Best known for its upscale versions of the Ford Mustang, Saleen’s S5S is an impressive departure from the American automaker who is taking aim (based on the prototype) at all of its Italian competition. It’s fast, it’s pretty and in terms of supercars, it’s cheap. Now they just have to build it.
The prototype for the Saleen S5S first made the rounds at this year’s New York auto show where the words “American Ferrari” were spoken more than once with strong hints of its likely production.
Unlike the Ford Mustang-derived vehicles that Saleen is best known for, the two seat, aluminum body S5S is built completely by Saleen from the ground up. Saleen openly admits that a number of cars, including those from Lotus and McLaren served as inspiration for this beast.
The mid-mounted, 5.0-liter supercharged engine is a version of Saleen’s tricked out Ford V-8. The S5S reportedly spins out 650 hp at 6300 rpm and torque peaks at 630 lb-ft at 4400 rpm. Saleen predicts that the car should be good for a leisurely sprint to 60 mph in an amazing 3.2 seconds and a top speed of more than 200 mph. A six-speed manual transmission is at work in the concept version, but likely a a sequential, paddleshifted gearbox will be an option if the S5S sees production.
As on its last supercar, the S7, the suspension is fully independent and composed of twin wishbone-shaped control arms at each corner. The New York show’s S5S concept also sported twenty-inch wheels along with ABS, traction and stability control.
Saleen is clearly targeting the Ferrari F430 in both size and price, and there’s no arguing that the S5S offers a ridiculous level of power. In contrast to Saleen’s last supercar, the $650,000 S7, which was by most estimates essentially a street-going race car, the S5S will have a more passenger friendly cabin that looks less like an F1 car in its interior. Hopefully that also translates into an easier climb for the passengers into a less noisy cabin than the S7. The S5S aims to be a more practical, more usable, and more economical variant on the “race-car-turned-cruiser” of this genre of cars. $185,000 is being rumored as the target price for the Saleen S5S.