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When people think of an American muscle car Ford’s offering often comes to mind. After all, the term pony car came as a nickname for the world famous Mustang. The 2012 Ford Shelby GT500 mimics the power and precision of its well known sibling with plenty of high-performance characteristics itself. The Shelby features an abnormally powerful V-8 engine and lots of standard features to make it one of the most sought after muscle cars. The interior lacks the feel of luxury many cars of this class have, but most aren’t going to be concerned about that once they experience the drive. The 2012 Ford Shelby GT500 is another example of why Ford is considered by some to be the final word in this class.

New For 2012

For the 2012 model year not much changes for the Ford Shelby GT500. The only change of note is the addition of Recaro front seats in the new model.

Exterior

Much like the popular Mustang line, the 2012 Shelby GT500 from Ford is a muscle car available as a coupe or convertible. This model rides around on 19-inch alloy wheels. For those not paying attention, the Shelby GT500 could easily be mistaken for its sibling, the Mustang. This car features an incredibly distinctive front end with a wide grille and square headlights. There is no missing the cobra emblem right of center on the grille. The mesh covering on the grille gives the Shelby GT500 a completely modern look as well as adds to the assertive design of the model. The hood is highly stylized and features obvious metal work. The sides and doors show the model’s relationship to the Mustang with scoped in sides and matching rear fenders. While it’s only available in one trim level, the Shelby GT500 provides plenty of classic pony muscle characteristics to make it unforgettable.

Interior & Cargo

Inside the cabin of the 2012 Ford Shelby GT500 the decided resemblance to the Mustang GT is obvious. Like that model, it’s easy to complain that Ford uses far too much hard plastic in the cabin, but there are other good features to detract from that flaw. The front seats are comfortable and easily adjusted. Taller drivers may have some difficulties due the lack of a telescopic steering wheel. There is also no way around the fact that the rear seats offer very little in the way of legroom. Unless the passenger is very short, the scarce space is likely to be problematic.

Cargo space is at a premium in this car as well, especially for the convertible models. The Shelby GT500 coupe offers 13.4 cubic feet when the split folding rear seat is upright. When the seats are folded, the amount of available space grows. For the convertible style the available cargo space is only 9.6 cubic feet. The motors used to take down the top and the storage for the top itself takes up the extra room.

The 2012 Ford Shelby GT500 is equipped with some nice gadgets as well. The multifunction display helps the driver keep track of the various vehicle functions. It is set a little too low in the console for most drivers though. The stereo and climate control features are small, but thankfully the multifunction display is easier to use anyway.

Safety

Naturally safety isn’t the first thought on anyone’s mind when he thinks about driving a Ford Shelby GT500. It is an important element none the less. This coupe comes equipped with anti-lock brakes, stability and traction, as well as airbags. Airbags are located in the front seat side position. Also standard is Ford’s MyKey system. This system functions to put limits on speed and stereo control when the car is started with a specific key. It was designed to help parents protect teen drivers.

Driving Experience

With such a beast of a muscle car, one would assume Ford put an amazing powertrain in this model and one would be right. The 2012 Shelby GT500 is equipped with rear-drive and a 5.4-liter, supercharged, V-8 engine. This powerhouse pairs with a six-speed manual transmission as the only choice. Together the powertrain produces 550 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. The Shelby GT500 is capable of going from zero to 60 mph in an impressive 4.4 seconds. While the fuel economy isn’t great, it could be worse. This model rates fuel usage at 15/23 mpg city/highway.

The base model of the 2012 Ford Shelby GT500 is more than enough car for the demanding driver. There is no doubt that the ride feels stiff, though not unpleasantly so, and the acceleration is fast. Cornering is likely to be an exercise in control and courage however. The Shelby is easily disrupted by careless actions on the part of the driver.

Key Competitors For The 2012 Ford Shelby GT500

  • Chevrolet Camaro
  • Hyundai Genesis Coupe
  • Nissan 370Z
  • Dodge Challenger

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