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

It's service time for our Shelby. And through no fault of the car, we get to pay an extra $1,100 dollars!

Ford Shelby GT500 2020
Miles DrivenAverage MPG
11,12612.2

Latest Highlights (updated 05/06/21)

  • Oil changes are expensive.
  • But not as expensive as removing the supercharger to replace a wiring harness.
  • This car gets poor fuel economy. Deal with it.


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: 12.2
EPA mpg rating: 14 combined (12 City/18 Highway)
Best fill mpg: 21.6
Best range (miles):: 314.5
Current odometer: 11,126

"No one should ever expect to get good gas mileage at a track day. But no one should ever worry about running out of fuel in one session, especially when you start that session with a full tank. Our GT500 nearly did exactly that and left us with no more than two gallons in the tank after every 30-minute session. With each session being 30 minutes, we covered roughly 60 miles. That puts our mileage into the mid-4's. That's wild. And expensive! But hey, it's kinda cool to burn through a tank of gas in only 30 minutes." — Kurt Niebuhr, vehicle test editor

"It's just as easy to get record-setting high mpg in this Mustang as it is record-setting low mpg. It took some restraint to 21.6 mpg on the highway in our GT500 last month, but really it was a simple formula: set the cruise control to 70 mph, and don't get goated into racing anyone. The end. But if you take the GT500 on any kind of entertaining road, pin the throttle and listen to the sweet music of 760-horsepower for an hour or two, you'll easily dip into the single-digits of mpg's. A recent trip with the Shelby netted me 7.8 mpg — a record low for our time with the Mustang thus far — and I wasn't being nearly as aggressive as I could've been. A track day would've been much worse. Our previous-worst-mpg long-term vehicle was the 2010 Ford Raptor which averaged 12.7 mpg after a year in our fleet. This GT500 is hot on its heels at 12.4." — Travis Langness, reviews editor

"Chico to Fresno. 50-ish miles of 55 mph speed limit with stop lights, one pull-over to look at a cool junk yard, then 265 miles on 99, stuck between 68 and 72 mph with cruise control, one WOT pass of a semi getting on the freeway and the A/C on the whole time. 14.528 gallons in the tank for a fuel economy of 21.64 mpg. It's hard to be that boring." — Travis Langness, reviews editor

"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 $502.44
Additional maintenance costs $1,084.23
Warranty repairs 1
Non-warranty repairs 1
Scheduled dealer visits 5
Unscheduled dealer visits 1
Days out of service 26
Breakdowns stranding driver none
Total body repair costs none

Recalls performed on this vehicle

See all recalls on the 2020 Ford Shelby GT500

Logbook Highlights

"Oil changes on this thing are expensive; $251.22 to be exact. Hey, when you buy a 760 horsepower Mustang, it's pay to play. But before we managed to schedule an appoinment for an oil change, the check engine light came on. We mentioned it to our service advisor at South Bay Ford, and since our personal code reader couldn't come up with an answer, we waited with baited breath to see what caused the light. The answer was the code P0330 — a knock sensor circuit. What's that mean? Well, the dealer needed time to poke around and see if it was one or more of the Shleby's many knock sensors that had gone on the fritz. Unfortunately, South Bay Ford didn't have the capacity to look into our car for over a month. Yeah, really. But, respect due to our service advisor who put us on a wait-list and stayed in contact to keep us up to date.

But we're not about to let the car sit for possibly a month, so we called around. Caruso Ford in Long Beach had space in their schedule and took us in, took a closer look and informed us that after a quick visual inspection they were able to see rodent damage to one of the knock sensors. Think that's bad news? Well, in order to find out just how bad the damage was the tech would have to pull the supercharger and spend $835 dollars of his time to get to the bottom of it. In the end, our little furry friends had also taken out part of the knock sensor wiring harness so that hads to be replaced as well. We'd love to say that part wasn't backordewred, but it was. So our Shelby sat for about two weeks waiting on the part. Just like our service advisor at South Bay Ford, our guy at Caurso Ford stayed in touch and kept us up to date on our car's (lack of) progress. $1,084.23 later, we had our Monster Mustang back. Of course it goes without saying, this was not warranty work. Ugh. What's the lesson? Don't let someone on staff drive your car who lives near a nature preserve and is going to park it outside for a month." — Kurt Niebuhr, vehicle test editor

"As luck would have it, not much long after our GT500 crossed 10k miles, the check engine light lit up. Well, it was due for an oil change anyway." — Kurt Niebuhr, vehicle test editor

"Hoo boy. To start things off, the splitter on our GT500 is not a factory installed part - it's a dealer installed piece. That means there's a guy at the dealer whose responsibility it is to install the splitters on new GT500's. And the person who installed ours did it incorrectly. So badly it's like they'd never done it before. We'd been aware of the problem for a while, but as anyone knows, taking a day off to go and sit at a dealership isn't exactly going to be at the top of your list of things to do. But once I found the time, I made a trip back to Galpin Ford and left wishing I'd bribed one of my coworkers to do it instead.

Our service advisor was friendly but had difficulty grasping the idea that the part was incorrectly installed - by them - and instead offered the faintly ridiculous opinion that the splitter was merely missing a trim piece. It wasn't until we persuaded him to bring out a service tech to prove us wrong, that he was, in fact, proved wrong. After the tech left, he went about inspecting the splitter and became fixated with scuff marks (like the kind you get from steep driveways) on the underside of the splitter. He claimed that these damaged the splitter and would likely void the warranty and stated we'd likely have to pay for a new splitter. He said he'd petition Ford to see what they said, even as I reiterated that I only wanted the splitter installed correctly and not replaced, and promptly wrote up the Prior Approval Request you see below. In it, you can see his language which completely torpedoed our request to simply fix the mounting of the front splitter by insinuating that scratches on the bottom of the splitter means the dealer can't be held responsible for incorrect installation. You've got to be kidding me. And all that took was just three hours of my day. Thanks for nothing.

What happened next would likely not be available to any regular owner, and we want to make this clear - we are fortunate. We called various contacts at Ford and made our case. They agreed to have some of their techs (people who prep the various cars and trucks in their press fleet) look at the car and give us an assessment. They concurred that the splitter was installed incorrectly but were also shocked at just how poorly it was done. The wrong screws were used and various clips and tabs were missing. Now Ford was nearly as frustrated as we were since this shoddy level of workmanship makes them look bad when it's the dealer who should be held responsible. The engineering manager gave me his card and told me to have the dealer's service manager call him. He'd sort this out. Back to the dealer then.

I asked for the service manager as soon as I arrived back at Galpin Ford and I knew I'd have to wait. After 30 minutes, he came out and I explained the situation and said I had someone from Ford who would be happy to explain how to rectify the problem. I used to work in the service department at a dealer, so I tried to get him to understand that, while this was a hassle, this wasn't HIS hassle. All he had to do was get the car to the right tech and I'd be out of his hair. He inspected the car and said... "I can see where it's missing a trim piece." I said something to the effect of ""It sure looks that way, now let's go talk to Ford and they'll explain it."" Thirty minutes later, the service manager had ordered the 'the only GT500 splitter not currently bolted to a car' and that we could expect it to arrive in a few days. He'd call.About a week later, he called and informed me that our part had arrived. I went back to Galpin Ford where I had another service advisor (the original one wouldn't even acknowledge me) and I dropped it off expecting it to be out of service for two to three days. Twelve days later, we had our GT500 back with a properly installed front splitter. I'm never going back." — Kurt Niebuhr, vehicle test editor

"After 5,000 miles, Ford recommends an oil change. And since we like to follow the rules, we took our GT500 in to South Bay Ford for just that — nothing more, nothing less. We dropped in just before noon for their 45-minute oil chnage and left in... 45 minutes. We also left $251.22 poorer, thanks to a $46 oil filter and ten quarts of oil that cost $14.36 each. Ouch." — Kurt Niebuhr, vehicle test editor

"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

"I like the shift programming of the GT500's seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Specifically, I dig the rapid automatic downshifting when you quickly get on the brakes. Let's say you're cruising around town and the car in front of you suddenly slows down. If you dab the brakes on the GT500 it will quickly downshift out of whatever cruising gear it was in (6th or 7th, presumably) down to like 3rd or 4th to get you primed for acceleration in case you need it. It's nicely done." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content

"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


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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

"So, our GT500's Recaro driver's seat — how comfortable is it? I do think that it is, for the most part, comfortable. At least it's comfortable for me. But I'm pretty skinny. I could see that people with a wider body type would find the seat confining. (See my coworker Travis Langness' comments about it in article's Road Trip section.) I've done a few stints in our GT500 now that ended up being about 4-5 hours long each. Each time I was pretty comfy for the first few hours but got antsy near the end. I think that's where the seats' lack of adjustability came into play.

I suspect that the GT500's available power-adjustable front seats would be more comfortable for long-distance driving. But this isn't a car you buy for coast-to-coast drives (or, at least you shouldn't get it to do that...). For daily driver and track-day purposes, the Recaros seem about right." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content

"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 Mustang Shelby GT500: Interior

This is where you spend the majority of your time with the GT500, unless you're one of those owners that would rather detail it than drive it. We're not, so in this section you can read our musings on the interior of our Twister Orange snake.

Logbook Highlights

"We take turns driving our long-term test cars and in late November 2020 I rotated into our GT500. One of the first things I noticed was how unpleasant the steering wheel felt in my hands. It's an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel (i.e., simulated suede), which should feel grippy and fuzzy. Instead, it felt slick and hard, like a cheapo urethane steering wheel.

Based on some internet research, I learned that Alcantara gets this way unless you regularly clean it. My guess is that none of my coworkers had bothered to clean the GT500's steering wheel since we got the car, which was back in early February. That's 10 month's worth of clammy sweat, body oil and cooties absorbed into the Alcantara. Eww.

More internet searching quickly revealed that this is, in automotive parlance, a "known issue" with Alcantara-wrapped wheels. Some owners complain that it's a pain to always be cleaning the steering wheel, while some others say it's not a big deal. I decided to take it upon myself to clean our GT500's wheel to see how much of an issue it was.

I reviewed a few suggested methods of cleaning. Some were more involved than others. Some also recommended buying a special cleaner. In the end I decided to use a damp terry cloth towel with just a tiny bit of laundry detergent rubbed into it. I then rubbed the towel on the Alcantara and could see that it was picking up dirt and grime. I then rotated the towel to clean more and then, as the final touch, used a soft brush to "rough up" the Alcantara a bit. And hey, it worked! Our steering wheel feels like Alcantara again. Overall, it took a lot longer to research how to do it then to actually do it. If this were my GT500, I'd just build the wheel cleaning regimen into my normal cleaning routine." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content

"I could argue that one of the GT500's biggest disappointments is its interior. Outside, yes, this thing is bonkers. Giant brakes, "look at me!" orange paint, enough aero for a Formula One car, etc. But once you're inside it's all quite pedestrian. Other than the Recaro seats and Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, it's pretty much the same interior as a $30,000 Mustang's you rented at the Honolulu airport. The design is pretty drab and uninteresting.

Now, as a counter argument, I'll repurpose a quote from a former coworker of mine who was talking about the C6 Corvette years ago: "Do you want to go fast or fondle the interior panels?" With this much power, why should you care about the GT500's interior?

Normally, I'd side with my counter argument. But with the newest C8 Corvette, Chevy has shown how you can have high performance *and* an upscale interior. Ford clearly put all of its developmental money towards the GT500's mechanical bits." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content


2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: Utility

Hey, this is real life. Our 2020 GT500 has to haul more than just...well, be fast.

Logbook Highlights

"With 13.5 cu-ft of cargo capacity and a fairly wide trunk opening, the GT500 is just as practical as any other Mustang. So you can go grocery shopping it in, right? Well, yeah, but unless you're filling up the entire trunk with bags, most of your food is going to make a break for it before you get home. There's just no place to secure multiple bags - unless of course you lift up the trunk floor. Where you'd usually find a spare tire, there's an air pump for fixing a flat tire and a styrofoam housing that doubles as a grocery bag holder! I've put more than just two bags in here, but this photo illustrates what a perfect size these spaces are for paper bags. You're welcome." — Kurt Niebuhr, vehicle test editor


2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: Road Trips

With a car as special as the GT500, road trips are a must. Going far from home is almost a necessity when you buy such a shouty, bright-orange, 760-horsepower tribute to the American spirit. So, in this section, we'll highlight special road trips that we've taken in the GT500 and how they've shaped our perception of this epic muscle car.

Logbook Highlights

"I drove up the coast, through the Northern-California forests and back home again on major interstates. After five days on the road, I put 1,300 miles on the odometer of the GT500. I averaged 15.4 miles per gallon (best mpg: 22.1, worst mpg: 9.7) with an average of 148 miles between fill-ups. I brought a five-gallon fuel canister for emergencies, but luckily, I never had to use it.

My online purchase of a lumbar support pillow was crucial in helping me deal with the too-skinny-for-my-frame seats (hey Ford, maybe add that to the options sheet?), and a power inverter that provided the juice for my heating pad was a must-have. The top-dog muscle car in Ford's lineup is uncomfortable, but not unbearable with a few easy mods.

I wouldn't say this Shelby GT500 is an ideal road-trip companion — but it's an experience I would happily have again. The trade-offs of too-loud tires and a poor sound system were far outweighed by the joy of having 760 horses at the disposal of my right foot. It's almost too much fun. Almost. And it doesn't hurt that the bright-orange Shelby looks so damn good in photos." — Travis Langness, reviews editor

"After I spent a few days running around in northern California, it was time for me to take the Shelby home. In town, it was as comfortable and user-friendly as any rental-Mustang in the Hawaiian fleet, but near the trailhead it was a bit of a parking nightmare. Few dirt lots are designed for something this low and I don't plan on attending any future trail races with the GT500 as my ride. On the open highway though, I wanted to see how far I could take the GT500 on a single tank of gas. So, I filled it up with premium in northern California, and headed south.

If you're heading south from Chico, CA to Los Angeles, there's about 50 miles of not-quite-highway first, with stop-lights and strip malls along the way. Then, you hit highway 99 and it's all 70 miles per hour from there. I stuck to the speed limit the entire time - setting the cruise control to 70 and sticking to the slow lane.

After 245 miles, I beat our previous-best of 244.4 miles on one tank. I still had about 1/4 of a tank showing, so I kept on driving. 50 miles later, near Fresno, the low-fuel light was hounding me, so I pulled into the next gas station. By the time I the pump, the Mustang's trip meter read 314.5 miles (an indicated 22.4 mpg) with 27 miles of range left. It took 14.528 gallons of 91-octane, which worked out to 21.6 mpg. Nearly 22 mpg in a 760-horsepower muscle car; not bad when you consider the EPA's highway rating is just 18 mpg.

Our previous best was 18.8 mpg, with a three-month average of 12.1 miles per gallon. This tank (and the rest of my road trip) brought us up to an average of 12.7 mpg." — Travis Langness, reviews editor

"The second day of my road trip, I didn't have very far to go. Just across the Northern California bay area, a quick stop for gas, and on to my second destination: lodging near my ultramarathon. There wasn't a lot of new information to learn on this short stretch of road so I reflected on what I'd learned in the GT500 on the first day of the trip.

1. It drinks gas at a hilarious rate. This thing has a real chance of becoming the least fuel-efficient-car we've ever had in our long-term fleet. (More on that soon.)
2. The trunk is pretty spacious. Even with my biggest suitcase, there was still space for some additional bags.
3. Don't bother parking in areas with curb protector thingys — the front is too low. Or park backwards. Or be comfortable sticking way far out.
4. I'm glad I brought my back pillow — I'd be in pain otherwise.
5. Instead of horse lasers, this thing has Cobra lasers! The Cobra-emblem puddle lamps (instead of the stock Mustang logo) are a nice touch.
6. The seats are already starting to fray.
7. This car gets tons of attention and tons of respect. I've never had more people wave me by, wave at me, and give me the thumbs up as I pass. I've driven flashy supercars before and they just seem to get attention — sometimes even judgmental looks. The GT500 is a hyped-up version of one of America's most popular cars — so it seems more attainable, and therefore, more lovable. Even if it is shattering windows and eardrums everywhere it goes, people seem to enjoy seeing it out and about." — Travis Langness, reviews editor

"The first section of my road trip spanned the southern half of the California coast. From Los Angeles, followed PCH north, winding up in beautiful towns like Santa Barbara and Big Sur. I've taken this route before and I know just how much wide-open space it offers. Lots of curvy coastal-mountain roads, and lots of enjoyable scenery to soak up. It's significantly longer than just taking Interstate 5, but it's well worth the extra time.

I was a bit worried about the big, brawny Mustang feeling too large for some of the tight turns, but it just didn't. Sure, it's not as agile in tight spaces as something like a Miata, but it makes up for it with hilarious straight-line speed and earth-shattering supercharged-V8 noises.

On some of the broken bits of highway along Pacific Coast Highway and the 101, the GT500's tires, however, were nearly unbearable. They were so loud, that even the stereo cranked to maximum volume couldn't drown them out. Next time, I'll bring earplugs." — Travis Langness, reviews editor

"The GT500 is insanely fun. Bury your foot in the loud pedal and it'll wake the dead. The looks are bold and brash. It recently won our three-wide muscle-car comparison test with the best acceleration, grip and handling. But is it the right car for a 1,000-mile road trip? It's time for me to find out.

I've got a road trip planned, from Los Angeles to Northern California, where I plan on running a trail ultramarathon (50k or 31.6 miles). Then, after copious amounts of pizza, craft beer, ice cream, and a good night's sleep, I plan on turning around and coming home. Round trip, that's more than 1,000 miles.

Can it keep me comfortable after such a silly self-inflicted sufferfest? Will the bucket seats destroy my back? What about the stiff suspension? Will I run out of gas somewhere in the middle of nowhere thanks to the GT500's hilariously small range? There's all sorts of reasons to leave the hardcore GT500 at home and opt for a quiet, easy-going crossover — but where's the fun in that?" — Travis Langness, reviews editor


2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: Miscellaneous

This section is a bit of a catch-all, dealing with the odds and ends of owning a car as unique as the GT500.

Logbook Highlights

"You can't own a car like the GT500 without taking it to a track to do some laps. Not just because it's really the only place where you can really experience the full power of the Shelby, but if you don't take it to a track, you've missed the point of the car and should have just bought a poster of a GT500 for your gaarge wall. So, what did we learn?

Well, it's stupid fast. Duh. But it's also very friendly, even when you're near or on the limit of the tires. You can tell that a LOT of development work went into the GT500 by how easily it transitions from being a highway cruiser to track car and back again. The trunk even had enough space to hold our track tote, a cooler, jack, jackstands, two chairs and assorted tools. Special mention needs to go to the transmission calibration as well. In every session I simply put the car in Track mode and let it handle the shifting. It was always in the right gear and downshifts never upset the car, even under heavy braking. It's on my short list of the best transmissions on sale today.

Our track day was held at Willow Springs, on their big track. With only 9 turns in 2.5 miles, this is an 'old-school' track that puts speed above corner count. And after hitting an indicated 149 mph on the front straight, we'll vouch for Willow Springs' claim of being ""The Fastest Road In The West"". And with three corners being medium to high-speed right hand sweepers, it's also notoriously hard on the left fron tire. We did this track day (one of many, hopefully) using the stock alignment specifications and with the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires that came on our car. We're fully aware of the track alignment settings but we wanted to run one track day 'bone stock' and another with the track alignment settings, not only to feel the difference but to see the difference in tire wear. Track days for science!

As expected, the left front tire did take a bit of a beating, but still delivered exceptional speed and stability throughout the day. As you can see in the photos, the rear tires fared just fine; another testament to the GT500's well calibrated traction and stability systems. The brakes held up too, and suffered absolutely no fade, even with the extended 30 minute sessions on track.

What did suffer during those thirty minute sessions was the fuel economy. Obviously, you expect to get poor mileage when going flat out around a race track, but you don't expect to nearly run out of gas in thirty minutes! Every session we did saw us getting the checkered flag after having the low fuel light on for the last three laps. That's a tank of gas per session! It doesn't help that our GT500 looked to be puking gas out of the filler. Yes, I cleaned that up with soap and water. If you ever do a track day in a GT500, make sure there's a gas station nearby. Or, you could be like us and spring for the 100 octane at the track. Hey, it was 90 degrees! It was also $10 a gallon. Oof. Pay to play, right?" — Kurt Niebuhr, vehicle test editor

"Part of conforming to car related laws in California means having to run a front license plate. There are two problems with this; the first one being most vehicles aren't really designed/styled with a giant license plate in mind and the second one is you rarely get to mount that plate yourself - it's usualy done for you, and quite badly - by an underpaid dealer employee. On that second point, lucky for us, Galpin Ford did nothing of the sort and left it to us to mount the plate ourselves.

We decided to look for a non-bumper damaging way to affix the front plate and, thanks to a GT500 owners forum, we came across this solution from Grimmspeed. Originally created for the 2016 Ford Focus RS, this front plate mount utilizes the threaded tow hook receiver on the right side of the front bumper. We liked the quality of the hardware and the adjustability of the kit. $79.00 later, plus tax, and we had one on our doorstep.

We'll save you the super specifics of the kit and the process itself (be sure to check the photo carousel for a photo how-to) but the installation took about 20 minutes, including the time to grab photos. Incidentally, instructions on how to remove the front tow hook are located in the GT500 owners manual supplement. We also scraped off the dealer's lot number sticker from the windshield. Very satisfying.

After all was said and done, we were very pleased with the mounting as it blocks no air intake, obscures no light and still manages to look like a fairly stock mounting location. In a perfect world, we'd order another plastic tow hook cover, cut out and seal a hole for the mounting bolt and reassmble everything. And yes, we cleaned off the bugs before mounting the plate." — Kurt Niebuhr, vehicle test editor


2020 Ford Shelby GT500: Videos

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

Another week, another drag race with our long-term 2020 Tesla Model Y Performance. Over the past few months, you've seen the Model Y drag racing the BMW X3, Porsche Taycan, Chevy Corvette and Jeep Trackhawk. This time out, we've brought along another car from our long-term fleet, the 2020 Ford Shelby GT500.

In this drag racing video, we took a 2020 BMW M8 Competition and put it up against our very own 2020 Ford Shelby GT500 in a battle of high-performance sport coupes. Which car had the better 0-60 time? The 600-hp M8 or the 760-hp Shelby GT500? How much of an advantage does all-wheel drive give the BMW? Is the extra $100,000 worth the difference in speed? Alistair Weaver and Carlos Lago answer these questions, as well as cover price and specs in this high-powered, high-performance sport coupe drag race.

We went into this thinking the GT500 would dominate and the 911 would come in dead last. Boy, did we have some surprises waiting for us!

You can almost pity the person who has around $100,000 to spend on a new sports car. The options have never been as good or as diverse. Consider these three: the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and the 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera. That's right, we're tackling the C8 vs. GT500 and Corvette vs. 911 in one go.

In this update, Carlos Lago explains what it's been like living with the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 so far. This video covers installing the front license plate, an update on fuel economy, and performance testing to see the difference between our GT500 and an earlier one we tested that had the optional — and pricey — Carbon Fiber Track Pack.

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.