2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
According to Ford.com, you can currently purchase a perfectly nice 2020 Mustang Ecoboost® Fastback for $26,670. But then there is the 2020 Mustang Shelby® GT500 starting at $72,900 (including a $2,600 gas guzzler tax), which with additional high-end enhancements can come up to $94,000. So what is the difference? We open with the fact the car is named for Carroll Shelby, who did so much to get Ford into race tracks’ winner’s circles and put the performance stamp on Mustangs beginning with the GT350 in 1965.
Let’s begin with our favorite place, under the hood of the GT500. Here lurks a 5.2-liter hand-built (and signed) aluminum V-8 engine with a 2.65-liter roots-type supercharger with an air-to-liquid intercooler. That will huff up to 12 psi of boost and 760 horsepower and 625 lb-ft of torque (on 93 octane gas). Above the engine is a six-foot-square louvered vent with a removable rainguard for better cooling on dry days. Ford points out those numbers rank the GT500 as the most powerful production car in the automaker’s history.
Ford has integrated technology into its vehicles, which act as the brain behind the car’s beauty. Added values like the GT500’s Track Apps, allow you to set it on launch control and easily clip through a quick quarter-mile. We did it in 11.7 seconds at 127 mph, and we’re out of practice. Ford claims sub-11-seconds. If there was no end to the drag strip, you could go on to 180 mph before the automaker electronically trims the top speed. To warm up for the quarter-mile, you could have activated the line lock and smoked and warmed the rear tires with ease.
You can enjoy a road course, forgetting the dreaded understeer push or random rear end snap of high-powered pony cars of the past. With proper balance to steering and brakes combined with quick automatic up and downshifts, you get to spend more time savoring the drive. Or you could opt for the GT500 to cruise along to your local Starbucks or favorite diner, but you don’t get that for $26,670.
Here’s where some GT500 fans get to cry in their beer with their fellow Corvette C8 lovers. Like the Corvette C8, the GT500 is only available with an automatic transmission. It comes equipped with a TREMEC® TR-9070 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, allowing shifts as quick as 80 milliseconds when set to sport mode. The GT500 offers three drive modes: normal, sport or slippery. However, the Mustang EcoBoost®, Mustang GT and the Bullitt come with five driver-selectable modes: normal, snow/wet, sport, track or drag strip.
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The MagneRide® suspension has been upgraded and includes adjustable steering types. The three-mode, electric, power-assisted, rack-and-pinion steering settings offered include normal, sport or comfort. “MagneRide® is an adaptive suspension with a magnetorheological damper system that uses shock absorbers as well as magnetically controlled dampers for a highly adaptive ride,” says Taylor Ward, writer for Late Model Restoration.
With multiple drive and steering modes to choose from, you might want to consider coordinating tire options as well. Would you prefer Michelin Pilot Sport 4S or Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires? Inside their wheels are 16.5-inch two-piece rotor brakes matched to six-piston Brembo® calipers.
That’s just for starters. Now things can get complicated, and could have potential GT500 buyers poring over their options and asking themselves what justifies a $23,000 gap in the final price.
Which of the two handling packages would you prefer? There are rear wing options, including a removable Gurney flap, plus wicked-looking splitter wickers. Then there’s the Carbon Fiber Track Package. This package includes carbon fiber wheels and omits the rear seat to save weight — but leaves a pair of shallow indentations about the right size for helmet bags.
Want to have some fun? Open this link and build your GT500.
Inside the cabin, the Recaro leather upholstered seats add aggressive style. Feel handsome and drive comfortably to the gym or on the race track. The basic dashboard layout of the GT500 is not all that different than other Mustang models. There’s the Shelby snake in the middle of the steering wheel, of course, but you’ll find the instrument shape and panel little different. Ditto with the levers and buttons, except for the various drive modes they can activate for you to set your driving for the street or the track.
To some enthusiasts, the idea of spending $80,000-$90,000 on any Mustang is a bit much. At that price point, you are in the range of a Corvette C8, Jaguar F-Type or even a Certified Pre-Owned Porsche 911. Then again, you can select a 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT® Hellcat for more than $90,000. To each their own.
Given the GT500’s dramatic dual nature, we like to think of it as Ford’s gentle dragon. It is a Godzilla that is just as willing to raze a city as it is to join you while watching Game of Thrones reruns.
John Lamm worked for Road & Track for 37 years and is equally happy behind a keyboard or a camera. He has written ten automotive books and has been honored with the International Motor Press Association’s Ken Purdy award and the Motor Press Guild’s Dean Batchelor award for writing. He is on the organizing committee for the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and has been a judge at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for two decades.