As new city cars come out with less than 100 horsepower, you might have thought the horsepower wars were over. But there's still a corner of the great American garage where gearhead engineers build and tune engines to dump massive amounts of power out through driveshafts to wheels.
The team bearing Ford's blue oval on their coveralls get to wear the garage king crown for their efforts with the new Shelby GT500, which was certified to produce 662 horsepower and 631 pound-feet of torque. That makes the 2013 GT500 more powerful than the Ferrari 458 Italia -- lot more powerful.
How did Ford get that much power under the hood of the Mustang-based Shelby GT500? Displacement and forced induction. The block is a 5.8-liter V-8 with dual overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. Ford stuck with port injection for this beast, instead of going with the more efficient direct injection, which could be a lost opportunity or a future improvement.
On top of this engine is a new supercharger, a 2.3-liter forced induction unit powered by the engine to shovel air through the intakes. Ford says that the engine produces 395 pound-feet of torque at idle, then generates the peak 631 pound-feet from 2,000 to 5,800 rpm. The peak horsepower hits at 6,500 rpm, with redline at 7,000.
Ford has not published full performance numbers for the 2013 Shelby GT500 yet, but confidently suggests it will go over 200 mph.
Even as this newly engineered engine makes 112 horsepower more than the 2012 model, the 2013 car gets 1 mpg better fuel economy. The EPA estimates for the new Shelby come in at 15 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. Let's hear it for modern automotive engineering.
Of course, the EPA tests do not include impromptu drag races, track days, or just letting the revs climb to broadcast a sonorous exhaust note. Anyone averaging 20 mpg in the 2013 Shelby GT500 just isn't driving it right.