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2014 Ford Shelby GT500 Overview
The battle for the top of the muscle-car heap took a major leap forward in 2013, when Ford unveiled its updated Shelby GT500 sport coupe and convertible, equipped with an aluminum 5.8-liter supercharged V8 engine pumping out 662 horsepower and 631 lb-ft of torque. Those impressive numbers made the GT500 the most powerful Mustang ever produced, as well as the most powerful production car currently available in North America. For 2014, Ford leaves the Shelby essentially unchanged, giving it only a few minor updates, like standard heated front seats and new Oxford White and Ruby Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat exterior colors. Of course, when you have a car that's the class leader in terms of power and performance, with eye-catching exterior styling and scads of sheer desirability, it probably doesn't need much more improvement.
Everything about the GT500, from its power-dome hood, Le Mans racing stripes, rocker panels, quad exhaust tips and forged-aluminum wheels to its Shelby-specific instrument cluster, Cobra-badged sport steering wheel, classic cue-ball shifter knob, leather-trimmed sport seats and bright aluminum pedals, screams road-shredding performance, yet the Shelby maintains reasonable manners on daily drives around town. In addition, despite its record-breaking horsepower, the Shelby manages very respectable fuel economy numbers of 15 mpg city/24 highway, 5 mpg better than Chevy's competitive Camaro ZL1, Ford notes. Because of its good fuel-economy numbers, the GT500 remains exempt from the gas-guzzler tax. However, premium fuel is required.
While the GT500's exterior design and interior features remain impressive, the real story has always been its beefy V8 engine, which rolls into 2014 unchanged after receiving a lot of tweaking for 2013. Key updates included a new supercharger, which helped to improve air flow, and an updated cooling system with a high-capacity cooling fan, fan shroud and intercooler pump, as well as a larger heat exchanger, all of which help improve heat dissipation, enabling the engine to perform more efficiently. Ford also upgraded the camshaft for improved airflow and increased the air injector flow. Other features included upgraded head gaskets, a new carbon-fiber driveshaft (replacing a two-piece steel design) and an upgraded dual-disc clutch. The new driveshaft in particular was designed to be lighter and stiffer than the previous shaft, while reducing noise and vibration. In addition, many other engine components were upgraded to make them more durable for extreme-stress situations.
Ford also upgraded the GT500's Tremec 6-speed manual transmission, which received a new housing, as well as new gears and bearings, to better channel the added torque. The single-linkage shifter features optimized gearing and a bright white cue-ball shifter knob. The V8's redline remains at 6,250 rpm, but the system allows drivers to over-rev to 7,000 rpm for up to 8 seconds for quicker acceleration and 0-60 times. Ford officially lists the Shelby's 0-60 time at 3.7 seconds, but independent tests have actually put it closer to a ridiculously quick 3.5 seconds, down from 4.1 seconds for the 2012 version. By any measure, this beast is fast. The Shelby has a top speed of more than 200 mph.
A new Launch Control system, added in 2013, enables drivers to set the tach needle to a specific rpm. When the driver steps on the gas pedal, the system revs the engine to the preset rpm until the driver releases the clutch, resulting in spirited acceleration. In addition, owners can opt for an available Track Package for high-performance driving. Among other features, it includes 3 additional coolers to prevent engine overheating under extreme driving conditions.
With the 2013 update, the GT500 also received new, larger Brembo brakes with 14-inch rotors and 6-piston calipers in the front and 11.8-inch vented rotors and single-piston calipers in the rear. The upgraded brakes help ensure adequate stopping power with no fading at high speeds. Thanks to its sport suspension, the Shelby builds on the Mustang's already tight, nimble ride and precise handling. A standard limited-slip rear axle with a 3.31:1 ratio ensures good traction and performance, and selectable electronic power-assist steering reduces steering effort at lower speeds for optimal handling in all types of driving situations.
Owners can add an optional Performance Package, which includes an SVT-tuned suspension with unique shocks and springs, as well as an upgraded Torsen differential with a 2.8:1 ratio. In addition, the package includes driver-adjustable Bilstein monotube dampers, which ensure a comfortable ride around town as well as a high-performance feel at higher speeds or on the track. In its standard package, the Shelby GT500 rides on 19-inch dark-finish forged-aluminum wheels in the front and 20-inch wheels in the rear. The optional Performance Package adds upgraded Premium forged-aluminum 19- and 20-inch wheels.
Outside, the Shelby GT500 builds on the Mustang's design with a number of enhancements that provide a muscular, aggressive appearance. A front splitter helps create downforce at higher speeds, while the front upper and lower grilles, as well as an integrated air dam, similarly help to reduce lift. The exposed radiator adds to the vehicle's gritty appearance while improving functionality, since the design helps to funnel air into the engine bay to cool components. Other exterior additions in 2013 included two LED light bars in the front and rear, new body-color rocker panels and a high-gloss black panel between the taillights and rear diffuser. Automatic headlights come standard, with HID headlights available as an option. Shelby and Cobra badging, LED foglights, an aluminum power-dome hood with dual heat extractors, over-the-top and side racing stripes, LED sequential taillights and a unique GT500 rear decklid spoiler are among the supercar's other exterior features.
Inside, the GT500 comes equipped with a number of sport-oriented and upscale features, including leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel with Alcantara suede thumb pads and well-bolstered heated front sport seats with Alcantara suede inserts, embroidered Cobra logos and racing stripe patterns color-coordinated to the exterior racing stripes. Owners can add GT500 Recaro leather-trimmed sport seats, also with the Cobra logo and racing stripes, as an option. Even the floor mats receive special treatment, with silver stitching and GT500 logos.
The unique 4-gauge instrument cluster, highlighted by brushed aluminum accents, includes a 4.2-inch LCD Message Center display. Managed through a control button on the steering wheel and positioned between the tachometer and speedometer, the LCD screen displays steering and damping settings, as well as settings for the vehicle's AdvanceTrac stability control system. The display also enables drivers to check engine, temperature, fuel economy, system warning and trip information. Air conditioning, a black center console, sun visors with storage, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and remote keyless entry are among the other standard interior features. For entertainment, the GT500 receives an 8-speaker Shaker audio system with a CD/MP3 player, SiriusXM satellite radio and an auxuliary input jack. Ford's Sync in-car connectivity system with AppLink and its MyKey system, which enables owners to set limits on speed and audio volume, also come standard. Owners can add such options as an upgraded Shaker Pro audio system, dual-zone automatic climate control and a navigation system with TravelLink.
Ford's AdvanceTrac electronic stability control system comes standard on the GT500, along with adjustable traction. Both systems can be disengaged for track speeds. Dual front and side-impact airbags also come standard.
Rob has been a contributor to CarGurus since 2007, and an automotive test-driver and writer since the early ’90s. He’s test-driven everything from BMWs and Jags to Bentleys and Saabs, with an occasional Range Rover, Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini thrown in. He also created the annual Car of the Year and Exotic Car of the Year awards for Robb Report magazine. He currently resides in Florida.
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Ford Shelby GT500 Questions
How Do I Find Out How Many 2014 Gt500's Were Built Like Mine?
SVT, Ruby Red, Black stripe, coupe, Radio/ Nav.
How Does The Dual Clutch Disc Wok?
Does the transmission input shaft require a special design?