Ford pulled the wraps off its 2013 Mustang lineup today ahead of the debut at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show.  Ford has restyled the entire lineup for 2013, added a plethora of technology upgrades and of course have made significant performance upgrades with some jaw dropping numbers as a result.   The Mustang has always been a Speed:Sport:Life favorite and Ford has once again made us drool uncontrollably with the 2013 Mustang lineup.   Read on to see how Ford plans to steal the thunder from Chevy and their new 550-horsepower Camaro ZL1.

Mustang V6/GT/Boss 302

The refreshed Mustangs feature a more aggressive front fascia with the V6/GT/Boss 302 models borrowing heavily from the big brother GT500 model.  Ford designers have added a more prominent front splitter while GT models also benefit from functional heat extractors on the hood of the GT.  The previously black rocker panels are now body colored to help add a more upscale look to the car and the rear end  now gets a high-gloss black panel that runs between the new smoked taillights.  All 2013 Mustangs will come with standard HID headlamps with LED light bar surrounds.  The rear taillights have been updated with LED lamps as well.

Showing their commitment to making these cars race ready, Ford has made the Recaro race seats that are found in the Boss 302 and Shelby GT500 an option on V6 and GT models and are available in both leather and cloth.  The seatbacks have been designed to accept various forms of racing harnesses for those looking to head straight from the showroom to the track with minimal modification.   These are some of the best seats that we’ve ever sat in and we can’t be happier that Ford is now offering these up throughout the model range.

In the performance department, Ford has tweaked the 2013 Mustang GT’s 5.0-liter engine to produce 420 horsepower and incorporates many of the tuning changes found from the higher-output 444-horsepower Boss 302 engine.  The optional six-speed automatic transmission now has the ability to be shifted with manual control through a button on the side of the shifter.  This isn’t a trick dual-clutch setup but the ability to have some control over gear changes is a nice addition, especially since the car won’t override a shift when in manual mode.

Making its debut in 2013 Mustang is the new GT Track Pack that allows buyers of manual transmission GT Mustangs with the 3.73 axle to fit their cars with an engine cooler, upgraded radiator, performance brake pads and the same Torsen differential as on the Boss 302.  The package also includes everything from the current Brembo Package including the 14-inch brakes, 19-inch wheels and summer ultra-high performance tires.  Buyers who prefer the automatic transmission in their V6 or GT Mustangs can opt for the Brembo Package.

Technology wise, the instrument cluster has been updated with a new 4.2-inch LCD screen that displays information related to fuel economy, navigation, infotainment and vehicle performance.  The new Track Apps feature shows performance metrics such as g-force, acceleration time in both 1/4 mile and 0-60 increments and braking times.

The updated 2013 Mustang will go on sale in the spring of 2012.

Shelby GT500

We knew that Ford wouldn’t stand for Chevy claiming to be the king of the muscle cars with their new 550-horsepower Camaro ZL-1, but no one was quite sure what they were planning to reclaim the top spot.  Not only has Ford managed to top the ZL-1 in the power department, they’ve managed to completely bitchslap everything else coming out of Detroit with the 2013 Shelby GT500.  How does 650 horsepower, 600 lb.-ft of torque and a top speed in excess of 200 mph sound?  Oh yeah, and it still stays exempt from the federal gas-guzzler tax.

The 2013 Shelby GT500 finds this pavement shredding power from an updated 5.8-liter aluminum block supercharged V8 engine, which just happens to be the most power production V8 found in the world.  The powertrain has been optimized with a new supercharger, cross-drilled block and heads, updated camshaft profiles, carbon fiber driveshaft, and an upgraded clutch, transmission and axle.  The new Eaton TVS 2300 series supercharger features 2.3 liters of displacement and is even more efficient than the supercharger on the 2012 Shelby GT500.

To keep the engine cool, Ford has revised the entire cooling system significantly on the 5.8-liter engine.  It now features a larger cooling fan, fan shroud with pressure-relief doors, a higher efficiency charge air cooler, and a higher-flow intercooler pump with a 36 percent larger intercooler heat exchanger.

To make the increase in power and torque more manageable, Ford has revised the gearing on the 2013 Shelby GT500 to make it more driver-friendly.  After testing more than 35 gearing combinations, Ford decided on one that delivers less torque all the way through the wheels to the ground and still enables it to hit fuel economy targets.  The six-speed manual transmission also offers upgraded gears, bearings and housing to be able to handle the torque.  Final drive ratio has been optimized to complement the massive torque numbers and is now 3.31:1.

To further improve traction, the 2013 Shelby GT500 now features a launch control system that lets drivers set the desired launch rpm depending on tire temperature, street surface and tire pressure.  The launch control system is integrated with both the engine control and traction control systems.  A new Brembo brake system features six-piston calipers in front with larger front and rear rotors for better cooling.  A Torsen limited-slip differential is included with the optional Performance Package as are Bilstein electronic adjustable dampers which can be controlled via a button on the console.  In addition to the new Performance Package is an additional Track Package which comes with an external oil cooler, rear differential cooler, and transmission cooler.

To keep the car firmly planted on the ground, Ford has done significant aerodynamic work to ensure the car has the proper downforce at all speeds.  The front fascia and splitters have been updated to handle the 200+ mph top speed and offers 33 percent more aero loading at 160 mph than the outgoing model.

In the handling department, Ford has  updated the AdvanceTrack settings and steering assist levels to help drivers achieve optimum performance on the street and track.  Also updated for 2013 are the two new sets of forged-aluminum wheels with 19-inch fronts and 20-inch rears wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar G:2 tires.

Prices for the 2013 Mustang and Shelby GT500 will be announced closer to the Spring of 2012 when they go on sale.

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Zerin Dube

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