
Antuan Goodwin gained his automotive knowledge the old fashioned way, by turning wrenches in a driveway and picking up speeding tickets. From drivetrain tech and electrification to car audio installs and cabin tech, if it's on wheels, Antuan is knowledgeable.
Expertise Reviewing cars and car technology since 2008 focusing on electrification, driver assistance and infotainment Credentials
  • North American Car, Truck and SUV of the Year (NACTOY) Awards Juror
Antuan Goodwin
2 min read

Ford Shelby GT500
The 2011 Shelby GT500 features some pretty big changes under the hood. Ford

At the 2010 Chicago Auto Show, Ford has unveiled the next Shelby GT500. But instead of just adding more power, Ford has also added a significant amount of lightness and efficiency, with a new engine.

Under the hood is a new 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 developed by Ford's Special Vehicles Team that makes 550-horsepower (10 more than the outgoing model) and 510 pound-feet of torque (unchanged). However, that new engine is now made completely of aluminum, resulting in a 102-pound weight reduction to the engine alone. Further weight savings in other areas result in a vehicle that is 120 pounds lighter overall than the outgoing GT500. Of course at 3,800+ pounds, the GT500 is still a pretty big girl, but less weight equals better performance no matter how you look at it.

GT500's engine bay
The SVT supercharged V-8 actually has a lot in common with the Nissan GT-R's mill. Ford

In addition to being lighter, the new engine should also be more efficient thanks to Ford's Plasma Transfer Wire Arc (PTWA) cylinder coating system that reduces friction between the engine's pistons and cylinders. If this tech sounds familiar, it's because Ford licensed the PTWA tech to Nissan for the GT-R. The engine's slippery plasma-coated internals--along with a move from pneumatic to electric power steering--help the GT500 achieve a projected of 23 MPG highway and 15 MPG, which makes the GT500 one of only a handful of 500-plus horsepower cars that doesn't get slapped with the gas guzzler tax.

New standard convenience features include standard HID headlamps, fold-down rear headrests, and Ford's MyKey programmable vehicle key--for owners silly enough to set a teen driver loose in their GT500. Optionally, the GT500 is also available with Ford's glass roof or as a convertible.

The lighter, faster, and more efficient Ford Shelby GT500 goes on sale this summer. Pricing has yet to be announced.