The big news for Mustang in 2007 is a new model: the Shelby GT500, the most powerful factory-built Mustang in the model’s history, thanks to Carroll Shelby and the Ford Special Vehicle Team (SVT).

Regular Mustang models also get some upgrades for 2007: an auxiliary audio input jacket is standard and Sirius satellite radio is optional on all models; there’s a new GT California Special Package with unique front and rear fascias and GT/CS door stripes; a new GT appearance package featuring bright rolled exhaust tips, engine cover with Pony emblem and hood scoop; and a comfort group package with auto-dimming mirror, heated seats and six-way power passenger seat is available. 17-inch wheels are available on V6 models; a new DVD-based navigation system is optional; and the V6 Pony Package can now be added to convertibles with manual transmissions. New colours are Grabber Orange and Alloy Metallic.

The Mustang comes as a coupe or convertible, with a choice of 4.0-litre V6, or as the GT with 4.6-litre V8. Each comes in a single trim line, and both engines start with a five-speed manual that can be optioned to a five-speed automatic transmission.

The Shelby GT500 also comes as a coupe or convertible, and uses a supercharged 5.4-litre mated exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission.

Features on the Mustang coupe include 16-inch painted aluminum wheels, four-wheel disc brakes, air conditioning, power mirrors, rear spoiler, cruise control, power windows, power locks with keyless entry, tilt wheel, six-way power driver’s seat, 50/50 folding rear bench, cloth seats, CD player with four speakers, variable intermittent wipers, and low tire pressure warning system. The convertible adds a power soft top with glass rear window.

The GT coupe adds anti-lock brakes, traction control, limited-slip differential, 17-inch painted aluminum wheels, cloth sport seats, Shaker 500 six-CD/MP3 stereo with eight speakers, and fog lights. The convertible adds a power soft roof with lining and glass rear window.

Features on the GT500 include 18-inch aluminum wheels, Brembo four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, limited-slip differential, accent stripe, air conditioning, cruise control, power windows, power locks, leather seats with six-way power driver’s adjustment, aluminum instrument panel insert, Shaker 500 six-CD/MP3 stereo with eight speakers, fog lights, variable intermittent wipers, and low tire pressure warning system.

The Mustang is a joyous ride: throaty, powerful, nimble, reasonably priced, and with the added option of open-air motoring. The V8’s exhaust note is perfectly-tuned and the acceleration will knock you back in your seat, but don’t overlook the V6: it sounds and performs like many V8s, costs less, gets better mileage, and the envelope still retains that delicious 1960s retro look. The only blemish is the five-speed’s shifter, which needs shorter throws and better-defined gates. When the upcoming Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger hit the ground, the “holy trinity” will once again be back on the streets.

The GT500 is a successor to the Shelby GT500 that Carroll Shelby created in the 1960s, and a worthy one it is: 500 horsepower, but this time, you can actually steer and stop it. The sport suspension includes revised shocks and spring rates, and large stabilizer bars, while front Brembo brakes bring it all to a halt. The final touch is Le Mans-style stripes with GT500 badging and Cobra fender emblems; for the first time on any SVT Mustang, the front grille uses a snake instead of a horse. Expect many of these to be wrapped up and put away in the garage by speculators, but that isn’t why you earn your paycheque: take this thing out and have some serious fun with it.

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