2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: What's It Like to Live With?

With our seemingly neverending break-in procedure finally over, we've been pounding around Southern California with impunity. If only we had a gas card with reward points.

Ford Shelby GT500 2020
Miles DrivenAverage MPG

Latest Highlights (updated 05/12/20)

  • We've fixed the splitter alignment and are keeping our eye on another possible issue
  • The differences between the Carbon Fiber Pack and our non-CF car are noticeable
  • Gas mileage is still so hilarious it bears mentioning
  • Loud orange cars can't hide anywhere
  • We like the Recaros but wish they breathed a bit better

What We Bought And Why

by Carlos Lago, Manager, Feature Content

Our test vehicle: 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
Base MSRP: $71,395
MSRP as tested: $81,280
What we paid: $81,280

It wasn't long after Ford unveiled the performance figures of the new Shelby GT500 that we started daydreaming of having one in our fleet. Those dreams grew more tantalizing as time passed. And once we had the opportunity to compare it to its main Detroit rivals — the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE and Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye Widebody — we were certain it had to be ours.

So yeah, we bought one.

A Mustang with 760 horsepower and 625 lb-ft of torque now resides in our long-term fleet, and we're still occasionally checking downstairs to make sure it's real. A similar disbelief happens when you get behind the wheel and express wonderment that a Mustang this powerful and this capable can weather the daily commute without complaint. We have big plans over the course of the next year or so with this car, and you'll see our exploits here, on various social media platforms, and at our YouTube channel (YouTube.com/Edmunds). We think you'll enjoy what we have in store.

What Did We Get?
The Shelby GT500 comes with all the hardware you'd expect from a modern sports car: a supercharged 5.2-liter V8 with a quick-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, electronically adjusting MagneRide suspension dampers, a Torsen limited-slip differential, and electronic goodies such as launch control and a line lock for straight-line performance.

How our Ford Mustang Shelby should look was a subject of some debate. When it comes to color, you can go traditional Shelby and get blue paint with white racing stripes, or you can go full gonzo with Grabber Lime and black racing stripes. We decided on the far more subtle Twister Orange ($495) and a black painted roof ($695). The orange and black motif works excellently with the black wheels too.

The Technology package ($3,000) adds an upgraded sound system, blind-spot monitoring, heated mirrors with integrated turn signals and puddle lamps that illuminate a snake logo on the ground. As part of that package, we would also have power-adjustable seats with memory settings, but we don't because we opted for the manually adjusting Recaro bucket-style front seats ($1,595).

Not that the GT500 is short on performance, but it can be further amplified by the Carbon Fiber Track Pack, which we did not order. As cool as carbon-fiber wheels are, we skipped this package for, one, its prohibitive price ($18,500) and, two, our desire to have a more street-oriented car. (The option eliminates the rear seat.) Plus, the optional Handling Pack ($1,500), which we selected, comes with aerodynamic extras that add high-speed stability and visual flair in equal measure. These parts, along with an oil separator, literally come in boxes in the trunk with instructions that expressly forbid their installation for street use.

Lastly, our GT500's poor fuel economy (yes, even for this kind of power) meant a hefty gas-guzzler tax ($2,600). Altogether, that meant an as-tested price of $81,280.

Why Did We Get It?
Why does a dog chase a ball? Why are farts so funny? These are questions with answers that are as unsatisfactory as they are difficult to find. If you need the allure of a 760-hp Mustang explained, this probably isn't the car for you. Don't think about it too much. Enjoy the ride.

Here's what we're looking forward to most during that ride: burnouts, obviously. But there's also the following:

* Seeing just how livable this super 'stang can be in the day-to-day drudgery that is the Los Angeles rush hour commute.

* Drag racing it against, um, everything.

* Finding the extent of the available comfort from the Recaro bucket seats on road trips.

* Testing the limits of our neighbors' tolerance for loud start-ups in the wee hours of the morning.

* Determining just how bad the fuel economy is.

* Discovering how much value it holds after a year or so of ownership.

Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: Real-World Fuel Economy

You expect poor fuel economy when you have 760 horsepower, but the GT500 so far is performing even worse than it's already-bad 14 mpg combined EPA rating. Expect around 200 miles to a tank, which is worse than the range from most electric vehicles.

Average lifetime mpg: 11.7
EPA mpg rating: 14 combined (12 City/18 Highway)
Best fill mpg: 18.8
Best range (miles):: 244.4
Current odometer: 2,842

"There's no way this car doesn't top our list of least-economical long-term cars ever. Even when you baby it, it has a hard time breaking into double-digit MPGs and the GT500 hates to be babied. It wants to shout and growl and light liters of gasoline on fire all the time. It loves to go fast and it only encourages your inner-child to do the same. While driving the GT500 over the weekend, the fuel light came on, warning me I had 50 miles left until it was empty. That was with half of a tank of gas left. Half. Of. A. Tank. At a certain point, it just becomes hilarious." — Travis Langness, reviews editor

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: Maintenance

Not every car is perfect, so in this section you can keep an eye on what we're keeping an eye on. From routine to unscheduled maintenance to recalls, everything that affects out GT500 will not only be examined, but published as well.

Maintenance Summary

Total routine maintenance costs none
Additional maintenance costs none
Warranty repairs none
Non-warranty repairs none
Scheduled dealer visits 1
Unscheduled dealer visits none
Days out of service 1
Breakdowns stranding driver none
Total body repair costs none

Recalls performed on this vehicle

See all recalls on the 2020 Ford Shelby GT500

"Many viewers have pointed out that our front splitter (not the wicker extensions) appears to have been installed incorrectly at the factory or dealer. It's worth getting it to the dealer to be addressed as well as that dangling connector (looks like a temp sensor) that's visible behind the front bumper. " — Carlos Lago, manager, feature content

"Parking in my spot at home, the parking brake on the Mustang suddenly slammed into place, stopping me from backing up all the way. Then, a warning message popped up. It took a few re-start cycles on the Ford to get the warning to go away, but no matter how many times I pressed the parking-brake button, the brake stayed engaged and the car wouldn't move. We'll keep an eye on this going forward but in a long weekend of driving, it only happened to me once." — Travis Langness, reviews editor

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: Performance

We already know the GT500 is fast. Like, fast, fast. But not everybody on our staff is accustomed this kind of performance, so how easy is it to manage the Shelby's tremedous capabilities? Check back with us to see how everyone gets to grips (get it?) with our GT500 as well as updates from the track and/or the drag strip. Hey — we're gonna use it!

Logbook Highlights

"What's it like when you mat the GT500's gas pedal? Well, try this: load yourself up in a giant, 15-foot wide human bungee slingshot; stretch it all the way back; lash a $4,000 Magnolia bookshelf speaker to each side of your head; put a metal trash can over the top half of your body, with just a mailslot-sized cutout so you can see; and have a chimpanzee sit on top of the trash can. Then, all at once, release the slingshot and crank Metallica's "Disposable Heroes" at full volume over the speakers while you fly through the air and have the chimp screech and jump up and down on the trash can.

So, yeah, it's kind of like that. Outrageous? Yep. Silly? Yep. Possibly dangerous? Have you met a chimpanzee who you made stand on top of a trashcan-wearing human while launched through the air by a giant bungee? You know he's gonna be pissed. But above all, it's an utterly memorable experience." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content

"Ride is noticeably firmer than the GT500 CF Track Pack. Those carbon fiber wheels make as much of a difference in handling as they do in ride quality. It's by no means rough, but there is more head toss and the impacts are somewhat sharper." — Carlos Lago, manager, feature content

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: Comfort

It's great going fast but if you're not comfortable while doing so, it stops being fun. How comfortable will our 760 horsepower GT500 actually be on a day to day basis? Adjustable suspension can go a long way, but what about those aggressive Recaro seats? Other factors you're likely to hear about in this section range from road noise to climate control.

Logbook Highlights

"I'm still giddy over the fact that we have a long-term GT500. That said driving this home and back in temperate 70 degree weather, the seats lack breathability. They fit me like a glove and I love the support they offer especially at the lats and thighs, but they are warm even with the AC running. I think they would be downright swampy in hotter climates. I also wish the seats were easier to adjust incrementally. The manual levers don't allow for fine enough control. Would love some electric adjustments even if they added some weight." — Jonathan Elfalan, senior manager, test team

2020 Ford Shelby GT500: Videos

Sometimes the best way to tell a good story is with video.

Carlos introduces our new GT500. Here's the video of the options we picked, the gratifying plastic-removal process, highlights from the owner's manual, and installation of the handling package.