The $340K King Cobra: A 650-HP 2023 AC Cobra GT Roadster with a 5.0 Coyote V8 Crown

(Shelby) Cobra fans, rejoice! The long-awaited AC Cobra GT Roadster will be unveiled this April, and reservations are open on the manufacturer's webpage. The two-seater chariot of the gods is no longer a sportscar. Its creators have knighted it to "supercar" ranks with all the necessary gear for battling automobilia dragons.
2023 AC Cobra GT Roadster 9 photos
Photo: AC
2023 AC Cobra GT Roadster2023 AC Cobra GT Roadster2023 AC Cobra GT Roadster2023 AC Cobra GT Roadster2023 AC Cobra GT Roadster2023 AC Cobra GT RoadsterAC MK VI2023 AC Cobra GT Roadster
Let's get the sweets first, and then we can discuss whatever else can be said about the new car. V8, Ford, 5.0 liters, Coyote, supercharged (if you can think of a more appropriate powerplant, you can drop it in the comments).

To be worthy of raising the banner of its Shelby heritage, the American engine puts out 654 hp (663 PS) and 575 lb-ft (780 Nm) of tire-tormenting torque. In an ultimate show of absolute appreciation for its legend-spawning forebearer, the drivetrain offers a six-speed manual gearbox for the pure fun of it. To meet the demands of more pretentious customers, a choice of an automatic transmission will be accessible, with no less than ten gears to spin the rear wheels.

According to official numbers, the car weighs "under 1,500 kg" (3,306 lb) (as mentioned in the press release – find it attached). Still, the numbers are far more thrilling on the website. 1,400 kg of curb weight (3,086 lb) – that means the 75-kg (165 lb) driver is included in the body mass index. The Cobra is a much more athletic 1,325 kg (2.921 lb) by basic arithmetic. All-around disc brakes keep an eye on the 275/35 R 21 front / 325/30 R 21 rear tires.

2023 AC Cobra GT Roadster
Photo: AC
Lightweight and fast – but then again, isn't this what the AC has been about for the last sixty years? In 1953, when the original AC Ace was launched, the roadster became the new piston sweetheart of motorists and track-oriented gearheads. One decade later, the Shelby-imbued Cobra was opening the gates of history. In 2023, the anniversary model takes the numbers to heart: 3.4 seconds for a 0-60 mph dart (0-97 kph) and 278 kph (173 mph) top speed.

The carmaker promises its AC Cobra GT Roadster's soundtrack will rise to the praise its technical specs give it. It better be great music because the admission ticket to the V8 concert is an eye-popping £285,000, including VAT ($340,000, at the March 2, 2023 exchange rate).

That's trimmed-to-the-brim 2023 Corvette Z06 convertible money – twice over, and, if you're curious, the Chevrolet configuration includes all possible options: Z07 Performance Package and 70th Anniversary Special Edition too. Not that it would matter one bit for white-knuckle hardcore fans or the marque, who have a clear segregation of the car universe. There's the AC Cobra, and there are self-propelled platforms on wheels.

2023 AC Cobra GT Roadster
Photo: AC
After the April introductory formalities, the car will be showcased throughout Europe's car events during the spring and summer. For those who will buy the limited-production vehicle, regardless of its looks, abilities, or price, the reservations are open on the carmaker's site (a £2,500 fee – the equivalent of $2,986 – is required to book the new Cobra). The deliveries are scheduled for 2024 (a more specific timeframe is not presented for now).

The designers promise "hand-finished unique elements, unseen in the automotive world before" to offer more than the infamously widespread scarcity of common sportscars. With more than three years of development alone, the 2023 AC Cobra GT Roadster is a full-blown British grand tourer, but it retains the instantly recognizable lines and cues that draw lineage from the primordial machine of the '60s.

The body is made from carbon composite, and the choice of material is not strictly for track performance purposes. The cabin should offer comfort to occupants of all sizes (and tall people perfectly understand what it feels like to drive with the top of the windshield blocking the view) and endure long road trips without chipping the excitement factor of the Cobra name.

2023 AC Cobra GT Roadster
Photo: AC
While it resembles its predecessors, the automobile is a clean-canvas design, not just a previous model's variation. Compared to the Mk VI model, the 2023 Cobra has a longer wheelbase of 2,570 mm / 101 inches (284 mm / 11 inches more). An overall bumper-to-bumper length of 4,330 mm / 170 inches (only 110 mm / 4.3 inches over the Mk VI) and broader tracks (maximum width is 1,960 mm / 77 inches) proclaim a road-gripping stance and manners.

The new Cobra may pay its due respects to the original sportscar from 1953, but technological majesty is the center of this heir to the Cobra throne. A mix of analog instrumentation and digital display technology should thrill and chill the person at the steering wheel. The Advanced Driver Information Center (ADIC) arranges critical engine stats directly in the driver's eye line.

Very little online information about optional extras – only power windows, climate control, or satellite navigation are mentioned. Crucially, parting ways with the open-sky architecture – and all weather-caprices-related conundrums – the continuator of Carroll Shelby's magnificence will also come with a removable hardtop. The complete list of equipment for the 2023 AC Cobra GT Roadster will be publicized at the  car's next month official reveal in London.

2023 AC Cobra GT Roadster
Photo: AC
The Weller brothers definitely did not have this future in mind at the turn of the century, in 1901, when they founded their "engineering, repair, and manufacture of motor cars and motorcycles" company. Interestingly, the current name of the carmaker – AC – is an abbreviated form of "Autocarrierq" – a three-wheel delivery vehicle built in 1904.
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About the author: Razvan Calin
Razvan Calin profile photo

After nearly two decades in news television, Răzvan turned to a different medium. He’s been a field journalist, a TV producer, and a seafarer but found that he feels right at home among petrolheads.
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