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Video | Here's Why the Shelby GT500 Is the Ultimate Ford Mustang

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author photo by Doug DeMuro October 2019

I recently had the chance to drive the new 2020 Shelby GT500, which is the ultimate Ford Mustang. I say that for a lot of reasons, which I'll get into shortly, but for now let me just sum up my experience with this: Yowza!

I say that in part about this car's engine figures. It uses a 5.2-liter supercharged V8 that makes an amazing 760 horsepower and 625 lb-ft of torque, which makes this the most powerful Mustang ever. In fact, it's the most powerful Ford ever -- and it eclipses the GT supercar's power number by an amazing 115 horses. Yowza, indeed.

Then there are the performance numbers. The GT500 is aided by a dual-clutch automatic, dropping the mandatory manual from the GT350 -- indeed, no manual will be available at all. But the result is more consistent and achievable ultrafast drag racing runs, as the GT500 can do the quarter mile in 10.7 seconds. A stock 10-second quarter mile is a truly unbelievable feat -- and it won't surprise you to learn this car also manages to reach 0-to-60 in 3.3 seconds.

That 0-to-60 figure is incredible, of course, and it also makes the GT500 just a bit faster than the Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye, which is probably this car's closest competitor. That's a good thing, because the GT500 is down on the Redeye in terms of power: It has "just" 760 horses to the Redeye's 797. But the Mustang is a physically smaller car than the Challenger, hence the Mustang's slightly quicker 0-to-60 time; the Redeye reportedly hits 60 in 3.4 seconds.

But while the GT500 might be down a few horses to the crazy Hellcat Redeye, it's up compared to other rivals: The GT500 has 43 more horsepower than a regular Hellcat and 110 more than the Camaro ZL1, meaning this car has just fired a new shot in the ongoing -- and continuously insane -- horsepower wars. Big horsepower is now more achievable than ever before, and the GT500 proves it.

Then again, it's not quite as accessible as you might think, considering it's a Mustang at its core. The cost of this GT500? It starts at $74,000 with shipping, but options quickly raise the price: The carbon fiber track page is $18,000, for instance, while painted stripes are another 10 grand (otherwise, you can just get cheap vinyl ones -- in case you don't want to spend a used car's worth of money on some stripes). There are other options, too, but you get the point: This is a Mustang you can easily get to cost over $100,000.

And yet, on the road, it seems to justify its price tag. Of course, the GT500 is raucously fast, building power instantaneously and with one of the best exhaust notes in the car industry -- controllable with four different settings, including "Quiet" should you want to drive the car without waking up your neighbors. It's powerful from both a stop and from regular highway speeds, bringing massive enjoyment with every push of the pedal.

But the big surprise here is that it also handles well. It's almost amazing how precise the steering is, giving you impressive control through every corner -- and vastly exceeding the performance of basically every Mustang that has come before it, short of the fantastic GT350 and GT350R that are now old news. I'm incredibly impressed by how well this car handles, delivering an exciting and highly controllable ride around all corners with precision I normally associate with perfectly balanced -- and very expensive -- European sports cars. It's amazing how good it is for a Mustang.

You combine the speed and the handling and the numbers, and you start to get it: This isn't just a very expensive Mustang, it's the ultimate Mustang, and so you understand why the price tag climbs so high. Sure, it's big money for a Mustang, but when you consider everything that's involved, it's also a lot of car for the money -- and I think, as an all-around car, this is probably the best choice in the current crop of crazy muscle cars. Find a Ford Mustang for sale

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Video | Here's Why the Shelby GT500 Is the Ultimate Ford Mustang - Autotrader
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