Muscle car: Shelby GT500

Let’s get the unsurprising facts out of the way first. The 2013 Shelby GT500 is equipped with the most powerful production V8 engine in the world and also the most efficient one in America, producing more than 485 kilowatts (650 brake horsepower). These two achievements are made possible by an all-aluminium block, 2.3-litre (0.6-gallon) supercharger, upgraded cooling system, larger engine fan, redesigned air cooler, higher-flow intercooler pump and a 36 per cent increase in the capacity of the intercooler’s heat exchanger. That’s impressive – 325 kilometres (202 miles) per hour impressive – but not something that is particularly shocking for arguably one of the most iconic muscle cars ever.

What is surprising is the way the GT500 converts that immense power into refined performance. After all, strapping 650 horses to a chassis raises myriad problems, none more so than that of ensuring solid traction and handling. The GT500 deals with these issues through a launch control system – an electronic configurator that enables drivers to set specific rpm launch points – along with a Torsen limited-slip differential and AdvanceTrac steering-assist. Combined, all this advanced tech allows this modern Mustang to maximise the amount of raw power put down, as well as control it while cornering.

Further, the Shelby GT500 complements its all-round performance by the inclusion of a top-of-the-range braking system. Accompanying the 48-centimetre (19-inch) front and 51-centimetre (20-inch) rear forged-aluminium alloys is a new Brembo-made system of rotors and callipers (with six pistons at the front), as well as a series of composite brake pads oriented towards sharp acceleration and deceleration manoeuvres. These, along with a four-profile traction control setup plus an SVT-designed set of Bilstein shock absorbers, ensure excellent handling on the road as well as on the track.