American muscle cars arrives with the 2013 Ford Mustang, which will sport a brace of tech and styling updates across its line — including the most powerful V8 engine sold by any automaker in the world. How much trouble could you get in with a 200-mph ‘Stang?
The original pony car has survived 46 years only through annual tweaking between major redesigns, and offering a broad enough model range to lure in everyone from high-schoolers to professional drag racers. Thanks to the competition with the revived Chevrolet Camaro, there’s more muscle in muscle cars than ever before; today’s base V6 Mustang has more grunt than the V8 flashed seven years ago.
The biggest change comes at the top, where the Ford Shelby GT500 gets 100 extra ponies under the hood, giving the supercharged 5.8-liter V8 650 hp and 600 lb.-ft of torque — more than any Camaro, Corvette or even the Ferrari 458 Italia. Every part of the Shelby was tweaked in some fashion to handle the power riot, along with a launch control system for better controlled top-speed starts. The only thing not included are the numbers of local bail bondsmen.
For 2013, the exterior gets a freshening in some details, namely a beefed-up grille and different wheel combinations and smoked tail lamps. For the more boastful Mustang owners, a light in the side-view mirror will project the pony logo on the ground when you unlock the car.
The V6 keeps its 305 hp output, while the standard 5-liter V8 in the GT models now tops 420 hp, a gain of 8 hp. The six-speed automatic transmission now offers an optional mix-your-own-gear mode for weekend auto crossers. For the more serious track day adherents, there’s also an upgrade to the brakes, cooling and suspension tweaks from the Boss 302.
To make the fun a little more technical, the dash computer will now come with what Ford calls Track Apps, programs that can measure g-forces, 0-60 and quarter-mile runs and braking data. It’s like having “Motorweek” in your dash. The Boss 302 gets by with a carryover 444-hp V8 and the same appearance changes — and a new color of school bus yellow paint. Your move, Camaro.