2009 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
- Used Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
2009 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Review
Providing up to 540 ponies, the Mustang Shelby GT is a classic powerhouse. However, unpolished handling hinders its ability to compete anywhere but the drag strip.
The Mustang Shelby GT is a performance-tuned variant of the Ford Mustang. It is designed in partnership with world-renown automobile racer and designer Carroll Shelby who, by modifying a regular Ford Mustang, created the first Shelby GT in 1965.
The Shelby GT features unique badging and receives extensive performance upgrades, but is otherwise similar to the retro-styled Ford Mustang. As such, it performs remarkably well, but maintains the same drawbacks as the base-trim -- most notably low-grade interior materials and an uncomfortable backseat. Altogether, however, reviewers find that the '09 Mustang Shelby GT is a great American performance vehicle.
Like the base model, the Shelby GT carries on into the 2009 model year unchanged. It is available in two trims: GT500 and GT500KR (King of the Road edition). The GT500 is offered in two body styles: coupe and convertible. However, the GT00KR is only available as a coupe.
- "An awesome modern reincarnation of the famous Shelbys of the 1960s, the latest collaboration between Ford Motor Co. and famed racer Carroll Shelby draws the best from two worlds: Sophisticated, modern race engine technology from Ford and authentic muscle car handling and personality from the charismatic Shelby" -- MSN
- "There are plenty of things to like about the GT500: the supercharged V-8, room for four, and a power convertible top that lets the sun in with the press of a button. This ragtop has the classic American good looks and the performance to back up its styling, although it is a bit crude." -- Car and Driver
- "The 2009 Ford Shelby GT500 is a true embodiment of its illustrious forbear, with retro styling and an even more retro overall character. Like those muscle cars of yore, this car is all about laying as much power to the pavement as possible, with going around corners a secondary concern." -- Edmunds
- "In short, it was the kind of car that we simply could not wait to take out for one more drive, just one more, please!" -- MarketWatch
The Bottom Line
The Shelby GT500 costs roughly $15,000 more than the V6 Mustang GT. For that price, drivers receive significantly more power and better handling dynamics -- though it's important to note that the Shelby is no agile sports car. In fact, it's better suited for straight runs than twists and turns. Shoppers willing to dish out nearly $44K for this street machine are likely to do so for no other reason than the nostalgia of owning a Shelby badged pony. If that's what matters most to you, the GT500 may well be worth it.
Nearly double the price of the GT500, it's hard to justify the purchase of a GT500KR. While it's a better performer, it only has 40 more horses than the GT500 and still runs better on the drag strip than on the back roads. Unless you've got something to prove, you're better off spending that $80K on a more capable sports car.
In any case, the Mustang Shelby GT is the most powerful American muscle car available today.
Though similar in appearance, the Mustang Shelby is an entirely different machine than the 210-horsepower base Mustang, and even the 300-horsepower GT. Powered by a 5.4-liter supercharged V8 engine, the Shelby GT500 produces 500-horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 480 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. The Shelby GT500KR is even more powerful -- generating 540-horses and 510 pound-feet of torque at the same level of rpm. Mated to a six-speed manual transmission, the EPA estimates that the Shelby nets a city/highway fuel economy of 14/20 mpg.
Not surprisingly, test drivers are ecstatic about the level of brute force pumping through this pony's heart. Edmunds reports that the 2009 Shelby GT500 blasts from 0 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds and runs the quarter-mile in 12.8 seconds. Sheer power, however, doesn't always equate with agile sports handling. In fact, most critics find that the Shelby GT handles more like a tank than a Miata on winding roads. What's more, the convertible GT500 suffers a great deal of cowl shake.
Upgraded handling components for the rear-wheel drive Mustang Shelby GT500 include a SVT performance-tuned suspension system comprised of MacPherson struts with reverse L lower control arms and stabilizer bar in the front; and constant-rate coil springs, three-link design with Panhard rod, and a stabilizer bar in the rear. The powerful Shelby is brought to a halt by a four-channel Anti-lock Brake System with Traction control -- including Brembo front rotors and calipers.
Upping the ante, the Shelby GT500KR adds racing-tuned suspension and traction control settings, as well as a Ford Racing Performance Exhaust System. Critics, on balance, agree that the GT500KR is an all-around better performer.
- "The Shelby can feel a bit disconnected when it traverses mid-corner bumps, but that's forgotten when you point it straight and jump on the gas. Cowl shake shows Mustang roots." -- Car and Driver
- "I expected the car to be a handful in the curves, though, just because of its brutish looks and because its historical predecessors of the '60s weren't exactly buttoned-down machines. But this Shelby car is surprisingly controlled in many of its motions. I went through slaloms at good speed without feeling abrupt or unsettling weight shifts, and the power rack-and-pinion steering was dead on." -- MSN
- "Unfortunately, also like those muscle cars of yore, the 2009 Shelby GT500 isn't that keen on going around corners. Ford did wonders with the antiquated solid-axle rear suspension in the Mustang GT, but 300 hp is a heck of a difference from 500 hp. Factor in the extra weight up front added by the GT500's motor, and the result is a chassis not entirely suited for carving up a twisty road. The heavy front end and tire-smoking rear-wheel drive produce odd driving dynamics, with understeer correction often resulting in wicked oversteer. The less rigid convertible in particular is a mess of body quivers and odd responses." -- Edmunds
- "Where the GT500 feels slow and heavy mid-corner, the KR dares the driver to go faster. ... On the track, the KR rewards cornering with a nice smooth steering input while gently trail-braking, then rolling back into the throttle. Not expecting the KR to have so much grip, I found myself having to get on the throttle early. A flying lap in the KR isn't slow in the corners and fast on the straights, it's fast everywhere." -- Road and Track