2009 Ford Shelby GT500 Coupe Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Ford Shelby GT500 Coupe

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Ford Shelby GT500 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 5.4 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 500 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 14/20 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2009 Ford Shelby GT500

  • Though compromised by unpolished handling dynamics, the 2009 Ford Shelby GT500 still shines thanks to massive performance potential, classic-era looks and a reasonable price.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Supercharged V8 performance, powerful brakes, old-school styling cues, reasonable price.

  • Cons

    Old-school rear suspension, industrial interior materials, convertible's flaccid body rigidity, no stability control available.

  • What's New for 2009

    Changes are light for the 2009 Ford Shelby GT500, with standard satellite radio being the only addition.

Full 2009 Ford Shelby GT500 Review

What's New for 2009

Changes are light for the 2009 Ford Shelby GT500, with standard satellite radio being the only addition.

Introduction

Back in 1967, the Shelby GT500 was the most powerful Mustang to date, with 360 horsepower. This iconic pony car, along with its less powerful GT350 stablemate, was renowned for its snarling performance and distinguished by its wide body stripes and strip-style taillights borrowed from the Mercury Cougar. Years later, the GT500 would make a pop-culture comeback, starring as Eleanor alongside Nicolas Cage in the remake of Gone in Sixty Seconds.

Now the GT500 is back, and this time it has an equal amount of hp to back up that number. The 2009 Ford Shelby GT500 is a true embodiment of its illustrious forbear, with retro styling and an even more retro overall character. Like those muscle cars of yore, this car is all about laying as much power to the pavement as possible, with going around corners a secondary concern.

Those 500 horses are generated by an engine derived from Ford's future-classic GT supercar. Differences include a wet-sump oil system (versus race-oriented dry-sump), a cast-iron block (instead of aluminum) and a "Roots-type" supercharger (instead of an Eaton "screw-type" with 13.5psi). The result is an engine that's not as powerful or free-revving -- but its gruffer classic muscle-car character is certainly in keeping with the GT500's mission.

And that mission is obviously to go fast, obliterate tires, embarrass obstinate WRX drivers and make raucous noises more in line with an Albertosaurus than an automobile. On those counts, mission accomplished. This is truly a bad-a er, nifty car that can rip from zero to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds and make the quarter-mile disappear in 12.8 seconds.

Unfortunately, also like those muscle cars of yore, the 2009 Shelby GT500 isn't that keen on going around corners. Ford did wonders with the antiquated solid-axle rear suspension in the Mustang GT, but 300 hp is a heck of a difference from 500 hp. Factor in the extra weight up front added by the GT500's motor, and the result is a chassis not entirely suited for carving up a twisty road. The heavy front end and tire-smoking rear-wheel drive produce odd driving dynamics, with understeer correction often resulting in wicked oversteer. The less rigid convertible in particular is a mess of body quivers and odd responses.

In other words, there are more refined coupes and convertibles available for the same amount of money. The BMW 335i, for instance, accelerates to 60 mph only a few tenths of a second slower than the mighty GT500. The most obvious competitor, though, is the new Dodge Challenger SRT8 -- it's more refined, almost as fast and less expensive to boot. But we have a sneaking suspicion that most GT500 enthusiasts would buy this Mustang for its distinct brand of muscle-car roots, muscle-car speed, muscle-car sounds and muscle-car looks -- nothing else matters. The 2009 Ford Shelby GT500 most likely represents the modern-day incarnation of a boyhood fantasy -- albeit now with the hp to back up that number.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Ford Shelby GT500 is a high-performance variant of the Mustang. As such, it seats four and is available in coupe and convertible body styles. The GT500 comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, high-performance Goodyear F1 tires (255/45 front and 285/40 rear), cruise control, hood-mounted heat extractors, a front air splitter, a ducktail-style rear spoiler, air-conditioning, leather-upholstered sport bucket seats with Cobra logos, a power driver seat and a 500-watt stereo with CD changer and satellite radio. The GT500 convertible also comes with a power-operated soft top. Both the GT500 coupe and convertible have "GT500" side stripes, while the coupe also has racing stripes over the nose and tail. Ford offers a stripe-delete option for buyers who prefer a less ostentatious look.

Options include xenon headlights, a navigation system, an upgraded sound system, multicolored interior lighting and a premium interior trim package that includes a leather-wrapped dash top, upgraded door panels, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and sport pedals. A sunroof is available on the coupe.

Powertrains and Performance

The rear-wheel-drive Shelby GT500 is powered by a 5.4-liter supercharged V8 that produces 500 hp and 480 pound-feet of torque. A Tremec six-speed manual is the only transmission available. In performance testing, the GT500 coupe went from zero to 60 mph in an impressive 4.6 seconds and yielded a 12.8-second quarter-mile time. The convertible did the same tests in 4.7 seconds and 13.1 seconds, respectively. Fuel economy is rated at 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined.

With the huge disc brakes, brake fade is a non-issue and stopping power is amazing for such a heavy car -- a stop from 60 mph takes a relatively short 116 feet.

Safety

The GT500's Brembo brakes feature four-piston calipers and 14-inch rotors up front; and two-piston calipers and 11.8-inch discs in back. Also standard are ABS, traction control and front-seat side airbags. Stability control is not available and there is no spare tire, just a temporary inflation kit. Although the specific GT500 model hasn't been crash tested, the Mustang upon which it is based received perfect five-star ratings from the government for frontal-crash protection and front-passenger side protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Mustang convertible received the second-best rating of "Acceptable" in the frontal-offset test, while getting the top rating of "Good" in the side crash test.

Interior Design and Special Features

Like the Mustang, the GT500 was designed to mimic the dual-cowl cabins found in its 1960s forebears. However, those classic cars didn't have an abundance of rock-hard plastics and other unpleasant materials that ultimately make the GT500 feel very cheap. The rubber-trimmed metal hand brake feels like it belongs on a John Deere grain harvester. The Shelby does boast some special attributes, like Cobra seat logos, more aggressive side bolstering and red stitching. Otherwise, you'll have to opt for the premium interior package (which includes a leather-trimmed dash top) to avoid the straight Mustang cabin experience.

If you can ignore the industrial interior trappings, the GT500 does feature comfy seats and a decent amount of cabin space given its sport coupe body. Trunk capacity measures 12.3 cubic feet in the coupe and 9.7 in the convertible.

Driving Impressions

With more power than any of the revered Shelby Mustangs of the 1960s, the 2009 Ford Shelby GT500 offers performance that's nothing short of intoxicating. Just as its specs suggest, the GT500 lunges forward with exotic-car-like verve when you boot the throttle. Gearchanges are positive and crisp, and the overall driving experience can be either civilized or brutal, depending on your mood and how quickly you move your throttle foot.

On most roads, the GT500 is predictable and easy to drive, although aggressive driving through twisty roads will upset the car due to the antiquated non-independent rear suspension. On the convertible, this is exaggerated thanks to the substantially less rigid body structure -- through turns and choppy pavement, the drop top tends to jiggle, shake and shudder like Dennis Franz moonlighting on "Dancing with the Stars." Also, the GT500's nose-heavy weight bias and abundance of rear-routed power contribute to an odd dynamic sensation that can best be described as "pushy loose."

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



2009 shelby cobra

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Ford Shelby GT500 2dr Coupe (5.4L 8cyl S/C 6M)

this car has to be one of the best muscle cars ive ever driven.i gave it a excellant review on milage because what do you execpt from a 540 horsepower king of the road.like, love it wouldnt trade or sell it for any other car on the road.ford,has really done a great job!!!!




Days of old

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Ford Shelby GT500 2dr Coupe (5.4L 8cyl S/C 6M)

What a great car. Fun to drive and lots of power. Bought the 09 instead of the 2010 because I don't like the rearend of the 2010. Looks cheap. I also like the old style interior. I sold a 350Z roadster and bought the Shelby.




Worth every penny

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Ford Shelby GT500 2dr Coupe (5.4L 8cyl S/C 6M)

Crank it up and that sweet V8 sound invites you to reach over and turn the radio off. I was shopping for a '67- '69 restored classic Mustang, but for equal (or less) money I found this Cobra GT500 and have absolutely no regrets. I traded a more expensive personal luxury car for this and have never looked back and do not expect to.




It's 1969 once again!

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Ford Shelby GT500 2dr Coupe (5.4L 8cyl S/C 6M)

My 1st new car was a '69 Mach 1 428 Cobra Jet. My Shelby brings back those memories like it was yesterday. The only difference is this car is faster and corners better. It's even more fun to drive. It's so much easier to get more horsepower out of this supercharged motor than it was in the old days. I had to put a high lift cam, add headers and a 750 Holly carb to run high 12's in the quarter. All I've done to this car is add a Steeda 2.7 pulley, a cold air induction kit and a custom SCT tune. All of a sudden mid 11's. RWH at 548 and torque at 505. I'm told flywheel H.P should be somewhere around 630 and torque 590. These bolt on adds took about 4 hours to do. What a difference!



Talk About The 2009 Shelby GT500

2009 Ford Shelby GT500 Discussions See all Started By

mikeo56
mikeo56
12-13-2012
Shelby GT500 5.8-liter V8 –the world’s highest-horsepower regular production V8 engine – also a winner...


sockpuppet1969
sockpuppet1969
07-21-2011
no chance. He did tell me that he had a 2009 Shelby GT500 convertible on the used car lot with only 1500 miles on it and would I like to drive that - YES! It was white with the old nav (no sync or ...


shelbydude
shelbydude
02-14-2007
As far as allocation goes. Every dealer that enrolled for 2007 and paid the $1500 enrollment fee will get at least ONE Shelby GT500....



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