Thursday, January 15, 2015

MIAS 2015: Ford kicks off the year with new performance cars

Ford Motor Co, went big at the Memphis International Auto Show 2015 by displaying two new, top shelf performance cars – the Shelby GT350R Mustang and the latest incarnation of the Ford GT.

It was a  welcoming display of horsepower as recent years saw Ford focusing heavily and publicly on ecology and technology developments — publicizing Ecoboost engines and car seats made of beans. While that theme is still simmering in the background.

The iconic Ford GT has always been the company’s halo car, but it comes and goes from the line. The original GT40 debuted in small batches in the 1960s, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans four consecutive times. Ford brought back a popular, updated version of the GT in 2005 for a limited run. It headed back into the mid-ending ether in 2006. It will go into production in 2016 for another limited run.
On the outside, the new GT retains style points from its classic origins. It’s still a sizable supercar with a low, wide stance. The narrowing front end and rounded haunches are pure Ford GT. Otherwise there are styling cues from a McLaren or a Lamborghini, including scoops big enough to park a Fiesta.

 The new GT will feature a 3.5 liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 engine. But, performance car lovers should endure with the GT’s 600 horsepower – 50 more the last GT’s 5.4 liter V8.

There’s no price set yet for the GT, but the idea of the car is to provide maximum performance for less than the gaudy $200,000+ tags hung on European halo rides.

Before the GT, Ford introduced the new Shelby GT350R Mustang. While obviously road legal, this is a car made for pure performance track driving. To minimize weight and maximize speed and weight balance, Ford stripped his new Mustang down to the essentials. If it doesn’t bleed into speed, it’s gone. Backseat is gone. No A/C. No stereo. No fabric liners. No backup camera or high-tech rearview mirror. If a race car doesn’t have it, the new GT350R doesn’t either.

There’s no release date or price yet on the new Mustang, but you can assume it’ll be here before the GT and for less money.