In our story about the future Focus RS, poster hwajones had this advice for Ford: "Sort the interior, sort some 4wd, and give us the 3dr Capri!"

Well Mr Jones, if the four-wheel drive is unlikely to happen, then we have good news on the Capri. It is returning, only we'll know it as the 'Mustang'.

Hang on, we hear you cry, but the Mustang already exists as a ripsnorting, wheel-spinning hunk of old-school Americana. This is very true, and to highlight that fact we've had a drive in the GT500 Shelby with its eye-popping 662hp (more below).


In our story about the future Focus RS, poster hwajones had this advice for Ford: "Sort the interior, sort some 4wd, and give us the 3dr Capri!"

Well Mr Jones, if the four-wheel drive is unlikely to happen, then we have good news on the Capri. It is returning, only we'll know it as the 'Mustang'.

Hang on, we hear you cry, but the Mustang already exists as a ripsnorting, wheel-spinning hunk of old-school Americana. This is very true, and to highlight that fact we've had a drive in the GT500 Shelby with its eye-popping 662hp (more below).

Tuesday 6th November 2012


MUSTANG TO CAPRI IN ONE MOVE

A drive in the mighty Shelby GT500 and how it'll influence 'the new Capri' for Europe


In our story about the future Focus RS, poster hwajones had this advice for Ford: "Sort the interior, sort some 4wd, and give us the 3dr Capri!"

Well Mr Jones, if the four-wheel drive is unlikely to happen, then we have good news on the Capri. It is returning, only we'll know it as the 'Mustang'.

Hang on, we hear you cry, but the Mustang already exists as a ripsnorting, wheel-spinning hunk of old-school Americana. This is very true, and to highlight that fact we've had a drive in the GT500 Shelby with its eye-popping 662hp (more below).

Styling could borrow from Ford Evos concept
Styling could borrow from Ford Evos concept
Next Mustang = new Capri
But it's the NEXT Mustang that'll get closer to modern Capri spec and that car is coming to Europe and the UK.

This was officially announced in September and we've since had confirmation from Ford that the coupe and convertible will be right-hand-drive.

So here's why it'll be as much Euro-focused Capri as Stars-n-Bars Mustang when it arrives late in 2014. Firstly it'll have a four-cylinder Ecoboost engine with turbocharger to supplement the 3.7 V6 and 5.0-litre V8 versions. That two-litre motor may or may not be bored out to 2.3, but what is certain is that it'll make at least 250hp but record an official emissions figure that won't require the full toe-touch come tax-time.

Boggo Mustang costs just £14,250 in the US
Boggo Mustang costs just £14,250 in the US
While it'll stick with rear-wheel drive, the all-new car is likely to gain independent rear suspension, something only the SVT Cobra model from 1999-2004 has ever boasted in an official Mustang. Spy shots of test mules appear to show this IRS, signaling the possible end of the solid rear axle. Yes burnouts might be trickier, but for the UK's scarred and somewhat bendier roads, this is progress.

Simple pleasures
Americans are naturally scared that us sophisticates across the pond are going to ruin their blue-collar mirthmobile.

“It's a great idea to market the Mustang worldwide, but it would be a mistake to pander to those cultures for its styling or technology," Steve Turner, editor of 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords told the Fox News website recently.

As long as the next one can still do this...
As long as the next one can still do this...
Talking of styling, this here 'culture' would find it just as unpalatable if Ford went down the same bland, please-everyone-and-no-one route it took with the Probe. The talk is it'll take some cues from the 2011 Ford Evos concept, which wouldn't be a bad thing.

The new Mustang will become more expensive for Americans than the current car, especially with independent rear suspension. But let's not forget they pay the equivalent of just £14,256 including local taxes (California) for the base 'stang. That's for a 3.7-litre V6 making 305hp and you still get stuff like 17-inch alloys, six-speed manual and remote locking. You can lease one for £151 a month, with £2,000 down.

Even this Shelby GT500 we're about to get into costs just £33,900 in the States. For that you get 662hp and 631lb ft of torque from the 5.8-litre supercharged V8 - just staggering figures for the price. Ford reckons it'll clear 200mph, with magazines in the States recording 3.5-second 0-60mph drag times.

Bold claim, but GT500 does have 662hp
Bold claim, but GT500 does have 662hp
Fitting tribute
This tribute to the great US racer, tuner and Friend of Ford, Carroll Shelby, who sadly died this year, has been comprehensively reworked to cope with all that power. The list is endless, but we like this fact: the steel two-piece driveshaft is replaced by a single-piece carbon fibre version.

"The car makes so much power and torque that we needed to go through the entire driveline system to ensure it moves to the wheels in a manageable way," said Jamal Hameedi, chief engineer for SVT, the Ford performance arm that created the car.

We're about to head out onto Brands Hatch Indy circuit in the coupe version and our thoughts are now, help. The gearshift with its ridiculous (sorry, 'iconic') cue-ball top is massively long-throw and the clutch bite point very high. It's also very long-geared and we're told third is fine for all but the straight. This isn't a car designed for short, technical circuits. Runways, perhaps.

GT500 felt a bit constrained around Brands
GT500 felt a bit constrained around Brands
Oversized, over here
With this in mind, the V8 bellow takes on the pitch of a caged bull elephant demanding a return to the plains of Africa - a fabulous sound, but you feel a bit sorry for the creature that makes it.

Foot down onto the track and the power is something else. It doesn't feel quite like 662hp, but the car is most definitely quick. It also feels well roped down in the corners and the steering responds reasonably quickly to small inputs.

You'd think with all that power that the GT500 would rotate at the merest brush of the throttle if not completely in a straight line, but it requires a bigger hoof than that and grip is good enough to allow early power out of the bends. It's not nimble enough to be properly quick round here, but by god is it fun.

We left thinking the GT500 has definitely got a place in a 10-car dream garage (either that or a Corvette ZR1). Like the editor of 5.0 Mustangs and Super Fords, we do hope the blunt-instrument appeal of a car like this doesn't disappear among the Ecoboost, IRS sophistications of the new one.

A blend of the two and a start price of around £22,000 should get Capri fans in the UK promising themselves a Blue Oval badged coupe all over again.


FORD MUSTANG SHELBY GT500 COUPE
Engine:
5.8-litre, V8 supercharged
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 662@6500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 631@ 2200-5800rpm
0-62mph:  n/a
Top speed: 200mph+
Weight: 1744kg
MPG: 18-29mpg (UK gallons)
CO2: C-O-what?
Price: £52,995 (Newport Imports)

Author: NickGibbs
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