Posted Thursday, Jan 17, 2019
For sixteen months, many of us have been anxiously awaiting the unveiling of the GT350’s big brother, and we’ve been especially interested in the 2020 GT500's specs. Over the past year and a half, we’ve seen several leaked images, spy photos and spy videos, and possible leaked documents. Before the Detroit Auto Show, we were pretty certain the new 500 had a supercharged 5.2 liter V-8, some manner of automatic transmission, huge brake rotors, and wide tires. We also knew it would have over 700 horsepower. We even had a really good idea as to what it looked like. As the auto show approached, we were so excited that these facts would be verified, corrected, or specified. Well, some were, and some weren’t.
As it turns out, the GT500 is powered by the 5.2 liter engine from the GT350, but with a traditional cross-plane crank as opposed to the 350’s flat-plane crank. The loss there is almost 1000 rpm at redline, but the gain is horsepower; about 200 more- we’ll come back to that later. The power increase is due to the 2.7 liter Eaton supercharger nestled into the top of the engine. It hasn’t been confirmed as being the same supercharger, but the GT500 blower has the same model number as the one sitting atop the ZR1’s 6.2 LT5. In either case, a 2.7 liter supercharger moves a lot of air, and it helps this Cobra breath.
From the sounds of some videos circulating last year, many people conjectured that the GT500 would have a dual-clutch automatic- and they were correct. It has, in fact, a 7-speed Tremec transmission that shifts gears in 100 milliseconds. In normal-speak, that’s 1/10th of a second, a bit faster than a human with a manual. Shifts that quick will help it accelerate quickly on the strip and help it to always be in the correct gear on the track. With that blown 5.2L and DCT, Big Blue claims a 0-60 sprint in the mid 3’s and a run down the ¼ mile in less than 11. Not too bad. Interestingly, there is some evidence that the C8 Corvette may have this same transmission.
Early last year, a leaked photo circled the internet supposedly showing the size of the GT500’s front brake rotors. In the photo, an alleged Ford employee held his hand, fingers spread, in front of the rotor; his hand was dwarfed by the rotor. Furthermore, Ford covered the front wheels of the test mules to evidently hide the size of the brakes as revealed in several spy photos. At the auto show, the dimensions were finally revealed: 16.5 inch front rotors. Got that? 16.5 inches is the size of some cars’ wheels. Sheesh, that should slow it down in a hurry.
Although Ford hid the size of the brake rotors, some spy shots were able to get the tire size for the front wheels: 305’s. That number was confirmed last week as we learned the GT500 has 20 inch wheels front and back shod with 305/30’s and 315/30’s respectively. Those front tires are as wide as the rear tires on its little brother, the GT350. Talk about handling…
As for the power, which Ford hinted at in last year’s teaser as being 700+, was revealed this year as, well, 700+. It seems that since the GT500 won’t hit the showroom floors until later this year, Ford has decided to try for every last hp between now and then. However, the rumors hover around 720-750, but they’ve been doing so for over a year now. I guess we’ll have to wait a bit longer for the exact number.
Thanks to some creative photo artists on the internet who used images from last year’s teaser, we’ve had a great idea concerning the GT500’s appearance- this was further bolstered by an alleged leaked photo from a dealers’ conference a couple of months ago. Well, the leaked photo and the artists renditions were accurate. And boy, what an aggressive cowl rides on the new Cobra. However, the bulges, planes, vents, and snarls aren’t just for looks; Ford has applied for patents regarding some of the aerodynamic aspects of this car. And Blue Oval states that the GT500 has more downforce than the $450,000 Ford GT.
Although we don’t have all the hard numbers on the GT500, we can see that it looks amazing and has the potential to blister the drag-strip and the racetrack. I can’t wait to see how quickly this Cobra can really strike.
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