2011 Ford Shelby GT500 with 550HP 5.4-liter Supercharged V8

After the presentation of the new Shelby GT350, it's time for Ford to unveil the Shelby GT500 that's also based on the 2011 model year Mustang and will be available as a coupe, convertible and for the first time, with the glass roof option.

Ford's Special Vehicle Team (SVT) has packed a more powerful yet lighter and more fuel efficient supercharged V8 engine under the hood of the latest Shelby GT500.

The all-new aluminum-block 5.4-liter supercharged V8 engine cranks out 550 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of peak torque, or 10HP more and the same torque as the previous GT500.

More significantly, the new engine also is 102 pounds or 46.2 kg lighter than its predecessor, delivering a better power-to-weight ratio and improved fuel economy.

Ford noted that the new engine, which has its roots in the iconic Ford GT, uses a unique spray coating process that replaces cast-iron liners resulting in weight savings of 8.5 pounds compared to a typical steel-sleeved aluminum block.

Thanks to the new 102-lbs-lighter V8 engine, the addition of Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS) and detailed aerodynamic changes to the underside of the vehicle, the 2011 GT500 will be the first modern Shelby without the gas guzzler tax as it returns an EPA-projected 23 mpg highway and 15 mpg city, up from 22 mpg highway and 14 mpg city for the 2010 model.

For 2011, the Shelby GT500 also benefits from noise, vibration and harshness improvements, enhanced structural rigidity, with lateral stiffness improved by 12 percent versus the 2010 model and a larger 2.75-inch exhaust that produces a throatier sound.

Furthermore, Ford's engineers added slotted brake dust shields to improve brake cooling and handling, while a new pedal box promises to improve clutch and pedal efforts.

For those that want even better handling, there's a new optional SVT Performance Package for both the Coupe and Convertible models that adds a set of Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar G tires, lighter 19-inch wheels up front and 20-inch at the back, a higher rear axle ratio and stiffer springs.

Ford claims that the 2011 coupe with the SVT Performance Package is 3.0 seconds faster per lap than the 2010 Shelby GT500 on a 2.3-mile test track.

Finally, all 2011 GT500s benefit from several new convenience features such as HID (high-intensity discharge) headlamps, programmable vehicle key, Integrated spotter mirror and fold-down rear headrests.

The new Shelby GT500 is expected to go on sale in the States by the end of Spring.