Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2021 nominee

When the Ford Mustang was released in 1964, it was a more attractive version of the Falcon economy car. It created the pony car category, and it’s been getting better ever since.

The new Mustang Shelby GT500 is the best performance Mustang yet, with drag car speed and road course moves. It’s an all-American, supercharged, V-8-powered cudgel of a track car, and we love it.

That blown 5.2-liter V-8 spins up 760 horsepower that rockets the car from 0-60 mph in a dazzling 3.3 seconds and conquers the quarter mile in just 10.7 seconds. The V-8 snorts and spits and whines as it delivers gobs of power through its slick-shifting 7-speed dual-clutch transmission all the way up to its 180-mph top speed. Our only complaint with power delivery? No manual transmission.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 media drive, Las Vegas, October, 2019

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 media drive, Las Vegas, October, 2019

Ford outfits the GT500 with all its chassis tricks for track capability. It rides on massive 305-mm front and 315-mm rear tires, stops with 16.5-inch front brakes discs with 6-piston Brembo calipers and 15-inch rear brakes with 4-piston calipers, irons out the bumps with magnetic dampers, and uses a slew of aerodynamic tweaks to keep it on the ground at triple-digit speeds.

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A Carbon Fiber Track Package ups the ante with lightweight carbon-fiber wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, an adjustable carbon-fiber rear wing, a carbon-fiber instrument panel, Recaro bucket seats, and a rear-seat delete.

On a road course, the GT500 has tremendous grip. The car bites hard and carries a lot of speed through the corners, especially with those Cup 2s. It’s agile, too, despite a rather hefty 4,081-pound curb weight. While the power is tremendous, it’s controllable. The GT500 makes you feel like an SCCA racer.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 media drive, Las Vegas, October, 2019

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 media drive, Las Vegas, October, 2019

Some of that track capability makes it hard to drive the GT500 on the street. Those wide, roadgrader tires seek out highway seams and scrub in tight cornering at low speeds. The raucous V-8 sounds like a high-energy metal album, but sometimes it’s better to listen to rock ballads. The rear-seat delete is race car cool, but it leaves no room for the kids to get ice cream on a cruise night. It also costs a healthy chunk of change, starting above $70,300 and topping $90,000 with an option or two and the $18,500 Carbon Fiber Track Package.

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If you have access to a racetrack or a canyon road, the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is a race car for the street that delivers the ultimate in pony car performance. A Mustang GT makes a better daily driver, though.

Will the best performing Mustang of all time have the goods to win Motor Authority‘s Best Car To Buy 2021? Check back on Jan. 4 when we reveal our winner, along with the champs from our sister sites, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports.

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