2018 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 spy shots

Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] is out testing the next step in performance for the sixth-generation Mustang.

The new model will fill the void left by the previous generation’s Shelby GT500 and could go by the same name, though we’ve also heard a revival of the Mach 1 name is possible.

It’s due for the 2018 model year and expected to deliver an output that will put it on an equal footing with the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, which deliver 650 and 707 horsepower, respectively.

2018 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2018 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 spy shots – Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

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The changes made to the car are heavily camouflaged but we can see a more aggressive front than the one on the Shelby GT350R. It looks like there are larger intakes in the bumper and a nice power bulge on the hood. The front track appears to be slightly wider, too.

The prototype is also wearing massive Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires and features beefy Brembos with cross-drilled rotors. The rear matches the design of the Shelby GT350R but a larger wing is mounted to the trunk lid.

What’s lurking beneath the hood is still a mystery but it may be the oft-rumored twin-turbocharged version of the 5.2-liter V-8 in the Shelby GT350 models. Our photographer claims the engine sounded like the familiar flat-plane crank V-8, but a sticker on the windshield suggests a twin-turbocharging system has been installed.

5.2-liter V-8 from the the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350

5.2-liter V-8 from the the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350

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The sticker reads “TT-0081.” This is the same designation that featured on prototypes for the 2017 F-150 Raptor, which also has a twin-turbocharged engine, albeit a V-6. Forced induction wouldn’t be an odd move as the previous Shelby GT500 came with a supercharged V-8. Supercharged V-8s also feature in the aforementioned Chevy and Dodge rivals.

We’ve also heard that the new Mustang top dog will be fitted with the 10-speed automatic Ford developed with General Motors Company [NYSE:GM]. GM has already fitted it to the Chevy ZL1 and boasts that the unit is quicker than the best dual-clutch transmissions, including Porsche’s PDK.

Since the car is expected for the 2018 model year, it’s possible we see the reveal take place late this year or early next.

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