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