Shopping for a new Ford Mustang?
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You can put away your Visa card; the car you see here — along with its 299 identical siblings — is sold. They have been since July last year when Ford announced the birth of its latest Mustang road-racer, the 400-bhp Cobra R.
What the lucky few will get is the fastest, most dynamic, and best-handling Mustang ever built. A car capable of smoking its tires all the way from rest to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, hitting a top speed of 168 mph, pulling over 1g on a skidpan, yet also more than happy to burble down to Wal-Mart as comfortably as your uncle Elmo’s Grand Marquis.
It could also go out and win races, straight out of the box. That's what the R stands for: Racing. Even though 90 percent of the Rs are unlikely to see the start line of a racetrack — they're worth too much as investments — the other 10 percent should do extremely well.
It’s the work of Ford Special Vehicle Engineering, an assortment of dedicated petrolheads, whose mission in life is to 'polish the Ford oval' with an exclusive lineup of well-engineered performance derivatives. SVE develops the cars for Ford's Special Vehicle Team, which looks after the marketing part. SVT's current line-up includes the 320-bhp Mustang Cobra coupe and convertible, and the wild 360-bhp F-150 Lightning pickup. Next up is an SVT-enhanced Focus.
Strakes, bulges, and awesome power
Lift the Cobra's power-bulged hood and you'll see what all the fuss is about. Squeezed tightly in between the suspension turrets, is a heavily breathed-on 5.4-liter, dual overhead cam Ford V-8 topped with an aluminum intake manifold the size of an upturned beer crate.
2000 Ford Mustang Cobra R engineEnlarge Photo