Ford’s new Shelby GT500 Mustang has surpassed all expectations, bringing with it a brand new supercharged V-8 displacing 5.8 liters and developing no less than 650 horsepower.

Yes, you read that correctly. That’s 12 whole horsepower more than the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 and 70 horsepower more than its closest rival, the upcoming Camaro ZL1. Heck, it’s even got 80 more horsepower than a Ferrari 458 Italia!

Yes, Ford’s 2013 update to the Shelby GT500 truly pushes the iconic muscle car into supercar territory, but a sledgehammer of an engine isn’t the end of the story.

Nearly every vehicle system found on the car has been optimized, from the powertrain, to the brakes, to even the gearing, suspension and aerodynamics.

Starting with the new aluminum V-8 engine, peak output is rated at 650 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque, making it the most powerful production V-8 in the world. It features a unique supercharger, new cross-drilled block and heads, updated camshaft profiles, a new carbon fiber driveshaft and upgraded clutch, transmission and axle.

Now drop this epic powertrain in a car that only weighs 3,850 pounds and you can just imagine what kind of damage you could do at a race track. Ford hasn’t released any performance figures yet except that the car will do more than 200 mph. Oh, the light curb weight means it’s also exempt from the gas-guzzler tax.

2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

The wheels measure in at 19 inches up front and 20 inches at the rear, and they also come in different styles, both in forged aluminum. They’re also shod with Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar G: 2 tires. Inside these reside a set of Brembo brakes comprised of six-piston caliper units up front (four in the rear) and more aggressive pads.

One of the most crucial modifications Ford’s engineering team from SVT made was to the gearing. Nearly every gear on the 2013 Shelby GT500 was revised to manage the torque and use more of the power in a way that makes it more driver-friendly. Engineers considered more than 35 gearing combinations, finally deciding on one that delivers less torque all the way through the wheels to the ground and still enables the car to achieve fuel economy targets.

A key piece of the driveline, the six-speed manual transmission, offers upgraded gears, bearings and housing so it can properly manage the torque. The final drive ratio is now 3.31:1. The clutch also has increased torque and rpm capacity and uses a dual-disc design.

First sales are scheduled to start by next summer. Note, Ford also plans to launch two new packages for the car. Available as part of the optional Performance Package, SVT-designed Bilstein electronic adjustable dampers are accessed on the dash with a simple push of a button, which allow between comfort and sport modes. A Torsen limited-slip differential also comes with this Performance Package.

Customers can also upgrade their Performance Package with an additional Track Package. The option comes with an external engine oil cooler, rear differential cooler and transmission cooler for further durability.

For full details on the 2013 Ford Mustang V-6 and GT, click here, and to read up on the 2013 Mustang Boss 302, click here.

Look out for live images of the 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 direct from its debut at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show, full coverage of which you access via our dedicated show page.