Ford has managed to eke out an extra two miles per gallon on the highway from the heavily revised 2010 Shelby GT500, bringing its EPA estimated figures to 14 mpg city and 22 mpg highway. Sure, it seems rather unlikely that buyers looking at a muscle car will be all that concerned with fuel economy, but as much as we'd prefer the figures to be significantly higher, we're not ones to turn down a few free miles per gallon. Of course, the reason this car exists isn't to save on fuel bills. This being the case, the fuel economy improvement is accompanied by a bump up to 540 horsepower and a stump-pulling 510 lb-ft of torque, which is enough blast the GT500 to 60 miles per hour in just 4.3-seconds.
In fact, as is often the case, the revisions that make the latest Shelby more fuel efficient also also end up contributing to its improved ability to accelerate. The biggest change that helps on the highway is numerically lower gearing in the transmission for the fifth and sixth cogs, which, combined with a 3.55:1 axle ratio, allows the big 'Stang to boast improved acceleration in the first four gears to go along with the lowered RPM highway drone made possible by the last two gears.
Ford also points to a refined air intake and a revised twin-disc clutch as reasons the 2010 Shelby GT500 is a step above its predecessor, and we also took note of the vastly superior interior that's standard in all new Mustangs when we last took a look at the GT500. Click here to read all about it, and click past the break for the mpg-touting press release.
ON THE UP AND UP: 2010 FORD SHELBY GT500 DELIVERS BETTER PERFORMANCE, FUEL ECONOMY
* Upgrades to DOHC V-8 engine's calibration and cold-air intake system increase horsepower to 540 and torque to 510 ft.-lb.
* 2010 Ford Shelby GT500 boasts a 2 mpg improvement in highway driving compared to the outgoing model
* Gearbox refinements improve Ford Shelby GT500's signature straight-line acceleration when running through the lower gears, while also providing a highway fuel economy increase
SAN FRANCISCO, March 31, 2009 – "Better" is the operative word when describing the 2010 Ford Shelby GT500. Better horsepower. Better torque. Better handling. Better interior.
And, yes, better fuel economy.
"The 2010 Shelby GT500 picks up an additional 40 horsepower and 30 ft.-lb. of torque over the outgoing model, and has better fuel mileage as well," said Kerry Baldori, chief functional engineer for Ford's Special Vehicles Team. "That's a huge win-win for our customers."
Certification testing shows the 2010 Shelby GT500 improves 2 mpg in highway conditions compared to the outgoing model, with ratings of 14 mpg city and 22 mpg highway. Changes to the top gears, which were made taller, are a key reason for the improvement.
Refinements to the supercharged and intercooled 5.4-liter DOHC V-8 engine's calibration and improvements to the cold-air intake system help increase the performance on the 2010 Shelby GT500. The engine calibration now features a dual-knock sensor system instead of a single-knock sensor, improving the efficiency of the engine by making better use of the fuel provided. The cold-air intake system makes sure cold air is directly fed to the engine under all circumstances, whether on the street or on the track, to give customers maximum power. The redline is 6,250 rpm.
"Where you really feel the new power and torque is mid-range," said Baldori. "The new Shelby GT500 produces more torque than the outgoing model at 3,000 rpm and never looks back."
Gains made on the special 40th anniversary edition Shelby GT500KR's cold-air induction system are part of the 2010 Shelby GT500's package as well. Attention was given to the hood blanket to form a tight seal in the area around the induction system and open air filter element.
The additional power in the 2010 Shelby GT500 is easier to handle thanks to improvements to the twin-disk clutch system on the 6-speed manual transmission. The twin disks are a larger diameter – up from 215 mm to 250 mm – are more robust and now made of copper and fiberglass.
"If you went with one disk, the torque output of the 2010 Shelby GT500 would require that disk to be very large," said Baldori. "The twin-disk system allows us to get the required surface area in a smaller package. Having two disks also lowers the inertia compared with one large disk, which improves drivability."
The intermediate disk, rather than floating, has six straps that control the engagement of the clutch, improving drivability, and a dampener reduces gear clash and gear rattle noises. The overall result is that clutch efforts are dramatically lower while clutch engagement is smoother.
"The ability to launch is much easier," said John Pfeiffer, product development engineer. "You can jump in the 2010 Shelby GT500 and rip off 4.3 (0 to 60 mph times) without any practice, on your way to a 0-100 time of 9.4 seconds."
When not on track, customers of the 2010 Shelby GT500 will benefit from improved highway fuel mileage after improvement to the six-speed gearbox. Fifth gear changes from .80 to .74 while sixth gear goes from .63 to .50. "Our final drive ratio went from 3.31 to 3.55," said Pfeiffer. "That extra power, torque and gear ratio makes gears one through four more performance-oriented, while fifth and sixth gears gives you fuel economy."
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 213,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company's wholly owned automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.