2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 - A Super Snake Without a Stick

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

The crowd may weep, but the Ford fanboys will still rejoice. The 2020 Ford Mustang GT500 is here. It’s loud, it’s powerful, it looks cool, and it has no clutch pedal.

That’s right. The more than 700 horsepower expected from the 5.2-liter supercharged V-8 will funnel through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission from Tremec. Drivers will take back manual control via paddles.

That doesn’t mean a manual won’t be available later. Not to mention, there’s a lot more to this super-snake story.

That horsepower number above makes it clear that Ford has Hellcats in its sight, along with the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Key performance components include a cross-plane crankshaft, forged connecting rods, 16.5-inch Brembo brakes with six-piston calipers, a carbon-fiber driveshaft, MagneRide suspension dampers, high-performance Michelin tires that Ford says were specifically designed for this ‘Stang, and available Pilot Sport 4S tires. The supercharger is a Roots-type unit. The car rides on 20-inch wheels.

Buyers also get line-lock, launch control, and track apps.

The front end is definitely more assertive than what’s seen on the lower-trim ‘Stangs. Other aero bits include a new front air damn, an adjustable carbon-fiber splitter, a functional slatted hood vent, larger air openings, a different grille, and a front splitter.

If that’s not enough, buyers can tick a box to receive a package containing carbon-fiber wheels, exposed carbon fiber on the rear wing and dash, Recaro leather seats with suede, and rear-seat delete. A high-capacity oil pan and an adjustable exhaust are also part of the Shelby mystique, along with hood pins.

Available drive modes include drag and track, along with weather. Ford also says the chassis is race-tuned, which is not surprising, as this isn’t just intended as a drag-strip missile. It longs to be a true track star.

Ford claims a 0-60 time of mid-three seconds, a quarter-mile run in under 11 seconds, and gear shifts in under 100 milliseconds.

Everyday amenities include a rear-view camera, Sync, in-car wi-fi, and a 12-inch digital instrument cluster.

As TTAC’s resident Mustang fanboy, my initial “hot take” is that the car looks bad-ass up close, but it’s weird to not see a manual-transmission shifter. I get the reasoning — no human can shift as fast at the DCT, and it may be tough to find a manual that can handle the torque this engine is likely to generate. Still, it’s jarring to see a Mustang like this with an automatic-trans shifter that looks yanked from an Explorer.

More importantly, Dodge and Chevrolet will be forced to take notice. Prepare for an onslaught of buff-book comparos. No matter which car wins, the Shelby appears ready for battle.

[Images © 2019 Tim Healey/TTAC]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

More by Tim Healey

Join the conversation
2 of 39 comments
  • Boxerman Boxerman on Jan 15, 2019

    The Gt 500 is what it is. I would like to see some of the tech applied to the Gt350R, Namely some lighter weight and the bent crank.No eps would be great too. Can w eget a sub 3200lbs GT350R with the smooth great sounding burbly bent crank and hydraulic steering to go with its stick? Thats a car that will be revered like the gen 1 nsx.

  • Jdmcomp Jdmcomp on Jan 21, 2019

    Now that this is out of the way, if only FORD would make a real grand touring Mustang, one which handles very well but doesn't rattle the fillings in your teeth and is comfortable for the long haul drives. I am an old car guy, and these are no longer tolerable, which is why I have a Jag, a Merc and a Caddy in the drive. Comfort with excellent handling does not work with rock hard springs and shocks. Quite in side, I like the radio.

  • Slavuta So, Trump was hyperbolic... big deal.
  • Slavuta The question was, "does it make sense for Elon...?" I don't know why people jumped into conclusions in this comment section. My answer is this - if he does it, it makes sense to him. He knows better than any of us here. May be with his donations he can become an ambassador to an important state or secretary of energy, or chief of NASA. This is how America works. Donate $1m - ambassador to Poland, $3m - japan, $5M - Germany, etc. $20,000 could buy you Kenya or something
  • CanadaCraig We should be able to give comments a 'dislike' or 'thumbs down'. We're not 6 years old. I'm sure we cope if someone doesn't 'like' our comment.
  • Dartdude He knows that a Trump economy is a great opportunity to sell more cars (EV,ICE). Compare both terms and Trumps is the winner by a long shot.
  • Michael S6 Somewhat shocking that Tesla has maintained its sky high stock valuation. The faithful continue to have unshakeable faith in Musk. Tesla models are in dire need of redesign to be competitive although the model 3 recently got a refresh. I test drove a model S six months ago and it's was very nice driving car. However, the interior was very underwhelming in quality of materials and design. There is absence of physical controls such as a turning stalk, and the rear seat was uncomfortable. Tesla would have been in much better shape if they redesigned its current models to face the competition, rather than spending so much money creating a Cybertruck.