2020 Ford Shelby GT500 First Look
- “Most advanced” Mustang ever for street, track or drag strip
- Supercharged 5.2-liter aluminum V-8 delivers 700+ horsepower
- Mid 3-second 0-60 mph and sub-11-second quarter-mile
- Arrives at Ford dealerships this fall
- Prices expected above the 2019 Shelby GT350’s $60,000
It seems like only yesterday when 500 horses under any relatively affordable production car’s bulging hood was considered a lot. But now, with Chevrolet’s 650-hp Camaro ZL1 and Dodge’s muscular 717-hp SRT Hellcat and even more outrageous 797-hp Hellcat Redeye Challengers out there for public consumption, Ford’s 526-hp Shelby GT350 wasn’t quite up to the challenge. So here comes this 700-plus-hp 2020 Shelby GT500.
Ford says it will offer the best-ever Mustang cornering and track times and the largest brakes of any domestic sport coupe “thanks to tech transfer from Ford GT and Mustang GT4 racing programs.” Bristling with big air-sucking scoops to cool those Brembo brakes and its pumped-up powertrain, The GT500 boasts “aero-led design” to add pavement-hugging downforce as well as a segment-first dual-clutch transmission (DCT) and race-tuned active chassis. All of which makes it Ford’s most advanced Mustang to date.
Attainable exotic performance
Hermann Salenbauch, Ford Performance vehicle programs global director, adds that the GT500’s “supercar-level powertrain…takes the sixth-generation Mustang to a performance level once reserved only for exotics. As a Mustang, it has to be attainable and punch above its weight. To that end, we’ve set a new standard among American performance cars with our most powerful street-legal V-8 engine to date, plus the quickest-shifting transmission ever in a Mustang for all-out precision and speed.”
As in the GT350, the 5.2-liter V-8’s aluminum engine block features weight-saving wire-arc cylinder liners and high-flow aluminum cylinder heads, plus larger forged connecting rods, improved lubrication and cooling passages. Its 2.65-liter Roots-type supercharger with air-to-liquid intercooler is tucked (inverted to keep its height down) into the V-8’s valley, and its structural oil pan reduces vibration while adding strength, and its patented active baffle system keeps oil where it’s needed.
Benefitting from lessons learned from the Ford GT race car’s dual-clutch automatic, the Tremec 7-speed unit is capable of sub-100-millisecond shifts (much faster than any manual gearbox) and delivers the engine’s prodigious torque through a carbon-fiber driveshaft. It offers normal, weather, sport, drag and track drive modes and activates line-lock and launch control features through selectable Track Apps.
The great twisty road (or track) handling results from revised suspension geometry, lighter coil springs, next-generation MagneRide multi-mode active suspension, new electronic power steering and Ford Performance-spec Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. An available Handling package adds adjustable strut top mounts and a rear spoiler with a Gurney flap, while a Carbon Fiber Track package for hardcore enthusiasts deletes the rear seat (for weight) and brings more aggressive Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires on 20-inch carbon-fiber wheels, an adjustable carbon fiber GT4 track wing and splitter wickers with an integrated dive plane.
The GT500’s cockpit boasts race-inspired premium materials and accents with an available exposed carbon fiber instrument panel appliqué, plus a 12-inch color LCD instrument cluster and an 8-inch Sync 3 touchscreen infotainment system with SiriusXM and FordPass Connect. High-performance 12-speaker B&O Play premium audio is available, as are Recaro racing seats with firm side bolstering and pass-throughs for safety harnesses.
Fuel economy, full specifications (the engineers are still working on optimizing the engine’s output) and pricing will be announced when the GT500 arrives this fall to join the $60,000 GT350 at the top of the Ford Mustang lineup.