2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 first drive: things we love after driving the best Mustang ever

Fortune favors the brave. Back in the day, taming a Ford Shelby GT500 on a track requires the guts of a lion. But after driving the new 2020 Shelby GT500, it suddenly became clear it’s not the old muscle car it used to be.

This was confirmed by our daring Editor in chief Vincent Nguyen, who got the invite for some seat time in the new Shelby GT500. “I’ve driven lots of fast cars, but I feel especially excited to drive the new GT500,” said Nguyen. “As the invite hit my inbox, I was already expecting ridiculous numbers.”

But the chief didn’t just get his hands wet on a proper drag strip, which is the natural domain of the GT500. Ford was gracious enough to unleash a handful of selected drivers on a proper racetrack.

And this got us thinking: what’s a bone-stock GT500 doing on a racetrack? As it turned out, the new Mustang Shelby GT500 has learned a couple of new tricks up its sleeve. With that being said, here are the top five things we love about Ford’s newest Shelby GT500 after driving it.

It has the power to jumpstart a dead planet

Not literally, but you know what I mean. The 2020 Ford Shelby GT500 is the fastest, meanest, and most powerful Mustang to roll out the factory floor. Ford utilized a handcrafted aluminum alloy V8 with 5.2-liters of displacement. The American carmaker went as far as commissioning an entirely new supercharger design to boost the power output of the motor.

Ford turned to Eaton to create a new supercharger. The goal is to increase the power output while retaining the intake air cooler. Ford also wanted a lower center of gravity to improve handling, agility, and steering response. Eaton went to work and came up with the TVS R2650.

With an inverted design, a larger 170-degree helical twist, and 2.65-liters of capacity, the new blower generates 12 psi of maximum boost. The result is 760-horsepower and 625 pound-feet of torque, which is more than enough for a new age muscle car.

The new Shelby GT500 is properly quick

Granted it’s not as unholy as the Dodge Challenger Demon and Hellcat Redeye, but the Mustang can go just as fast in a straight line. “I did three runs in the GT500, and my best quarter-mile run was 11.418 seconds at 131.25 mph,” said Nguyen. “As my track numbers suggest, it seems the GT500 is more than capable of giving the Hellcat Redeye a serious run for the money.”

According to Ford’s official numbers, the new Shelby GT500 can break the quarter-mile in sub-eleven seconds and goes from zero to 60 mph in around three seconds flat. The chief’s numbers were right on the money and were doubly impressive since it’s his first time to pilot the GT500 on a drag strip.

And of course, we’re talking about a factory-stock muscle car that smashes the quarter-mile in around 11-seconds. It seems good ol’ American muscle is here to stay.

The dual-clutch transmission is a peach

Let me put it in the simplest way possible. We all know dual-clutch trannies are great when driving fast. But reality comes crashing hard when you’re crawling over traffic. Dual-clutch units shift faster than CVTs or conventional automatics, but it’s easy for it to get jerky or undecided when driving in the city. “Honestly, I’d been expecting the GT500 to be stiff, heavy, and a little cumbersome in the real world. Instead, the Tremec 7-speed dual-clutch automatic was a revelation,” added Nguyen.

Even when driving at a leisurely pace, the 7-speed Tremec DCT in the new GT500 is as smooth as sponge cake. “There’s none of the jerkiness and hesitation you get from older generations of dual-clutch gearboxes,” exclaimed Nguyen. “But flicking the driving mode from Normal to Sport or Track mode unlocks those lightning-fast 80ms gear changes. It’s enough to make you forgive the absent manual option.”

The new electrohydraulic shift mechanism has low-leak solenoids to call upon seriously quick upshifts with no hesitation. In short, the transmission is smooth when you want it to be but transforms into a monster with a flick of a switch.

The 2020 Shelby GT500 felt at home on a racetrack

The chief said it best. “I never thought the day would come where I could confidently throw a Shelby GT500 around a track and then walk away feeling as good I did on the dragstrip,” said Nguyen. “It still feels extremely raw and powerful, and I grew a newfound sense of respect for the track-ready capabilities of the GT500.”

For the first time ever, Ford has managed to give an ultra-powerful muscle car the handling and cornering abilities of a more expensive Euro sports coupe or sports sedan. The GT500 comes with race-bred Brembo brakes, bespoke Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber, and active MagneRide magnetic suspension to deliver the goods.

It’s the most aerodynamic Mustang, too

According to Ford exterior design manager Melvin Betancourt, the new Shelby GT500 is the most aerodynamic Mustang ever built. “We focused on the fluidity and slipperiness of the new body,” said Betancourt. “We drew inspiration from boats and jet fighters. As a result, the GT500 has 50-percent more air intake than GT350.”

“It’s still the iconic Mustang in shape with a long and sculpted hood and bulging fenders,” added Nguyen. “But there’s a real sense of purpose to new GT500’s design.” Each body panel is shaped to either slice or routes the air. The GT500 also comes with an extra-large hood vent measuring 31 x 28-inches.

But best of all, the new Shelby GT500 has the biggest snake emblem fitted to a Mustang. “We wanted to make sure you’ll see the snake as it approaches and sees it again as the car overtakes you,” concluded Betancourt with a big smile.

With prices starting at around $74,000 the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 offers a lot of bang for the buck. Simply put, everyone at the office agrees it’s the best muscle car for sale right now.