2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Review — Test Drive of the Most Powerful Mustang Ever


[ROCK MUSIC PLAYING] CARLOS LAGO: Good morning. It’s a good morning
because I have coffee. But it’s even better because
of these guys, right here. We’ve come to Las
Vegas Motor Speedway. Ford’s invited us here to
drive the new Shelby GT 500. It’s going to be a
fun day because we get to play with all these cars. The color of the car I’m driving
in this video may change a lot, and that’s because we’re
jumping from car to car. Don’t be scared. We’re going to take
this thing on the road. We’re going to take this
thing on a race track. And we’re going to find out– at least, what I’m
curious about finding out is how the new dual-clutch
automatic works and how this car can
put 760 horsepower through two rear wheels. Come with us. It’ll be fun. Come on. This is the inside of GT 500. And guess what? It looks like a Mustang. Would you be shocked if it
was something different? Let’s run through some of the
changes or things that are GT 500-specific, and then maybe
some things that aren’t. But I think first and foremost,
we’ve got turn the car on. That’s a nice sound. One of the more humorous
parts about this car is you have an adjustable
exhaust volume toggle. You can go from normal to
sport to track to silent. Listen to that. It’s nice. It’s a nice thing to have. It’s really funny. You’ll notice no
shifter, right here. Obviously– it’s
dual-clutch automatic. So you have this
rotary shifter that’s pretty common across
Ford products nowadays. And then you have
the paddle shifters. Ford’s told us that
the way that they’ve configured these shifters to
work, they should work fast. They don’t have to go
through all the other vehicle communication lines in order
to actually request a shift and have the transmission
execute that shift. They go directly to
the transmission. And that’s a lot
of way to explain that when you ask
for a shift, it just happens without a delay. That’s nice when
you’re driving fast. The toggles down here, neat
as they are for the things they do, they are kind of
annoying because they only go one direction. If I’m in normal drive
mode, for example, and I want to go to
sport, that’s easy. But if I want to go from sport
all the way to normal again, I can’t just go down. I have to go all the way through
track and drag and slippery and then normal. And that’s weird because
these look like rockers and not toggle switches. And so you would expect
it to work up and down. All that aside, when it comes
to driving interface stuff, microfiber suede-like wrapped
steering wheel– at least the top 3/4 of it. And a little marker
here for a center, which is always nice to have if
you’re doing sideways burnout stuff. Which this car presumably
can do very well. Paddle shifters,
we talked about. Very clear view of the
digital gauge cluster. And the digital gauge
cluster has a couple of different modes
of display, from one that has two gauges,
which are both sort of– they’re digital, but they
look like analog gauges. And then you can switch
into the track mode. And then it changes to like
a bar display for the tach, specifically. And then you have a
digital speedometer. It’s really nice. It’s really easy to
read, even though it contains a lot of information. It’s fairly customizable. You can also set a
shift-point notification that appears graphically. And you can make it so it
appears audibly as well. On top of that,
on the windshield, lights race to meet
each other when you’re approaching red lines. So it really helps if you
decide to shift yourself. If you just leave it in
automatic, who cares? You can just let the
transmission do its own thing. When it comes to
outward visibility, that’s always been a Mustang
strength versus Camaro, especially. In here, it’s largely the same. We’re in the track package car,
so there is a spoiler splitting through the rear-view
mirror, but it’s still easy to see out of. And out of the front,
the forward visibility is largely fine. Yeah, your overhangs are
still pretty massive. There’s a lot of car
happening out there. So nosing into a parking lot
might be a little more tricky than a compact sedan. But you’re in a Mustang. Back into your parking lots. Show yourself. Get this thing in orange. Come on. And the standard hood couldn’t
contain that bulging display of manly horsepowerness. That’s right. In the back, because we’re
in a track-package car, we don’t have rear seats. There’s just kind of a space,
there, for stuff, like luggage. And certainly not people. It’s nice because you
often hop into a Mustang, look at the back seats, and
go, who would sit there? And now, you have space
for luggage and tools or whatever you would take
to a track or on a trip. These bucket seats do a good
job of holding you in place. All manual controls on
these specific seats. And I kind of would like
some lumbar support, but that’s just me turning
into a cranky old man. You can see by the
gray hairs, here. Otherwise, a very nice,
functional interior that seems to work really well. And I also like the fact
that you can get the GT 500 plaque right here that shows you
which chassis number you have. That’s a nice little touch. Of course, this is a
760-horsepower Mustang. So the first thing
we should talk about, the most important thing
we should talk about, is on-road comfort, right? Yes, of course this is
a track-oriented car, be it the race track
or the drag strip. But you still have to drive
to either of those locations. So because of that,
on-road comfort, for lack of a better
term, is important. And how does the GT 500 do? It’s really good. I’ve put about 50 miles
on the road so far. And so far, I’ve been
impressed by the driveability of this car. Yeah, we’re in a
carbon fiber track pack version of the Mustang. So we’re kind of doing it wrong. You wouldn’t spec a car this
way, to drive it on the road all the time. But from my experience
so far, you could. Now, yes, there is a
bit of tram lining. And that’s when the front
tires sort of follow grooves in the road. And that doesn’t feel great. You don’t really expect
that from most cars. But that happens in
performance cars. So a fair amount of that
is acceptable, here. I think more impressive, though,
is the overall ride quality, which is very strong, very
smooth for this kind of car. Not feeling a lot of bumps. But we’re also on
pretty smooth roads here in the mountain
roads in Las Vegas. There’s not a lot of
bumps to upset everything. But so far, so good. The real thing I
was curious about was tractability of
the engine, of course– how easy it was to drive. But the biggest thing
was the transmission, this new dual-clutch
transmission. This is the first Mustang
with a dual clutch. So how it works with the
car is very important. And so far, it’s really good. It’s very smooth. There isn’t a lot of shock
from the drive train, when you engage a new gear. When you roll away from the
stop, you roll on the gas, and it engages in a
way that feels natural. And I’m surprised by how smooth
it is going from gear to gear. I like there’s a
couple of neat things you can do with a transmission. There are these
shift paddles, here. If you hold the downshift
lever, for example, it drops to the lowest
possible gear ratio. And it does so very quickly. I’m in sixth. We’re going 65 right now. Now, we’re in second. That’s fairly impressive. That’s really impressive
tech for a Mustang. That’s stuff that we’ve seen
in more expensive German sports cars for a long time. Not that this isn’t expensive,
but that’s something you don’t expect from a Mustang. On the road, this is a really
smooth and easy car to drive. And that’s a hugely important
feat because previous generations of GT 500s weren’t. Oftentimes, they
had a lot of engine, but not a lot of refinement. And so far, this
seems to be way better than those previous
models, as good as they were for their time. This is pretty
satisfying and pretty– there’s a lot of
car here to enjoy. As there should
be for the price. Tied for centerpiece of
the GT 500, let’s say, is this transmission. It’s a seven-speed
dual-clutch automatic. There is no manual availability
with the GT 500 currently. Whether that changes or not
the future, who’s to say? This is the transmission
you get with a GT 500. Why is that? Well, in general,
dual-clutch automatics shift faster and
offer greater control over the vehicle’s
transmission of power from the engine to
the rear wheels. And that’s what you get here. They’re able to adjust
how it reacts and behaves based on what type of
driving you’re doing and what kind of mode
you’re driving in. And this is part
of the piece that helps get that incredible 0-60
time and incredible quarter mile time. I think 10.7 seconds, that’s
what they’re claiming. Huge piece of the
puzzle, right here. The second piece,
bigger element, is this big guy, right here. Supercharger bolted
on top of the engine. Displaces, I want to say,
like 2.65 liters or something. And this is an
integral component to making 760 horsepower. And when you have that amount
of air being compressed and sent through, you need
to do a lot of work to the engine, which
includes the heads. This is a cylinder head. And behind us, over
here, is the oil pan, cylinder and connecting
rod, and our oil catch can will run through
these briefly. Oil pan has additional baffling
to keep the engine lubricated, which is hugely important
to making this kind of power and turning sideways. Because all the oil can get
stuck up on to one side. So you have to have baffles
that make sure that the oil can come back and collect,
get picked up, and get sent back
through the engine. And then you have
an oil catch can, which I believe is optional
on the track package. And that’s going to make
sure that the whole system stays lubricated when
you’re pulling or sustaining lots of lateral gs,
which this car can do. When it all comes together,
minus the transmission, of course, 5.2-liter V8,
quad cam, 1, 1, 1, 1, right? 760 horsepower on 93 octane. And this is the whole
package, altogether. Not much to say other
than looks cool, don’t it? Another neat addition are these
optional carbon-fiber wheels. These come on the
carbon-fiber track pack. And yes, they are carbon fiber. Ford’s been using these for
a while on GT, on GT 350. This is becoming more common
in the world of performance vehicles because they
save so much weight. And they also look pretty rad
because you got that really cool carbon weave in there. The standard wheel-tire package
is this guy, right here. That’s wrapped in a
Michelin Pilot Sport 4s. And this gets a Michelin
Pilot Sport Cup 2, I believe. And both of those
tires are specifically designed for this application,
like every other sports car these days. So you’ve got a ton of power. You’ve got a way to get it
to the rear wheels quickly. You’ve got incredible
acceleration. You need a way to
slow down, too. Brakes, of course, aren’t
responsible for stopping power. Or the rotors are as
much as the tires are. A brake can’t stop more than
the tire grip available. But they certainly
help the process and help dissipate heat,
which is hugely important. You have to think of it
as an integrated system. This is all beyond
the point because look at the size of this front rotor. That’s 16 and 1/2 inches. I mean, I remember when my
Integra, when I was a teenager, had 16-inch wheels. Now, we’re looking at
rotors that are that size. The real rotors are 14.6 inches. That’s– I mean,
that’s just silly. There’s a Brembo
rep here who told me that this caliper, this
front caliber for the GT 500, is among the largest they
manufacture for sports cars, or for any car in particular. He also walked me
through that when you’re applying
the brakes, there’s a force that wants to spread
the caliper apart just as much as you want to press
in and stop the rotor. And this structure
right here is so massive relative to what you would
find on GT 350, and even the Ford GT. This is serious,
serious hardware. Because we’re on track
in kind of a train with fellow journalists
and colleagues, the trick is to not go too
fast on the warm-up lap to catch up with the
person in front of you. So I’m going to try to
not do that this time. So GT 500, on track,
an unfamiliar track, unfamiliar car. Basically, the first time. What I’m interested
in exploring, here, is how this
dual-clutch transmission reacts to track use,
how much traction I can find from the rear end,
on top of the usual stuff, like braking quality,
steering quality, and so on. We are in the car’s track mode. And we’re just letting the
automatic transmission, this dual clutch, shift
itself to see what it does, how it acquits itself. So we’re just
warming up to pace. The folks at Ford have left a
bunch of cones out here for us to reference, which is
really helpful on a track that we don’t know too well. Wide-open throttle. Here we go. GT 500. So fourth gear at 115. We’re gonna see 130. Big on the brakes into turn one. Good feel in the braking. Kind of have a lot
of bite in there, and I haven’t used
all of it, yet. Good traction out. So far, with a car
with 760 horsepower, you can feed in that
throttle, trust it. A little bit
understeered, there. Too fast. Too fast. And then on it. Big brakes, here,
as we whoa it down for this decreasing-radius
left turn. Too fast in, so we’re getting
some understeer power out. Let’s try full throttle. There we go. [LAUGHS] That’s pretty strong. Really good braking
response that’s bleeding off speed in a
confident and calm manner. And there’s so much power. Despite the power, how
much of it there is, I can really dig into the
gas pedal on corner exit. And I’m not even challenging
the cornering limit to this car, yet. Still no problem throwing
this thing around. You know, this is
a big, heavy car. You know, we’re talking around
4,000, maybe upwards of that, with a ton of power. And I’m not revealing
that weight. I’m not finding a lot of
that weight right now. That doesn’t mean
this car feels small. It certainly feels
like the big car it is. That was a much
bigger braking moment. And that felt real good. And dig. Full throttle. Full throttle. Yeah, this thing really
puts the power down. This is very different
from previous GT 500s. Those were all live-axle cars. Did not have the sophistication
in the rear suspension to deal with the amount
of power they had. This feels way more developed. Yeah, a lot of tire
grip in this car. Yeah, a little bit
of rotation, there. Not too much. Trailing throttle. Braking. I’m sorry, I actually
thought of braking while you’re entering a corner. You can do that, which is nice. That’s another
dimension to handling that you can use to get the
car where you want it to go. Oh, yeah! Getting braver, there. [LAUGHING] Eating up that chicane. That is good stuff. Yeah, you can really
lean on these tires. There’s a lot of stick
in these Michelins. And that’s gonna give
you the confidence to keep going faster
through each corner. So automatic transmission
has been good, too. I’ve got to say. That was our last lap,
so we’ll whoa it down and do a bit of a debrief. How you doing, Charlie? That was amazing. So much fun. Woo! That is rad. So let’s talk about GT 500. So the Mustang starts
life as an inexpensive car for a lot of people. There’s even rental
car variance of it. And then the model line
stretches all the way up to this thing, which has 760
horsepower, track-ready brakes, really sticky tires, blah,
blah, blah, blah, blah. Considering that breadth,
this is incredible, what you get out
of this package. It’s an expensive package,
no doubt about that. Value is going to be a
bigger discussion out of here relative to other
sports cars around this money. But all that aside, you get
a lot of capable performance with this car. Not only do you have
a ton of power– Shelby GT 500s have never
have an issue with horsepower. But it was how that power
was applied to the rear tires and overall driveability
that was always the shortcoming of that car. This thing seems to have
dialed that in so much better. You can actually
accelerate through corners. You can put tires on curbing. You can really ride the
braking into the corners from really high speeds
with all the control that you would hope to have– that you would, frankly,
never expect from a GT 500. This does the handling thing. And for the weight and
the size of this thing, that’s an incredible
accomplishment. And I’m thoroughly impressed by
the capabilities of this car. When it comes to more of the
ethereal stuff– the sound. It’s loud. It’s authoritative. Is it pretty? I kind of prefer the GT
350 sound, if I’m honest. Although that’s more punk rock. This is a lot more
serious in tone. What’s funny is, just for an
aside, the GT 350 and the GT 500 kind of have the Porsche
911 GT 3RS and GT 2RS thing going on, where
the cheaper car has the– let’s say a more
characterful engine, and the bigger car
is all business. That said, I’ve
enjoyed driving this. And I hope we can
get more track time. Although I don’t think
it’s going to happen. A lot of fun, though. Yay! We’ve put a ’67 Shelby GT
500 in the back of this frame because, well, it’s here,
and why wouldn’t you? But also we’ve put it there to
illustrate the amount of change the GT 500 has gone through
over the past bunch of decades. It’s because I feel like
with this 2020 version, we’re at a new
threshold, or we’ve crossed a threshold,
of GT 500 performance. We’re in a kind of a
new world, here, and one that I’m really
excited to explore as the Mustang continues. [ROCK MUSIC PLAYING]