It's hard to overstate the how brutally fast the Shelby GT 500 is—or what a bargain it is at $54,650. No other V8-engined car you can buy, no matter how expensive or admired, has as much power as this souped-up Mustang. It's literally the most powerful production V8 on earth.
The supercharged 5.8-liter V8 is a great and terrible beast—662 horsepower and 631 pound-feet of torque. The Eaton supercharger displaces an additional 2.3 liters on its own, more than most four-cylinder engines. Track-tested at over 200 mph, the GT 500 does zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds and can reach 140 mph while still in the third gear of its heavy-duty Tremec six-speed transmission. (When a gearbox comes with its own oil pump, you know it's not messing around.) The stunning convertible isn't quite so wild; the suspension is a touch softer and it's electronically limited to 155 mph.
To keep things simmering without blowing the lid off, there are standard Brembo brakes with six-piston calipers, electronic launch control, and traction control with four performance settings. Fuel economy itself isn't usually an issue with supercar buyers, but the federal gas guzzler tax is. At 15 mpg city and 24 highway, the GT 500 avoids it.
Believe it or not, you can squeeze a few more thrills out of the GT 500 with the SVT Performance Package, which provides unique suspension tuning, upgraded wheels and tires specific to the front and rear, and Bilstein electronic dampers that you can adjust from the cockpit. Coupe buyers who expect to spend time on the racetrack can also add the SVT Track Pack, which adds an external engine oil cooler, and pump-operated transmission and differential coolers.
Mustang fans will appreciate how much the GT500 looks like the garden-variety GT models, and even the lowly V6 for that matter. Except for the Shelby's unique front air intake and rear spoiler, you have a stock Mustang body with different stripes and badging. The decades-old Cobra emblem goes on the front fenders and is stitched into the leather seats.
The non-performance option mix is the same as other Mustang coupes and convertibles, a key factor in keeping the price down. Rather than throw every convenience feature at the GT 500, Ford concentrated on the performance, and left the soft stuff up to personal tastes.
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