By on August 6, 2016

ford mustang 2017 shelby gt350

Ford plans to add top-shelf muscle to its Mustang lineup and take the Dodge Challenger Hellcat and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 down a peg.

Spy photos of a camouflaged Mustang variant published by Motor Authority shows a winged, high-performance beast that should appear in 2018. The existing Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 is a hot number, but its power output doesn’t measure up to its Detroit competition.

When the 662-horsepower Shelby GT500 bowed out after 2014, Ford found itself with a performance gap. The GT350 makes 526 hp and 429 pounds-feet of torque — no slouch, for sure — but the Hellcat beats it by a mile with its 707 horses. The ZL1, with 650 hp, is another thorn in Mustang’s side.

As we’ve seen with its truck lineup, the Blue Oval doesn’t like coming in second. Power is prestige, as well as PR.

The spy shots don’t tell us anything more than what we can see. The aggressive front end, possibly wider track, and the need for plenty of downforce in the rear definitely means there’ll be more power up front, but how much? No one outside of Ford knows, but it’s rumored that the model might host a twin-turbocharged version of the GT350’s 5.2-liter V8.

Expect to see a 10-speed automatic offered in the new ‘stang. That unit, jointly developed by Ford and General Motors, also finds a home in the ZL1.

To be a true competitor, the new model’s output must beat the ZL1, at the very least. If it ends up undercutting the Hellcat, Ohio’s Lebanon Ford has a solution for any emasculated Mustang driver. As for a name, Mustang could stick with the GT500 badge, though the long-rumored return of the Mach 1 can’t be ruled out.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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52 Comments on “Ford Planning a Mustang to Take on Hellcat and ZL1 in 2018...”

  • avatar

    Good news is that a new top-spec Mustang might end the dealer markup on the GT350.

    • 0 avatar

      There is a aftermarket modifier here that has a 700hp version, with a Ford Warranty

    • 0 avatar

      Don’t rub it in to the Camaro luvvers. The Mustang already outsells the Camaro 3 to 1 I believe. Personally, I think it’s the best-looking Mustang since the 60’s versions. More people seem to agree. The Camaro however, looks like a cartoon version of the charismatic-looking 60’s and early 70’s models. Go figure, GM.

  • avatar

    Hellcat, GT 350, Z06, this stuff’s really cool, but beyond 600hp it’s getting irrelevant. I know a few guys that race +200mph race cars and none them have any interest in 700hp street cars.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s an ironic thing to post, but high power cars like this have little to actually do with enthusiast drivers and activities thereof.

      This unnamed Mustang variant exists for one main reason – to vacuum money out of John Q. Oneupper , so he can roll down Main Blvd in Farmville USA blasting “Still The One” and feel like a big shot.

      It might even be driven to the office parking lot and shown off to other, similar males as a status tool.

      What it will NOT be used for is 1/4 mile drag racing, road coursing, or any sort of responsible enthusiast driving. The closest it’ll get to that is a near miss accident leaving the Smallville Cars and Coffee.

    • 0 avatar

      Its merely exists for the one upmanship mindset. Just like today’s “half ton” pickups are more like HD pickups of yore. Americans are brainwashed from small on (how ironic) to believe more is always better. That said, more might be better for halo cars. And it makes the survivors worth a lot more at Barret-Jackson in 2050. After a couple of years driving a LT1 with 460 HP, I can’t say that a bit more power might would not be an entertaining thought. It would not be the first thing on my list for an upgrade but I certainly wouldn’t turn my nose up on it.

      • 0 avatar

        As (obviously) the owner of an Ls1 equipped F car , I find limited opportunities to use the stock 350 HP it comes with.

        There’s the WOT on ramp experience, but the lawful fun ends fast. Pushing this vehicle to 8/10ths on a public road is a good way to end up in a courtroom ,hospital, a ditch or all three. Curvy on ramps are fun, but you don’t need 700 hp to enjoy those.

        As YouTube and Google Images can attest, a stock Ls1 has more then enough power to put someone in a world of hurt; a 700 HP anything in untrained hands can be deadlier then an AK47.

        I’ve pondered this extensively given the wide aftermarket for my engine, and I’ve come to the personal decision to focus (for now) on taking professional drivers courses instead of modding it. I can’t show off a weekend at Skip Barber, but it’ll do me a lot more personal good then a Vortech supercharger or LS7 swap.
        It’s a thorny issue because saying ones daily routine doesn’t have a use for 350+ hp is almost sacrilege (moar powah ALWAYS) , but fact is -and I’m including myself in this statement- what Ford, GM and FCA ought to be selling given skill set realities are sponsored drivers courses with their GT spec cars, not supercharged versions of vehicles way too powerful for their customers to handle.

        I’m not a Ford guy, but I’d buy a new V6 Mustang over a V8 Camaro if they rolled in a complimentary high speed drivers course instead of a rebate or incentive. I wouldn’t have the fastest car, but I could drive the hell outta it safely.

        • 0 avatar


          My G8 GT has been tweaked up to 394 HP and 422 pound feet of torque. Fun within the edges of being legal is pretty limited and with the awful traffic in Puget Sound, the spots for fun are rare.

          On the other hand I also have a 90 HP and 108 pound feet of torque 1985 Isuzu Impulse with a 5-speed and that car will put a smile on your face because somehow, in some strange way, driving a slow car fast when you’re on public roads is a lot more fun than driving a fast car slow.

          Love my G8 GT, huge fan of the Zeta platform, but when it comes to throwing a car into a twisting onramp, the Impulse is just more when you stay within the boundaries of the spirit of the law.

          • 0 avatar

            Damn straight.

            I owned a 380whp WRX that was exhilarating when driven hard on the track.

            But, while it remained perfectly serviceable for DD use, I grew tired of having to constantly quell the urge to hoon it on public roads.

            When it was time to reduce our stable of cars from 3 to 2, selling the WRX and keeping the NB Miata was a choice that required zero deliberation.

        • 0 avatar

          GM does offer driver courses -sort of. When I bought my C7 I had the opportunity to take a Spring Mountain Ron Fellows 2 day course on how to handle the new Stingray. In their Stingray, no less. Cost was half that for a non C7 owner. Sadly, the course is in Nevada – darn near on the other coast from where I live.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      I’d say the people who buy these types of vehicles or even dream of owning one would have trouble driving a Corolla to its limit.

      The car is just a bragging right.

      • 0 avatar

        I disagree with that, Big Al. Every guy I know who bought one of these cars brand new is mature in years, has the income to afford the car, and has worked his way up from smaller outputs.

        Sure, there is an occasional exception. There is also the odd guy who hits a crowd after leaving cars and coffe, but both those #s are much larger with the younger crowd in much less expensive cars.

        All the above can also be said about motorcycle riders.

    • 0 avatar

      Mostly yeah but I’m not going to lie, I’ve clocked nearly 100k in my GT500 and have had so damn fun times all by my lonesome and at the strip.

      Probably the best part about a car that puts down 700 rear wheel horsepower and bad aero like mine ( 09 car ) it positively screamed from 60-170 until it hit that wall and started to creep.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Tesla P85Ds still dust Hellcats in the 1/4 mile, so I guess we have to qualify what ‘performance’ is:

    1. Bragging rights about HP?
    2. Bragging rights about torque (if you’re an EV or drink diesel)?
    3. 1/4 mile times?
    4. Top speed?
    5. Nurburgerking times?

    Or do we have to disqualify low-volume cars (which the Model S is not)?

    • 0 avatar

      6. Doing the most damage after a Cars ‘n Coffee event.

    • 0 avatar

      Of you’re talking about 0-60 or 1/4 mile times then the Tesla appears to be king.

      What happens at the 1/2 mile mark and more importantly (to me) is the results from a road course.

      The Tesla is a straight line beast. But that’s about it. It’s also good for local run abouts. When you’re trip crosses the 200 mile range, look out. Of course you can charge but I’d rather not go through that that rigamarole.

      I wouldn’t pay the money for a P85D. I also think the Model 3 will be too expensive for what it is supposed to be.

    • 0 avatar

      What is the difference in cost between a P85D and a Hellcat?

      Okay then.

      When FCA, GM or Ford have $100k+ pony cars, then competition from Tesla is a valid point.

      Right now, its like saying “my new 911 is faster than your Fiesta ST!” lol really? Never would have guessed.

    • 0 avatar

      In the interest of accuracy, it is necessary to point out that the Hellcat has a far higher trap speed in the 1/4 mile and will stomp the P85D beyond 1/4 mile. The P85D has AWD traction and epic low-end torque, but marginal high-end power compared to the Hellcat.

      • 0 avatar

        People aren’t buying Tesla P85Ds to beat you in the 1/4 mile. They’re buying them to remind you that they’re better than you.

        • 0 avatar

          this whole discussion is absurd. a Venn diagram of “Hellcat Buyers” and “Model S Buyers” would be two completely separate circles.

          • 0 avatar

            They’re really not different circles like you claim. There’s a lot of people who buy Model S’s who otherwise don’t own performance cars but there are also a ton of people who own several sports cars along with a Model S. I went in person to pre-order a Model 3 and the people on line owned all sorts of cars and the guy right in front of me was a rich old fellow who had driven mostly high powered sports cars and tracked with PCA and he had bought a P85D and was on line to get a Model 3 just because (about 50% of the people on line were repeat buyers).

        • 0 avatar

          I’m not a Tesla owner.. Yet.

          I promise that when I do pull the trigger, it will have nothing to do with you, and everything do with not wanting to deal with gas on a weekly basis.

          How you could make my decision about you? Sounds like you have some self-loathing to do.

  • avatar

    Power is good only as long as you can put it to the ground. The Hellcat should have been all wheel drive.

  • avatar

    A Fiesta ST is a lot more enjoyable than any of these.

    • 0 avatar

      Have you avtually ever sat in a fiesta?? I have a long term rental fiesta hatch. Its a deplorable little shttt box with terrible seats, cramped, bunker mobile interior, that is painful to drive for more than 10 miles due to the terrible harsh suspension. Not to mention it is falling apart at 33000 miles and the dash is acres of cheap plastic and the buttons, oh god the buttons. Why does a car need so many dammmed nuttins?!?. It has pathetic range of motion on the steering wheel, the back seats cant fold down because the headsrests dont seem to come off. What a POS. Makes me actively miss my base sentra long term rental I had before. I am 100% serious when I say fiesta is worse than a versa or versa note. It is not even close.

    • 0 avatar

      A Fiesta ST???

    • 0 avatar

      I can agree with your sentiment, but not your statement.

  • avatar

    Bowed. Bowed out. Bowed. Bowed out. For some reason this auto-press terminology really irritates me. The Mustang looks awesome, though!

  • avatar

    Google videos for “Mustang cars and coffee.” I’m not sure this is a very good idea.

  • avatar

    Three years too late. Nice job Ford.

    Frankly they need to fix the styling and inject some quality into the car first.

  • avatar

    This is a bragging rights car. Those who are really into performance vehicles have every right to be annoyed with those kind of buyers.
    I used to always get annoyed by the same two questions when I had my ’96 YZF1000. “What’s her top speed?” followed by: “how fast you have gotten her up to?” My reply was always the same: 260………260. Any fast rider wouldn’t ask as they could see that there were no chicken strips on her.

  • avatar

    If they bring back the Mach 1 name for this it they will have to shoot for 717hp!

  • avatar

    I do agree with the posters who say “this is just bragging rights, where you gonna use the power?”

    I saw a couple of kids on Central Avenue in Albuquerque in a pre-Coyote GT (4.6) and they were having no problem using the available power to do things that would soon get the attention of Johnny Law.

  • avatar

    After owning a 2SS Camaro for 18 months, I will never purchase a high powered 6 speed stick again. It was just too much car for me. That being said, its a comfort to know, that such vehicles are still being made for the buyer segment , that feels , for whatever reason, it the car for them.

    If, like me, they realize , they made a mistake, then another guy comes along, and buys a nice clean low mileage used car.

    • 0 avatar

      Don’t sell it, just detune it to your liking, experience and comfort level. There’s these highly advanced, wooden instruments that can be custom fitted, under the carpet and just ahead of the gas pedal. Some call them “2X4” ends, or scrap lumber.

      40 to 80 mph blast really do it for me. They suck you deep into the seat back, with jet fighter-like G-forces, as the front lifts, the rear squats and traffic seems like they put it in Reverse.

      The rest is strictly amateur hour. Except I can handle anything, any high powered car can dish out from a dig, to high speed sideways. Been there, done that. But then again I learned to drift low powered cars before moving up to the high powered ones.

  • avatar

    I have to admit that the engineer* in me heard the description of the flat-planed V-8 and thought it would be ideal for a turbo. Any maybe even twin twinscroll turbos that would reduce lag. Two issues:

    1. As mentioned repeatedly above, it only makes sense for on-strip drag racing (and make sure you weld in a roll cage or face getting thrown out). Going over 500hp is just silly.

    2. Lag is a non-issue because you will only get boost at triple* digit speed (you can spin any non-slick tire without boost at those speeds). You’ll get boost when you “need” it, and don’t worry about it.

    * not much of an exaggeration, but I’d guess that most of the “spin wheels at 85mph” in GT350 involves revs that would typically build boost fast. Sure, traditional muscle uses superchargers (and cross-plane V8s), but I doubt the Hellcat and ZL1 do it to avoid lag.

  • avatar

    I think the most fun I ever had was driving my sister’s then-new 108 hp CRX Si. Heck, I test drove the 305 hp Mustang and thought it was plenty of power. The 700+hp is truly more than is humanly usable on our roads and is good for settling braggin’ rights…:)

  • avatar
    Shortest Circuit

    If memory serves right every tester and their mother said that the GT500 is at the chassis limit with the power… so they want to add 200 more horses?

    • 0 avatar

      Apples to Oranges. The new Mustang shares virtually nothing with the <15MY Mustang. Also, the IRS of the new ones will become invaluable with that much powaaaaaahhh!

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