Ford Mustang: what is an S197?

The Ford Mustang S550 saw a revolutionary design and improvements on an already legendary car. However, it has become popular thanks to one of the most recognizable Mustang models since the first generation. The S197 Mustang generation enjoyed movie tenure, special editions and fame. So what is an S197?

What is a Mustang S197?

The S197 is the code name that Ford gave to the fifth generation of muscle car Mustang. Ford first teased the retro-inspired body at the famed North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January 2003. Although the car didn’t go on sale until the 2005 model year was released, the America was pumped. The vehicle was a stylistic nod to the first generation of Mustangs of the mid to late 1960s and a far cry from previous Fox-4 cars.

What is the difference between the S197 and the S550?

As expected, the S197 is a little more analog than the later S550. The first featured retro-inspired styling, like round headlights set into an angular fascia. In addition, the S197 is mounted on a new chassis from the previous Fox-4 cars. Specifically, it shared the DEW98 platform with the existing Lincoln LS. Additionally, the fifth-generation Mustang featured a dynamic rear axle, which means that the two rear tires act in conjunction with each other instead of working independently.

This Shelby GT500 is a special edition S197 Mustang | Steve Russell, Getty Images

Conversely, the S550 ditched the beloved retro styling for a modern Callum-inspired grand tourer look. Additionally, the new Mustang featured independent rear suspension and a lower, wider stance. Ford designed the S550 to be the next evolutionary step of the Mustang and put Europe’s sports coupes on edge.

What type of engines were fitted to the fifth generation car?

The S197 received the mandatory V8 that Mustang owners have come to expect. The fifth generation car’s first V8 was a 4.6-liter V8 with 300 horsepower. Although that sounds anemic by today’s standards, the S197 got a power boost from the resurrection of the 5.0L. Specifically, Ford unveiled the facelifted 2010 Mustangs with an available 5.0L Coyote V8, which makes 412 horsepower much more appropriate. However, Ford quickly upped that figure to 420 horsepower to complement the more aggressive face of the later S197. However, the Coyote-equipped fifth-generation muscle car didn’t arrive alone. According to MotorTrend, the S197 V6 produced 305 horsepower, even more than the 4.6-liter V8 of previous models.

What were the best S197 Mustangs?

This Ford Mustang Shebly GT500 badge is on an S197

The Shelby GT500 has always been a performance benchmark in the Mustang lineup | Steve Russell, Getty Images

Ford quickly teamed up with Shelby to create incredible S197 special editions. Early on, Ford sold Shelby GT Mustangs with Hurst shifters and stripes. Then, consumers could purchase a blacked-out Highland Green and Bullitt GT homage to Steve McQueen’s classic.

However, the 2010-up post-facelift models provided the best canvas for powerful and timeless special editions. First, Ford unveiled a Boss 302 Mustang for 2012 and 2013. The striped muscle car featured a modified Coyote that offered 444 horsepower and tighter handling. Of course, Ford saved the best for last. Ford again partnered with Shelby American to produce another GT500. The last years of the S197 GT500, 2013 and 2014, were completed with a brutally powerful 662 horsepower supercharged V8 and a top speed of over 200 mph.

Scroll down to the next article to learn more about the new Mustang S550.

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