Mustang’s ultimate avatar loses stick

Ford and Shelby come together yet again to create a special Mustang. But what could possibly outdo the masterpiece that’s the GT350/R? Meet the most powerful Mustang to the date, the GT500.

Ford Mustang is an automotive icon. This is the car that made muscle cars popular. This is the nameplate that made GTs popular. The Mustang popularised the notion of a bargain performance car. It is the only car in Ford’s lineup that is its own brand. You see, nowhere on a Mustang’s skin can you see a Ford badge or logo. Ford never had to classify it under an upmarket brand as Mustang became its own brand. Not even the Ford GT can claim that, which retains its Ford logo. How do you make such a car even more special? By attaching Carroll Shelby’s name to it. Oh, and calling it the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 helps too. After all, the GT500 always refers to the most powerful Mustang in production. This one happens to be the most powerful Mustang to date. The name is as mouthful as it always has been.

Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 – Photo Gallery

What’s new about the Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500?

The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is all about raw power. After all, it is the most powerful Mustang to date. That said, it is the first Mustang ever to be offered with a dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Unfortunately, for manual fans, there is no manual in sight here. In that sense, it is the first Mustang to not be offered with a manual gearbox (yet). For manual lovers, there is the GT350/R with their flat-plane V8.

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Speaking of the flat-plane V8, the new GT500 uses the same engine block as the GT350/R. However, it replaces the flat-pane crankshaft in favour of a cross-plane unit. Using a flat-plane crank would have required more time and cost, and would’ve added complexity.

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I don’t think Ford wanted to undertake another project like the GT350 so soon. As such, developing the flat-plane 5.2-litre V8 of the GT350 did seem like a mammoth task, what with making it sound like a Mustang and retaining its big displacement.

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This 5.2-litre V8 engine features a 2.65-litre Eaton roots-type supercharger to make over 700 HP power (760 to be exact). Weighing in the 15 per cent power loss penalty that rear-drive cars face, this engine makes well over 800HP power at the crankshaft. The fact that it is hand-built adds to the engine’s uniqueness.

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On to the chassis, the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 has active MagneRide magneterheological dampers all around. Simply put, they have fluid in them that can be easily magnetised to make the suspension stiff or soft, depending on requirements. The fact that they can adjust almost instantaneously is their biggest advantage.

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Ford claims these dampers help the GT500 achieve highest lateral acceleration numbers from the Mustang. More upgrades come in the form of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S/Sport Cup 2 tires, 420mm discs with six-piston Brembo calipers up front, carbon wheels, and rear wings.

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The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 will be available in two packages. The Handling Package will get you adjustable strut top mounts for trackside camber adjustments, a wing with Gurney flap, and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires.

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The Carbon Fibre Track Package offers 20-inch carbon wheels, wider rear wheels, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, exposed and adjustable carbon fibre GT4 track wing, splitter wickers with integrated dive planes, and only two seats.

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Looks wise, the Shelby GT500 comes with some menacing updates. It is based on the sixth-gen pre-facelift Mustang. Up front, it gets a huge hexagonal grille with a thick bar in the middle. That bar has ‘GT500’ lettering on its right-hand side. Above it features the Snake emblem that announces how special this car is (menacing too).

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This huge grille is flanked by two air intake inlets on either side and below it features a splitter carrying the ‘SHELBY’ name. As to why this grille is so big, there is one answer only – it hides the six heat exchangers and two radiators to improve cool air flow by 50 per cent.

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That big vent in the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500’s hood is not for show. Anything that’s 6.03 sq. ft. in size is not a show piece. It features an aluminium rain tray that can be removed for track use for better air flow and downforce.

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The best bit up front are the hood pins that help lock the bonnet down. If that’s not enough, this car also has an exterior hood latch. Better not park it in a shady area, lest someone might try to steal the engine away.

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The rear of the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is just menacing. If you have seen the rear of the GT350, it may not seem much different save for that Snake emblem. But that goes so well with this car as well that I wouldn’t bother seeing anything new here.

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However, as far as looks go, the GT350 seems a lot friendlier than GT500. The whole packaging makes this look like a Mustang but way more special than the GT350. That’s a tall order to meet and fortunately, the GT500 hits the mark there.

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Inside, the GT500 gets Recaro seats with embossed SNAKE emblem. Door cards feature Dark Slate Miko suede inserts with contrast stitching. More comfortable power-adjustable seats with Miko suede inserts are also available. The car features a 12-inch full-colour digital instrument cluster that’s also present in the facelifted Mustang.

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An 8-inch SYNC 3 infotainment system is mated to a 12-speaker B&O Play sound system for in-car entertainment duties. The Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 features three new colours – Red Hot, Twister Orange, and Iconic Silver. Moreover, painted stripes are also offered on the car.

Is the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 worth consideration?

Here’s the thing about the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 – it will go on sale fall 2019. That’s quite a wait on your part to do. However, the real deal is the base car’s price, which is in mid-high five digits. If you opt for the Carbon Fibre Track Package, the pricing will go into high five digits (see spec sheet below for this). Would you want to pay that kind of money for a Mustang?

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Let’s change the perspective here for a bit. If I had $1,00,000 to blow on a car, would I go for a base Porsche 911 Carrera over the Mustang? The question really is would I prefer a super car in its base form or a muscle car in its powerful avatar.

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I’d go for the muscle car for a few reasons. Firstly, while Porsche has its own appeal, it doesn’t match up to the legendary appeal of a Shelby Mustang. Every time I hear or read Shelby Mustang, I’m reminded of the cars in Gone in 60 Seconds* (the Nick Cage one) and Aaron Paul-starrer Need For Speed*. Can a Porsche 911 Carrera claim that? I don’t think so.

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Then there’s the question of who does it best. Ford, on their best day, created the second-generation GT which won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2017. When the company last joined hands with Shelby for a GT500, it created the most powerful production Mustang ever. Last time the Snake emblem was spotted on a Mustang (the GT350/R), it whooped asses of the best set of wheels Europe and the world had to offer.

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With that in mind, if I ever feel the GT350 isn’t enough for me in my imaginary world, I’d definitely opt for the GT500. As it stands, even the GT350 is a forbidden fruit for me who’s sitting in India. Even the ‘regular’ Mustang GT is a luxury item here, way out of my reach. Not everyone’s in a similar financial shape as I am and for those, the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is a car worth giving a long, hard look to.

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It may not beat the Demon on a drag strip but it promises to not be a one-trick pony either. Bold claim? It is but Ford has backed such claims numerous times in the past. With the GT500, they get the benefit of doubt from me. What about you?

Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 – Specs at a Glance

SpecificationsFord Mustang Shelby GT500
PriceUS $70,300/US $88,800 with Carbon Fibre Track Package (approx Rs 48.38 lakh/Rs 61.22 lakh ex-showroom at current exchange rate)
EngineSupercharged, 5.2-litre V8 petrol
Power770HP
Torque847Nm
Transmission7-speed Tremec dual-clutch automatic
Front SuspensionMcPherson Struts with MagneRide dampers
Rear SuspensionIndependent, Integral Link with MagneRide dampers
Front Brakes420mm discs with Brembo six-piston calipers
Rear Brakes380mm discs with Brembo four-piston calipers
LengthN/A
WidthN/A
HeightN/A
WheelbaseN/A
Fuel ConsumptionN/A
Fuel Tank Capacity60 litres

*Thank you IMDB! Hope you don’t mind me using your links.

  1. […] (more on that in a bit). In a Corvette-first, the car sports a Tremec-sourced 8-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox only. The engine also features cylinder deactivation for fuel […]

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