2020 Ford Shelby GT500 Review

Shelby GT500

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2020 Ford Shelby GT500 Overview

Within the Ford Mustang universe, the Shelby range has the last word when it comes to performance. These top-spec models pay homage to the historic collaboration between the late driver and designer Carroll Shelby and Ford Racing. Up until now, we’ve had to make do with the track-focused Shelby GT350. Finally, for 2020, the Mustang Shelby GT500 returns to assume its position on the throne.

While the Shelby GT350 is focused on track balance, the brawnier Shelby GT500 sets its sights on the drag strip and delivering speed. The GT500 is wider and features a full-height grille, which lends it both menace and function. It gets a dramatic hood with deep recesses around a massive louvered hood vent. Meanwhile, prominent front and rear spoilers generate enough downforce to keep this bruiser glued to the tarmac. Its new color palette includes hues like Red Hot, Twister Orange, and Iconic Silver, but as always, the Shelby GT500 looks best in blue with twin white stripes. Inside, you’ll find more premium materials than have ever been in any Shelby car, including Miko suede and exposed carbon fiber.

The Shelby GT500 uses a 5.2-liter V8, similar to the one in the GT350, but with a supercharger and a cross-plane crankshaft. Ford anticipates horsepower ratings in excess of 700, making this the most powerful factory Mustang to date. And, unlike every previous Shelby car, this new one ditches a manual transmission in favor of a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT) adapted from the Ford GT program. While that might anger some purists and fans, it’ll result in faster drag-strip and acceleration times, as it’s capable of swapping gears in under 100 milliseconds. Ford says you can expect 0-to-60 times in the mid-3-second range and a sub-11-second quarter-mile run. The Shelby GT500 also sports the largest front brake rotors, at 16.5 inches, ever fitted to a domestic coupe; these, along with custom-developed Michelin tires, should bring the car to a halt in a hurry.

A number of performance upgrades are available for the Shelby GT500. The available Handling Package adds adjustable strut-top mounts and a spoiler with a Gurney flap. Hardcore enthusiasts should be well-served by the Carbon Fiber Track Package, which includes 20-inch carbon fiber wheels that are half an inch wider at the rear, custom Michelin Pilot Sport 2 Cup tires, an adjustable carbon fiber track wing, and a deleted rear seat.

Features-wise, the Shelby GT500 raids the best of the Mustang parts bin, including its 8-inch Sync 3 touchscreen infotainment system and a 12-inch full-color LCD instrument cluster. You can also specify a new 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system or Recaro racing seats with pass-through holes for safety harnesses.

Ford doesn’t specify which safety features are available for the new Shelby GT500. Other Mustang models include a standard reversing camera and options like blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic detection, reversing sensors, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking.

After a six-year hiatus, the legendary Mustang Shelby GT500 nameplate returns on an all-new model that combines Ford’s best racing and engineering skills into an attractive and attainable package, going up against the Dodge Demon. The world of American performance cars just got a brand-new superhero.

Updated

Kyree is new to the automotive journalism scene, but has voiced snarky public opinions about cars for quite some time. When he's not drooling over the latest European luxury sled, he's designing web experiences or writing backend code.

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