Mustang Shelby GT500: "With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility"
Updated: Apr 28, 2021
I'm sure you have heard of Hellcats, they’re iconic, with screaming superchargers ripping blazing burnouts all over America. But what happens when Dodge competitors start to catch up? When track times and handling become more important than noise and scary looks? Sure, there is the Camaro ZL1 1LE of course, but that’s over 50 horsepower down on the base Hellcat, so why do that when you could get a monster with a flaring cobra badge?
Enter the new 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500, with more than 760 horsepower coming from its 5.2-liter supercharged V8, it has more than just tire smoke as its priority. To give some background on this car and it’s engine, the first GT500 came out in 1967 as an addition to the Shelby line that included the GT350. With a larger engine, it had much more power to get it down the road, but the more important car came in 2009, the first supercharged Shelby. It was such a big deal they even made a special packaged literally titled “King of The Road”. The car was later brought back with a refresh in 2012 but was mostly similar to the earlier design.
Then in 2015, Ford Performance unveiled the new GT350 with the 5.2-liter Voodoo V8, but what does this have to do with our supercharged 500 model? The new GT500 uses that same 5.2 engine, but with the flat-plane cranks swapped for the more conventional cross-plane setup, and of course, a massive supercharger is slapped on top. Not to mention this is the first Shelby model to be offered only with a dual-clutch transmission, but the excellent Ford/GM 10-speed at that.
This lack of a manual turned off a lot of buyers of the new cars, but the owner of the car we tested, Anthony, absolutely adores it. He tells SFCN, “I used to drive only manual cars, I loathed the automatic ones. But when this car came out, it had so much power to the point where I didn’t want a manual. It required too much to handle nearly 800 horsepower and the transmission, and I couldn’t enjoy my drive as much as I want to.”
He’s right, you can only dedicate so many percent of your skill to shifting, but the DCT eliminates that so you can spend more of your experience keeping an eye on the road and embrace the rocket that is the GT500. Yes, I’m calling a Mustang a missile.
Anthony explains to us that, like a lot of modern muscle cars, "rolling starts" are where they shine. After our first acceleration he says, “I’ve raced almost every fast car around here, and let me tell you, this doesn’t lose.”
“I’ve raced almost every fast car around here, and let me tell you, this doesn’t lose.”
I believe a lot of this is due to the transmission, with surprisingly tall gears and lightning shifts, you rocketed to over 110 mph before the end of 4th gear. Even with traction on, the car loses the tires in second gear, and with a short shift to 3rd, you’re gone. If you follow our Instagram, you’ve seen the demonstration video of all the exhaust modes, Quiet mode through the roaring Track which leads to bangs on upshifts and the occasional pop on the way back down the range.
A big surprise in this car is how well it handles. Taking on-ramps at 85+ mph is a simple task for the GT500, but a challenge (no pun intended) for a Hellcat or a ZL1. But, as with every great car, this one has its share of quirks, with the largest being the launch control system. You’ll hear this from any track test or drag race with a new GT500 in it, but we had to actually feel and test it before we made any assumptions, and this is truly a quirk. Anthony tells us that no matter how low you set the rpm’s, there is excessive wheelspin, but more importantly a huge delay from the time at which you let off the brake and when the car throws you into the seat bolsters. Could this be to reduce wheelspin? Programmed in purposefully not to kill you? Or is there an actual issue with the software of the car?
Either way, don’t use launch control, you’re much better off just nailing it from a stop. Although launch control is an issue, the GT500 has many cool and interesting performance features, like Line Lock, which locks up the front brakes and allows you to do a massive burnout at the drag strip. We’ll be posting a video on how this works on our Instagram @superfastcarnews.
This car is incredible, it’s fast, loud, with a great engine and transmission, but is it worth spending the money on one of these instead of say, a procharged GT? There is no question about this, and our answer is a loud "hell yeah"! You can give a GT 700 horsepower, but it won’t be nearly as well rounded as this car, the traction, transmission, and even the aero pieces keep this car as balanced as it is.
It won't be the same as the monstrous GT500 but you can get a small sample of the life behind the wheel of a similar ride by reaching out to our friends at Reline Rentals of Buffalo. They have a GT convertible with Ford’s iconic 5.0L V-8, delivering up to 460 horsepower and 0-60 acceleration 4.7 seconds including the Automatic Transmission. This car is dressed beautifully with Ford’s Midnight Blue and Ebony Leather seating. When you call or email them to inquire, tell them you learned about this ride from the SFCN team and I'm sure they will take care of you!
Thanks again to the owner of this car Anthony (@elitepokerruns) for taking time out of his day to let us come see his incredible GT500.
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