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First Drive Review: 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 does Carroll's legacy justice

When creating the new Mustang Shelby GT500, Ford had to meet potential buyers' high expectations. They did.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is all business. It's horsepower and torque and burning rubber and speed. But it's also so much more.

On the outside, the car has the hallmarks of the Mustang and Shelby brands. The Mustang's aesthetic is highlighted by Shelby cobra logos and unique GT500 badging. At the car's face are standard automatic high-intensity headlights with LED signature lighting emphasizing the car's beefy athleticism.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 The iconic cobra symbol is front and center.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford's Mustang models all share the same 107.1-inch wheelbase but their lengths vary slightly depending on the trim level.

The heart of the new Mustang is a hand built, supercharged 5.2-liter aluminum alloy V8 engine that is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. It produces 760 horsepower and 625 pound-feet of torque. Smooth and strong, the powertrain pulls like a freight train, never letting up until you let off the pedal. It's exactly what you expect, and want, from the Ford. The automaker has electronically limited the Mustang to 180 mph.

Ford equips the car with a number of drive modes and settings including: Normal, Sport, and Slippery drive modes; line lock; and track apps. Each drive mode acts as advertised and the system's pages keep track of the car and driver's performance on the circuit or drag strip.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 The car comes loaded with track and drag strip performance tracking equipment.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The new Shelby GT500 is equipped with Ford's adaptive suspension, Brembo six-piston brake calipers with 16.5-inch rotors, and 20-inch carbon fiber wheels. It wears Michelin Sport Cup 2 tires.

The result is a car is more planted than the Mustangs that came before, delivering a well-rounded and purposeful drive experience. Ford set up a closed course for testing, which gave the Brembo brakes a chance to shine. The stopping power and steadfast nature of the vehicle gave plenty of confidence through the tight turns.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 The model rides on 20-inch carbon fiber wheels.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

This is a big change from the Shelby Mustangs of the past, which were great off the line, in a straight line, but couldn't handle the corners. Now, the track-centric car has become a possible daily driver.

The vehicle minded its manners on Las Vegas' streets on the way back into town from the raceway during testing. Throttle response reminded the driver that the power is available when wanted, but not willing to get in the way of gentle acceleration off the line in the city setting.

The interior of the GT500 boasts race-inspired premium materials and available Recaro racing seats with side bolstering that hugs you in tight turns. A safety harness is available.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 The Mustang knows how to mind its manners on the road.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The instrument cluster is a 12-inch color LCD instrument display. It and an 8-inch infotainment touch screen come standard. The tester came equipped with a custom-tuned 12-speaker B&O audio system that can blast Huey Lewis and the News as loud as a driver could possibly want.

Ford equipped the tester GT500s with the available Carbon Fiber Track Pack, which cut the seating capacity of the vehicle down to only two from the Mustang's customary four. The Mustang Shelby GT500 has 13.5 cubic feet of storage, which is better than most vehicles in its class.

The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 has a starting price just a hair over $70,000. The Carbon Fiber Track Pack adds $18,500 to the price. Including taxes, the price as tested was over $90,000. That's an expensive Ford.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Ford has appointed the Shelby GT500 with race-inspired materials.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The big question with the model lies not in the Mustang itself, but in the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette, which starts $10,000 lower than the Mustang and is said to be a very impressive drive. In reality though, the entire buying decision is a matter of taste. In the $90K range buyers can choose a Porsche though they'd end up shilling out significantly more for, say, the Acura NSX or Audi R8.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Three Bugatti Divos have been delivered to U.S. customers.

Photo courtesy of Bugatti Beverly Hills

Three Bugatti customers on the West Coast have started 2021 off on a better note than the rest of us. Bugatti of Beverly Hills was recently able to deliver three of the four Bugatti Divo supercars that have been commissioned through the dealership to their new owners.

Each of the models has been customized to deliver the high-performance, exclusive drive and ride experience required by its commissioner. Ahead of their delivery, the three Divos took to the track together completing laps at The Thermal Club in Palm Desert, California.

The Divo itself is a unique Bugatti even before customization. It rides on new architecture that features more air inlets than other Bugatti models and a wide front spoiler that works to provide optimal air supply and aid with downforce. The car looks lower and longer than other Bugattis due to its slimmer side line. At the front of the grille is the traditional, 159-gram Bugatti emblem.

U.S.-bound Bugatti Divos

Photo country of Bugatti Beverly Hills

Each model is powered by a 8.0-liter W16 engine that achieves 1500 horsepower. That engine can propel the car up to its 236 mph top speed.

Bugatti's Atelier in Molsheim is charged with the creation of each Divo. The first deliveries of the hyper sports cars took place in August 2020. By the end of the first months of 2021, all Divos will have been delivered to their new homes.

"To see these spectacular automobile works of art go from a piece of paper to sitting here in front of me is a phenomenal feeling," says Tim O'Hara, General Manager Bugatti Beverly Hills. "It was a very involved and lengthy process that demanded our best skills and expertise. To deliver 4 of only 40 to be built in the world and see the project through fruition is deeply gratifying."

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The 2021 Lexus LC 500 Inspiration Series turns the car into a stealthy black coupe.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

The new, 2021 Lexus LC 500 Inspiration Series gets blacked out features, carbon fiber accents, and performance enhancements. The luxury arm of Toyota will make just 100 of the models, which is expected to be priced at $119,800 before taxes and fees.

The new car is the result of a partnership between air race pilot Yoshihide Muroya and Lexus engineers, some of whom have worked on the LC and LFCA. The engineers worked on Muroya's plane using what they'd learned in LC 500 development to achieve aerodynamic efficiencies. These changes helped set Muroya off on his path that would eventually lead to him winning the 2017 Red Bull Air Race World Championships.

2021 Lexus LC 500 Inspiration Series

Photo courtesy of Lexus

The 2021 Inspiration Series car has a combination of features not found on any other LC package. The limited-edition vehicle is offered in one exterior color, Obsidian, and wears 21-inch black forged-alloy wheels. Pulling in inspiration from the the aircraft, the team designed a carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) spoiler that follows along the trailing edge arc of the trunk of the LC and features two downtrend winglets on either end.

Each model continues to get its power from a naturally aspirated, 471-horsepower 5.0 V8 engine that makes 398 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission that drivers can shift using magnesium paddles on the car's wheel. All that power moves the car from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.

Lexus has equipped the model with a standard Torsen limited slip differential and Yamaha rear performance rod with damper, an available option on other LC models.

The car's cabin is blacked out as well with black Alcantara-trimmed sport seats complete with Saddle Tan accents and seat belts. The steering wheel and shift lever are also accented in black Alcantara trim. A carbon-fiber scuff plate features at the the door while a serialized badge on the center console identifies the uniqueness of the model.

A 13-speaker Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound Audio system is standard, as is a head-up display, and SmartAccess Card Key (similar to what Tesla offers).

The 2021 Lexus LC 500 Inspiration Series is on sale now.

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