Even if I had $55 grand to spend on a fun car, the Shelby GT500 would be a very bad idea for me, since I'd surely soon be in jail with the car confiscated... It's just so easy to find yourself going WAY faster than the speed limit, sometimes in a haze of tire smoke.
I love the burbly exhaust note on downshifts, although it is a bit too subtle for me and seemingly only available when you downshift aggressively when you're slowing down. There's nothing subtle about the sound of the engine's supercharger, though, as Mike pointed out. I found it a bit off-putting, but I'm sure an owner would get used to it fairly quickly. The 550 hp is very easy to get used to but difficult to use judiciously. The tight-patterned, notchy six-speed manual is a nearly perfect match to the engine-and the entire car as a whole-although I did find its effort to be a bit too stiff for my liking (it also seemed harder than the previous GT500). I love the Alcantara-like steering-wheel grips at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions. Fantastic brakes, too!
The biggest advantage that a Shelby Mustang has over a Roush- or Saleen-modified Mustang is probably its eye-catching-but-still-not-tacky styling. Indeed, several thirty-something guys were extremely impressed by the GT500's aggressive looks. Count me among them.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor