KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
Alpha stallion in the factory Mustang corral, the Shelby GT500 takes its name and performance influences from racing legend Carroll Shelby but brings a full measure of design and engineering development magic from Ford's SVT (Special Vehicle Team) operations. As before, it couples unique styling with performance and handling that take it well beyond the Mustang GT, whether in coupe or convertible configuration. In 2010 guise, the Shelby's supercharged V8 boasts a heady 540 horses – 225 more than the GT's naturally-aspirated alternative. Despite that bountiful power and formidable dynamic capabilities that make it a natural adversary of vehicles like the Chevrolet Camaro SS and Dodger Challenger SRT8, this fearsome Ford also packs a magnum load of comfort and convenience touches that allow it to serve equally well as a daily driver.
You'll Like This Car If...
For any Blue Oval fan with overt Shelby leanings, the wide-ranging visual and functional upgrades to the new-and-seriously-improved 2010 GT500 will both surprise and delight.
You May Not Like This Car If...
Power has its price, literally; and many Mustang fans may find that a standard GT offers a far better value for their needs. The Shelby GT 500's diminutive rear seat also suffers from the same space limitations as its less-potent kin.
What's New for 2010
Redesigned for 2010 along with its less-intensive Mustang kin, the Ford Shelby GT500 gets an even bolder look, loads of new tech touches and handling enhancements plus a more potent yet more fuel-efficient V8.
The SVT Group worked hard to give its ultimate pony car a new measure of dynamic finesse for 2010. Its comprehensively retuned chassis impressively matches control-enhancing stiffness with comfort-oriented suppleness while well-weighted steering, an amusingly liberal but ultimately protective AdvanceTrac stability system and grippy Goodyear Eagle F1 "Supercar" tires endow the Shelby GT 500 with a level of agility and responsiveness that belie its 3,920-4,040-pound curb weight. The car turns into corners with authority, holds lines smartly and will slide its tail progressively but predictably as you roll in more throttle. Broad power and torque bands put the potent supercharged V8 into full-exhilaration mode by about 3000 rpm and that carries right on up to its 6250 rpm redline, with the mission properly assisted by a slightly heavy but positive and racing-inspired shift linkage. Big anti-lock brakes with Brembo front calipers confidently bring this speedy steed to a halt when fun time is over.
Supercharged V8 Engine
With loads of readily accessible power and torque, all the right intake and exhaust sounds and the ability to spike your adrenaline index with a single stomp of its accelerator, the Shelby GT 500's 540-horsepower force-fed 5.4-liter V8 delivers all it promises.
Cue-ball Shift Knob
White with black graphics, this grab-friendly topper for the stubby shift lever is a direct descendent of the one used on the original late-'60s Shelby Mustang GT500 KR.
The Shelby GT500 brings its own definitive flair to the 2010 Mustang's already upgraded cabin. Building on the regular GT model, it features unique aluminum dash trim, SVT-specific variations that add impact to its gauges, sporty aluminum pedals and "GT 500" embroidered floor mats. Highlighting the mix are well-bolstered sport bucket seats covered in leather and Alcantara that have contrasting center stripes to match those on the car's exterior. Like other Mustangs, the Shelby's rear seat is scaled to accommodate two small (coupe) and smaller (convertible) occupants while its trunk measures 13.4 cubic feet in the former and 9.6 in the latter.
The Shelby GT500 cranks up the base Mustang's visual presence, starting with its more aggressive front fascia with mega-scaled grille inlets that recall a 427 Cobra, a deeper front splitter and an aluminum hood with a hot-air extractor. Rear tweaks are more subtle but include a unique decklid spoiler that features a "tunable" trim element, a functional lower diffuser panel and dual four-inch exhaust outlets. Coupes wear 255/40-front and 285/35-rear Goodyear F1 Eagles wrapped around 19-inch forged and machined alloy wheels while convertibles, crowned with a power-activated cloth top, mount 255/45 and 285/40 counterparts on 18-inch rims. Both get contrast striping set off by a bevy of prominent "Shelby" and "Cobra" badges.
Notable Standard Equipment
Although comprehensive powertrain, suspension and brake upgrades, distinctive bodywork and unique interior trim head the Shelby GT500 features list, both coupe and convertible also boast a full complement of power assists, cruise control, keyless entry, air conditioning, a tilt steering column and the signature cue-ball shift knob plus a black cloth power top on the convertible. The Shelby's standard 500-watt eight-speaker Shaker 500 audio system matches AM/FM/MP3/AUX and a six-disc CD changer with SIRIUS Satellite Radio (including a six-month subscription) and Ford's SYNC hands-free communication package that adds new 911 Assist and Vehicle Health Report capabilities. Also in the mix are AdvanceTrac stability and traction control, high-performance anti-lock brakes and front and front-side airbags.
Notable Optional Equipment
Topping the Shelby GT500's modest but meaningful extras roster are the Electronics Package (voice-activated navigation system with 10-gig Music Box hard drive, Park and Play CD/DVD capability, dual-zone automatic climate control and SIRIUS Satellite Radio with travel link features) and a 10-speaker 1,000-watt Shaker 1000 premium audio system with AM/FM/CD/MP3 and six-disc in-dash changer. Also on offer are HID xenon headlamps, a Weathershield full car cover with Shelby script and a Cobra logo, and no-charge deletes for the contrasting exterior tape stripes and interior seat stripes for those who prefer to maintain a slightly lower profile.
Under the Hood
Sole motivator for the 2010 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is an SVT-spec supercharged and intercooled 5.4-liter V8. A series of modifications, including a freer-flowing cold-air intake, lower back-pressure exhaust system and recalibration of its computer controller unit nets 540 horsepower – 30 more horsepower than the 2009 version – and 510 pound-feet of torque. The engine is teamed with a Tremec six-speed manual transmission that features short-throw linkage and has new and mileage-enhancing 5th and 6th gear ratios. The final piece of the driveline formula is a deeper 3.55:1 rear axle that replaces the previous 3:33:1 unit. It's a package that allows the newest Shelby Mustang to streak from zero to 60 mph in less than 4.5 seconds but helps bump its EPA highway mileage from 20 to 22 mpg.
5.4-liter V8 supercharged/intercooled
540 horsepower@ 6000 rpm
510 lb-ft of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/22
The 2010 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Coupe has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) that starts around $48,000 while the Convertible is close to $53,000, both including $1,000 in Gas Guzzler tax. Adding the Technology Package or Shaker 1000 sound system plus the HID headlamps can bump both of those figures by about $2,000. Even without options, the Shelby GT500 is significantly more expensive than its two closest conceptual rivals, the Chevrolet Camaro SS and the Dodge Challenger SRT8. While it also handily outperforms both vehicles, that five-figure disadvantage ensures both the Shelby GT500 Coupe and Convertible remain the rarest of the Mustang breed. However, that semi-exclusive status also results in their being the most solid when it comes to holding value over time.