Will Ford’s new 2015/2016 Mustang GT350 be the Z/28 killer we have been looking for? Ford has been its usual tight-lipped self in regards to what it is planning for the 2015 Mustang; we just recently got the scoop on the horsepower figures for the 2015 Mustang lineup. But what has everyone truly buzzing in the Mustang World is all of this talk around a new engine platform that has been dubbed “Voodoo” which has been surrounded in rumors and speculation.
Ever since videos started popping up on YouTube of a new S550 Mustang GT350 ripping up the Nurburgring everyone has been trying to figure out Ford’s next special-edition Mustang. A camo-clad S550 Mustang with massive cross-drilled brake rotors, a set of Michelin tires that plant the suspected GT350 on the road, and a exhaust tone that leaves you gasping in awe have only added to the rumor-mill frenzy and we want to trudge through it all to get to the truth!
The Car and Driver Take
One of the leading car news reporting agencies, Car and Driver, has put forth it’s take on the next generation of SVT Mustangs. They predict two monstrous powertrains for the coming S550 Mustang; a carry over of the 5.8-liter supercharged “Trinity” motor that was in 2013 – 2014 Shelby GT500s’ as well as a naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter variant with a flat-plane crankshaft. They foresee a GT500 successor that has its eyes set on being a Dodge Challenger Hellcat competitor and a GT350 with its focus on the Camaro z/28.
A Flat-Plane Crankshaft?
A more track oriented SVT Mustang would be an interesting game changer in the current competitive landscape of today’s muscle car horsepower wars. What is even more interesting is the speculation of having a flat-plane crankshaft in this Voodoo branded 2015 Mustang. A flat-plane crankshaft is a major departure from the cross-plane crankshaft that has been in the Mustang since its inception. A picture comparison to see the difference in flat-plane and cross-plane crankshaft profiles shows just how different they are.
Ferrari has used a flat-plane crankshaft in all of their cars since 1973 and Lotus, Porsche, as well as McLaren have all featured the same crankshaft in some of their performance cars, but why? Flat-plane crankshafts offer improved throttle response, higher and quicker revving, and a higher redline. In one of the Car and Driver articles written by Alexander Stoklosa, he claims that a GT350 will see a redline at “at least 8000 rpm“ and, “pump out 550 Z/28-slaying horsepower.” A flat-plane crankshaft in a 5.0-liter based engine will be Ford’s attempt at slaying the Z/28 Camaro on the street or on the track.
For comparisons sake, The 2015 Camaro Z/28 vs. the 2015/2016 Mustang GT350:
2014 Z/28: 7.0L n/a LS7 505HP, 481FT-lbs TQ. 3820 lbs.
2015/2016 GT350: Possible 5.2L n/a engine @ 550 HP. The 2015 GT weighs 3,704 lbs, but the GT350 is said to weight a decent bit less than the GT.
The Road & Track Opinion
Road & Track has always offered the car community some of the best and most accurate news on new cars and they have some interesting thoughts on the upcoming SVT models from Ford. Road & Track says there will be no more GT500 with its Trinity motor. The days of the supercharged 5.8-liter 662HP are over for now; in it’s place is the rise of a GT350R, with the ‘R’ giving the connotation of a ‘race’ inspired identity for the S550’s rendition of the GT350. They liken a GT350R to how the Boss Laguna Seca represented an even more track ready option to the Boss 302 Mustang.
Writer Alex Nunez at Road and Track stated that this new Mustang is all motor, “there’s no supercharger.” Following that up with there being a flat-plane crankshaft in this 5.0-liter based SVT Mustang, saying, “we’ll see an 8000-rpm redline” from this 500+ HP track star.
Car and Driver v.s. Road & Track on The SVT Mustang
Car and Driver and Road & Track have conflicting views on the return of the Trinity motor in the GT500. Car and Driver see a continuation of the GT500 for 2015-2016 Mustangs in addition to a brand new motor setup, the Voodoo motor. Road & Track sees the light at the end of the tunnel for the GT500 for the next-gen Mustang, citing that Ford is simply moving in a different direction with the brand, shying away from the awe-inspiring numbers produced by the outgoing 2013-2014 GT500 and refocusing on a track car.
What is interesting is that both news outlets report there being a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter based block with a flat-plane crankshaft pushing over 500HP to the ground, all the while touching an 8000 rpm redline. There seems to be a growing amount of evidence and talk of this being the case for a 2016 Mustang GT350. Whether it is a GT350 or a GT350R, Ford really seems to be pushing the envelope with this build.
No More GT500 Trinity Motor?
Aside from Car and Driver with their speculation about the return of the mighty GT500 power plant, it does not seem like we will be seeing the GT500 return to the muscle car game. From different reports on Mustang forums, all signs point to the end of the Trinity motor. A Mustang6G user with an unknown connection to the engine assembly line makes the claim that the 5.8 engine assembly line is gone. An admin on Mustang6G adds that the Trinity engine won’t be making it into the S550 Mustang, and that the Voodoo engine is in the works.
Before you break out the pitchforks, first consider a few things. For starters, the 5.8 motor wasn’t new technology; it was a bored out 5.4 engine with cams from a Ford GT that was getting fed more boost than previous GT500s. If you look back a decade, you will remember the short two year run of the 2003 – 2004 Cobra Mustangs. The “Terminator” Mustangs had a short run as king of the streets before Ford came out with the S197 Mustangs, leaving the forced induction 4.6-liter 4 valves in the past.
What Will the Voodoo Mustang Be?
So far there are a few things that it seems we can take to the bank on this new SVT Mustang. It is going to have a flat-plane crankshaft in a 5.0-liter sourced engine, making 500+ HP and be geared for the track, earning it a GT350R title. A lot of talk across multiple channels is saying that Ford is going to be using a naturally aspirated 5.2-liter engine displacement in this S550 Mustang, that will not have an engine cover. The humungous cross-drilled brake rotors, hefty Michelin rubber, and aggressive air vents on the hood and quarter-panels seem to solidify it’s existence as a track star.
By the majority of accounts, it seems that a flat-plane crankshaft is going to be a feature of a 5.2-liter engine that is set to carve up a track like a knife through warm butter. Large brakes, air vents, and a powertrain that is to be reckoned with will all be targeted at the Mustang’s competition; the Camaro Z/28, BMW M4, and possibly the Dodge Hellcat.
Only driving people more mad about the idea of this 5.2-liter Z/28 killer is that there is a chance it is gonna have a twin-turbo setup. Considering how Ford has been pushing the EcoBoost technology and the 2015 Mustang is going to have a 2.3-liter turbo, it is completely plausible that a 5.2-liter TT S550 is in the works; Ford has surprised us like this in the past so a twin-turbo Mustang is completely feasible.
Could There Be Another Engine?
While all this talk is going on about a 5.2-liter engine I can not help but think of one other engine that I could see Ford using; the 6.2-liter Raptor engine. What if this whole time Ford managed to throw everyone off with the idea of a 5.2-liter when they really had another liter under the hood? The 6.2-liter has been an amazing engine in the Raptor, earning its trust with the Ford Truck community, delivering incredible power and performance. A 6.2-liter naturally aspirated GT350R would be an absolute track monster and with forced induction would be stomping on the Dodge Challenger Hellcat.
So Where Does That Leave Us?
What are your thoughts on the tornado of speculation? Are we going to see a Shelby branded Mustang with a twin turbo for mass production? Or is everyone just getting lead on a wild goose chase before it is revealed that a 2015 Shelby GT500 with more horsepower than a Dodge Hellcat gets set loose?