Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 UK assessment – how does Ford’s maddest muscle automotive deal with Blighty?

Let’s discuss context for a swift second, as a result of with regards to vehicles and Britain the notion of a chartreuse Ford Mustang with stripes, a supercharger and 750bhp sitting in a Waitrose automotive park is about as consistent with the norm it could be to discover a panda sitting quietly on a pew in Westminster Abbey. There’s instantly one thing particular a couple of Mustang within the UK, and when it’s a GT500 – the one deemed actually too loud, too soiled and too excessive to be thought of for European homologation by Ford itself – that issue rises tenfold.

Stanced like a ’90s touring automotive, it appears fully totally different to a normal Mustang GT, and whereas they could be a little cumbersome to drive, its bombastic muscle automotive picture nonetheless appeals. But it surely’s at all times been the US-only Shelby fashions, first the (now-discontinued) GT350 and now this GT500, which have been essentially the most intriguing of this Mustang era, and never a lot for his or her final energy however their resolute deal with dynamics and engagement – which we so typically have to remind most huge OEMs are two very various things.

So what’s particular in regards to the newest Shelby GT500? Properly, tons, beginning with the aptly named ‘Predator’ 5.2-litre V8 engine that’s primarily based on the ‘Voodoo’ unit utilized by the GT350, however ditches the flat-plane crank for a extra conventional cross-plane unit principally to deal with the large 2.65-litre Roots-type supercharger that’s inverted on high of it. The Voodoo’s uprated internals have been introduced throughout too, with bigger and stronger solid con rods and high-flow cylinder heads. All these modifications not solely liberate further energy, but in addition 625lb ft of torque.

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Ford made a aware resolution to solely match the GT500 with an automated transmission (contrasting the GT350’s obligatory six-speed guide), however quite than staying in-house with its sticky ten-speed torque converter, Ford Efficiency made the choice to supply a seven-speed dual-clutch from Tremec as an alternative, regardless of the ten-speed technically having the ability to deal with its super torque determine. Drive is then run via a carbonfibre propshaft to the limited-slip differential.

To this point, the modifications appear in-keeping with the muscle automotive norm by including copious quantities of energy and torque. However in contrast to most different muscle vehicles, these technical modifications are solely simply the beginning of Ford’s complete improve bundle, as a result of much more consideration has been paid to the chassis.

To begin, open the bonnet and, sure, you’ll discover an enormous supercharger, but in addition a brand new composite entrance crash construction, behind which sits a wholly bespoke entrance axle and geometry set-up. This substantial change in building has allowed Ford’s engineers to do all types of issues to the GT500’s set-up, together with the becoming of bespoke aluminium wheel hubs, putting in extra unfavorable camber to advertise a much more direct and correct steering rack.

The entrance monitor width is equivalent to that of the GT350, however the 500’s whopping 11-inch-wide entrance wheels on 305-section tyres have required further liberation from the entrance wings, in order that they’re bespoke, too. Sticking with the wheels, they’re additionally now up one other inch in diameter to twenty inches with a purpose to match a colossal set of 420mm metal brake discs with six-piston Brembo calipers up entrance.

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The rear subframe has additionally been fiddled with, that includes stiffer mounting factors and opposingly coiled springs that make both sides of the rear axle symmetrical. There’s additionally stiffer bushes all through the suspension entrance and rear, and the dampers are these wonderful MagneRide items which use metallic filings within the damper fluid which react in milliseconds in alteration of their compression and rebound charges.

But as any yard tuner will know, placing huge {hardware} on a Mustang doesn’t at all times make for an excellent efficiency automotive. However boy have Ford’s engineers labored some magic, as a result of when a 750bhp powertrain doesn’t dominate the expertise, the chassis have to be fairly particular. And it’s.

Sure, the GT500 is brutally fast, and when the ‘Monitor’ exhaust mode is chosen I can’t consider one other highway automotive that’s louder, however the cohesion between its steering, brakes, throttle, transmission and differential feels expertly honed. The steering is the primary huge win over what you’d discover in a standard Mustang, as whereas not stuffed with really feel, it’s extremely direct and reliable. That is particularly spectacular when you think about the 610mm of Pilot Sport 4 S rubber the steering arms have to manage, not forgetting the aggressive unfavorable camber and toe-in Ford’s engineers dialled into the set-up.

But on the transfer it’s this direct interplay with the steering that offers you the arrogance to start out exploring the GT500’s extremely deep field of tips. As speeds rise, so does the steering weight, loading with transparency and relaying exactly how a lot grip the entrance axle may give you. And it’s lots – the entrance finish on this automotive is insane, and it’s extrapolated by the Shelby’s faster steering rack.

Begin to lean on it and also you additionally realise the physique management is excellent, with spectacular lateral stability balanced out by sufficient roll to assist the chassis talk how a lot grip the automotive has left to provide at each ends. Sure, at 1825kg it’s a heavy beast, however with a lot grip, a lot go and a lot stopping energy, it’s completely throughout the realms of controllability. It’s now that your confidence grows and liberties can begin being taken with the powertrain. With a lot grunt you’d think about it inconceivable to drive with actual vigour on brief discover, but all of the chassis components extinguish any apprehension about utilizing all 750bhp – it’s essentially the most unreal feeling. The lengthy throttle pedal, not distinctive to simply this Mustang, is essential right here to assist meter out your energy supply, whereas the differential’s consistency and the rear axle’s excellent resilience to lateral motion offers you unbelievable traction.

It’s now that the GT500 is at its most participating – you start testing it, prodding it, seeing how a lot you will get away with earlier than issues begin to really feel like they’re getting out of hand, and but any time you wish to retreat you realise the colossal brakes and beautifully judged digital stability management methods are there to again you up.

The twin-clutch now comes into its personal, too – it’s responsive, predictable and fully unobstructive with regards to getting energy to the highway. At this level, you end up ripping via the gears in direction of a bend at full tilt, braking more durable, handing over with extra aggression, getting on the facility earlier and earlier, the throttle, transmission and differential meting out bhp to the exact quantity you ask for. That’s simply past that time of adhesion, when the rear axle tells you thru the seat (which remains to be only a tad excessive) that it’s about to provide means and the steering lightens ever simply so to let you understand it’s on its tippy-toes.

Now you do not discover the width, and even the noise. As an alternative you’re completely engrossed in probably the most participating and enthralling experiences within the automotive enterprise, and crucially one which feels fully distinctive to this very particular automotive. The motoring world is filled with fascinating efficiency vehicles, however the very best ones at all times transcend the machine, leaving simply the expertise with you.

It makes use of plenty of gas (like lots), the CO2 score is appalling, it’s unsociably loud in its foolish exhaust mode and the inside’s nonetheless crap, however the place the fun of driving is worried there are few that do it fairly just like the Shelby GT500 Mustang.

Costs and rivals

Did we point out you may’t formally buy a GT500 within the UK? Importers and backstreet distributors might be glad to get one over, nevertheless it’ll be a left-hooker, and possibly within the realms of £135,000 by the point you get it right here, not together with taxes. Within the US, its value is nearer to the price of an M4 Competitors, or about £55,000. It makes for robust studying, doesn’t it?

Because of this, whereas an M4 remains to be dynamically superior, it’s a really totally different automotive. A Dodge Challenger Hellcat would possibly initially enchantment on comparable metrics, nevertheless it’s completely outclassed by the GT500, and Chevrolet’s love-hate relationship with the Camaro has left a super-high-performance variant at a loss for the second, regardless of previous hits with the ZL1.

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