Money, power, respect: Where does the Ford Shelby GT500 fit in?

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November 04, 2019 09:30 AM

Money, power, respect: Where does the Ford Shelby GT500 fit in?

The Mustang GT500 should steal performance car buyers from across the world, but will it?

Jake Lingeman

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The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 comes with a supercharged V8 making 760 hp. This color is called Grabber lime.

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The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 comes with a supercharged V8 making 760 hp. Rapid red is a $395 option.

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The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 comes with a supercharged V8 making 760 hp. ‘Murica.

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The granddaddy of Ford Shelby GT500s, with his kin.

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The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 comes with a supercharged V8 making 760 hp.

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The sun sets over Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

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The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 comes with a supercharged V8 making 760 hp. This color is called Race red.

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The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 comes with a supercharged V8 making 760 hp. “Over the top” stripes are a $1,000 option.

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Front brake discs measure 16.5 inches on the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500.

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The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 gets twice as much air as the GT350.

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The Carbon Fiber Track Pack on the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 adds the CF wheels, CF instrument panel, CF wing and Recaro leather seats.

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All 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500s come with the digital gauge cluster.

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On the track, the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 can surprisingly put most of those 760 horses down to the pavement.

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The Recaro manual seats are a lightweight option on the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500.

The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is finally here to take its place as the king of all Mustangs, near and far. The reviews are in and the general consensus seems to be, “the best Mustang ever built, but also very expensive.” The ones we tested were in the $90K range, a gasp-worthy Mustang price if there ever was one. But where in the wider sports-car world does it fit in? Ford wouldn’t give us a straight answer on its competition, except that the performance target was somewhere between the GT350R and the Ford GT supercar.
Let’s start with the obvious and branch out from there: On its face, the GT500’s MSRP seems like a silly price for a Mustang. But if we look at the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, that comes in at $62,995; adding the 1LE package bumps it up to $70,495. Already we’re within striking distance, price-wise, of the GT500. The 1LT and 1SS trims are much lower, $34,995 and $37,999 respectively. Those two compare much better to the basic Mustang GT, which starts at $35,630.
From Dodge, if we’re talking two-door, four-place V8 cars, we have the Challenger, in my eyes the best-looking of the three American competitors, though certainly not the fastest around a road course. The R/T, which compares to the Mustang GT and Camaro SS, starts right in line with the others at $34,545. Stepping up, the 707-hp Hellcat is (a steal at) $60,945 and the Redeye, with 797 hp, comes in at $71,945.

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2020 Shelby GT500 first drive: 760 hp from a factory Mustang

With that, we’ve established that the Shelby GT500 is well within our current, if admittedly insane, pony car/muscle car price range.
Over on the luxury side, there’s the BMW M4 (425 hp, $69,150), Mercedes-AMG C63 (469 hp, $69,900) and the Audi RS5 (444 hp, $74,200). All three are near the prices of the hot versions of the American pony cars, and all three are heinously outgunned in the horsepower equation.
But who is actually buying this thing? Will a Mustang ever steal a BMW buyer? A Mercedes buyer? What about Corvette? That car, the midengine one, certainly will find new conquest buyers as it goes on sale because it breaks into supercar territory with its layout and output. I’ll accept that the Mustang probably won’t steal Corvette buyers. The ‘Vette’s too cheap — with a base price of $60K, it can be optioned to $70K and still be less expensive than the top pony cars.

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Is the GT500 a ronin, a samurai with no master, set to wander the racetracks of the U.S. looking for competition? Will Porsche 911 buyers look far enough down their noses to consider it? I think they should. I think if they want a track car that will lay down Gridlife Time Attack-type lap times, regardless of brand, they will. I don’t see a lot of Big Three buyers switching brands, though; the delta is too small and I don’t really see luxury car buyers moving, either.
So, the Shelby GT500 is the apex, the pinnacle of Mustang-dom, a “thanks for everything” to 65 years of buyers. Will the next Mustang be quicker? More powerful? I not only doubt it, I also don’t see the point. It might be more efficient, it might be a hybrid, but if you’re not stealing buyers from the competition, you’re not increasing the market share.
I love the Mustang. The GTs are the workaday driver’s supercar. The GT500, if not already inside, is banging on the supercar category’s door. For my money, I’m still getting the GT350. But if I came into some money — and you laid out all the cars I mentioned above — the GT500 may be at the top of my list.

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Source:https://autoweek.com/article/car-life/money-power-respect-where-does-ford-shelby-gt500-fit

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