Shelby GT500 Review
Reviewed by Automotive on
If anyone thought the 2012 Ford Shelby GT500 was a bit of overkill, he obviously didn’t work for Ford. For the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500, Ford decided the previous supercharged engine wasn’t enough, and increased the displacement as well as the power. This has allowed Ford to retake the lead in the new American Pony Car race, pulling ahead of the muscular offerings from Chevrolet and Dodge that had briefly threatened the GT500. This is not a gentle vehicle, nor does it offer luxury performance. It is Ford going back to the early days of the Mustang, strapping a giant engine into a bare-bones vehicle and letting it rip.
New For 2013
Styling updates for 2013 include new front and rear fasciae, an enhanced grille, standard HID headlights, and LED taillights. The 5.0-liter V-8 in the GT has been bumped up to 420 hp, and a new GT Track Package becomes available. The six-speed automatic can now be shifted manually. The available Track Apps allows the driver to monitor performance measures such as 0-to-60-mph acceleration, braking, and g-force.
The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 sells as either a coupe or a convertible, but anyone who wants to take full advantage of the performance capabilities of the vehicle will avoid the soft top. The GT500 represents a handsome, muscular vehicle, especially from the front end, with the small headlights bordering the massive grille and lower air inlet. The hood scoop peaks out above these, giving it a layered look. The splitter is not particularly visible from the front, but juts out in profile. In profile, the GT500 can also be seen to have a forward-leaning, aggressive stance, as with the base Mustang. In the rear, the GT500 has a gloss black panel between the tail lamps, a spoiler on the deck lid, Shelby badging, and a diffuser surrounding a new quad-tip exhaust assembly. The rocker panels on the sides of the GT500 are now the same color as the body, giving it a higher-end look. The whole vehicle gets special 20th Anniversary badges celebrating 20 years of SVT. The GT500 gets 19-inch wheels in the front and 20-inch wheels in the back, both clad in high-performance tires.
Interior & Cargo
The interior of the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 looks a bit disappointing, as it is really no different than a well-optioned base Mustang, and it suffers from some of the same quality issues. The GT500 gets some suede trim and different badging from the stock Mustang, but the same cheap plastics and hard-to-read gauges carry over. Head and legroom is good in the front seats, but the rear seat seems inadequate for an adult, and tight even for children. The trunk holds 13.4 cubic feet of cargo, but this can disappear quickly, as the convertible top drops it down to 9.6 cubic feet and the addition of an optional subwoofer can knock another two or three cubic feet off of that. The control layout also looks pretty awful, as the center stack and controls fall years behind. It stays fairly quiet in the cabin at low speeds, and visibility looks good—better than the rest of the new generation of American muscle cars.
The amenities inside of the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 aren’t the greatest either. The driver’s seat offers six-way power adjustment, while featuring leather upholstery. The front seats offer heating or can be replaced with Recaro racing seats, especially useful for those intending to put the GT500 on the track. All accessories are powered; cruise control and air-conditioning come standard; and a navigation system is available through subscription service. An eight-speaker stereo system offers a high-end subwoofer and includes USB and iPod connection.
The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 gets the basic standard safety features, but not much more. A traction control system, stability control system, and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution come standard on the GT500, as they do on every car coming off of the assembly lines. Front and front-seat side airbags also come standard.
The major draw of the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 is the pure power underneath the hood. Not content with the capable engine in the 2012 model, and with pressure from Chevrolet and the Camaro ZL1 that puts out 580 horsepower, the engineers increase the displacement of the supercharged, V-8 engine, up to a 5.8-liter engine, creating the most powerful production engine in an American vehicle. The new GT500 puts out an incredible 662 horsepower, blowing the ZL1 away, and it also supplies 600 lb-ft of torque. This all flows through a six-speed manual to provide incredible acceleration, getting up to 60 mph from a standstill in only 3.5 seconds, and makes it to the quarter-mile mark in 11.6 seconds. In addition, the top speed of the GT500 reaches 202 mph, putting it in a very exclusive club of mass production vehicles capable of going over 200 mph. Such power needs to be controlled, or a vehicle would have some issues getting off the line, and Ford addresses this through adding a launch control system similar to the one in the Boss 302, but with additional controls to manage torque output.
All of this power is not worth that much if the car can’t navigate through turns. While the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 will not be confused with the likes of the Porsche 911 or the Ariel Atom, it handles fairly well. The standard suspension is decent, fairly stiff, and sporty without creating a terrible ride. An adjustable damper system is available as part of the SVT Performance Package and worth the money, as it allows for the transition to sport mode. The ride feels generally stiff, and sport mode makes it even more so, but it allows for much better cornering. The brakes are huge and very capable, although the brake pedal itself has a very mushy feel that can be disconcerting at higher speeds.
Key Competitors For The 2013 Ford Shelby-GT500
- Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
- Dodge Challenger SRT8
- Nissan GT-R
Expand full summary
2013 Shelby GT500 Base Coupe Vehicle Overview
Engine: 5.8L V 8 DOHC with Ti-VCT variable valve timing
Premium unleaded fuel
Fuel economy: Gasoline 15 MPG city, 24 MPG highway, 18 MPG combined and 288 mi. range
Multi-point fuel injection
16.0gallon fuel tank
Power (SAE): 662 hp @ 6,500 rpm; 631 ft lb of torque @ 4,000 rpm
Select Ford Shelby GT500 Trim