As Phil noted, a base Corvette makes much more sense at this price range, but I found myself thinking more about the Roush Mustang 427R we drove a few weeks ago. Most of us, myself included, wrote that a Shelby GT500 was a much better buy for its extra horsepower and dashing looks. Now, I'm not so sure. Not once during my time with the Shelby did I think, "Man, I'm glad I have 540 hp instead of 435 hp." In fact, both of those outputs ridiculously exceed the capabilities of the Mustang's chassis. It's kind of like worrying whether you'll get hit with a category four or five hurricane -- either way, your town will be devastated.
I did think about the Roush's barely legal exhaust note and rock-crushing shifter. The Shelby, in comparison, sounds and feels a bit ordinary.
Happily, there's an easy solution: Skip the optional HID headlamps and navigation system, and use that money for the Roush exhaust and shift kit. That would be the baddest Shelby on the block.
This Shelby is the fourth Mustang we've had in the office in as many months (in addition to the Roush, we've had the pleasure of driving two GTs and a convertible). That familiarity is starting to breed some contempt for the Mustang's interior ergonomics. In particular, I find I can never get my seatback adjusted properly and often bang my right knee under the dash as I lift off the brake pedal. I've also noticed that when I plug my cell phone into the 12-volt outlet between the center air conditioning vents, the power cord winds up tangled on the shifter. On the bright side, I've come to appreciate the Mustang's basic talents, namely its sharp steering and grumbly exhaust (they all sound terrific) - even more for having experienced them on a regular basis.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor