Autoblog - 2010 Ford Mustang GT500

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    by Jonathon Ramsey on Apr 6th 2009 at 11:57AM

    The four pillars of Ford's SVT division are Performance, Exclusivity, Substance and Volume. No one is expecting the 2010 Shelby GT500 to have any problem with the last three – it's the first one that means everything. Ford told us the five tenets of the new car all start with the word "better" and end with horsepower, torque, handling, interior and fuel economy. Sent to Northern California for two days to drive it, we had only one question – whether all of those other "betters" truly equated to substantially improved performance than the previous car. The first day covered miles and miles of oceanside and backcountry roads. The second day covered figure-eights, the drag strip and the road course at Petaluma's Infineon Raceway. Follow the jump to see how the latest fanged horse does its thing.

    Skipping ahead a bit, we were told that the point of the GT500 is to be a great GT. When SVT began working on the car, they took the previous GT500 as one of their obvious standards. They were also thinking about the muscle car competition that they expected – 2.5 years ago Ford planned on a factory-built 500+ horsepower supercharged Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger as competition. So Ford went the extra quarter-mile on its car, figuring the others would have the 2010 GT500 as their benchmark.

    The polestar of the GT500 is the supercharged and intercooled 5.4-liter V8. This eight-chambered heart with dual overhead cams puts out 540 hp (at 6,200 rpm) and 510 ft-lb (at 4,500 rpm) with a 6,250 rpm redline. That gives it 40 more Shetlands and 30 additional foot-pounds than the previous model, with the additional torque delivery coming in at 3,000 rpm. No delay is always a good thing.

    The engine was then tweaked using another benchmark: the 40th anniversary Shelby GT500KR. The GT500 gets the KR's cold-air induction system with an open-air conical filter element and snorkel lying on the right side of the engine bay (that's why the Cobra badge had to move to the left side of the grille). The open-air system increases airflow, and a sealed enclosure keeps the air going where it should. The package also benefits from revised calibration with a dual-knock sensor, revised throttle and an intake resonator to reduce noise.

    Yet what good would all that function do without the proper form? How do we christen thee "Badass"? Let us count the ways.

    The KR was also the inspiration for the aero modifications to the GT500, all designed to look good as well as add downforce and subtract drag. Up front, the arctic crevasses posing as air intakes were referred to as "shark nose" by Ford – we'd go with "exceptionally evil catfish."

    At the top of that bisected mouth, air is routed to the radiator, which is sealed to keep said turbulence flowing to the right places. The lower grille guides wind to the intercooler, which is sealed for the same reason. And those filled-in diamonds in the grilles? Also done to aid the car's aero balance.

    When a GT500 slides up behind you as you're tooling down a two-lane road, it's supposed to make you feel that your hopes and dreams have been sucked into that immense, mesh-covered rift filling your rear view mirrors. You need to know that it has come to overtake you, and that there will be no questions and no mercy. As Agent Smith said, "It is... inevitable." And apparently it works: everyone pulled over for us on our test drive – even, at one point, another GT500.

    For the rear, the decklid spoiler has been steeply raked to limit drag, and features an adjustable, replaceable Gurney Flap for customers who want to play with back-end aerodynamics. The change has moved more downforce to the front of the car and the car's yaw moment forward. According to one Ford engineer, the GT500 is 50% more stable at high speeds than the previous model. If it makes a difference to you, the word "Shelby" now reaches across the car from taillight to taillight, and yes, that cobra badge is just as ginormous as it appears. Finishing things off, four-inch tailpipes say "hello" down below. Speaking of which, Ford reduced the back pressure in the exhaust and tweaked the car's burble. We'll get to that in a moment, but as Borat says: it's "very nice."

    Beyond the stripes, the other delicious addition to the GT500 are its wheels. The coupe's 19x9.5-inch alloys are forged aluminum with curved spokes machined on both sides. The convertible gets 18x9.5-inch wheels, and both cars ride on new Goodyear F1 Eagle Supercar tires that Ford helped design to provide better grip. Behind those front wheels are four-pot Brembos on 14-inch rotors, with two-pot calipers on 11.8-inch rotors out back.

    Inside, the GT500's cosmetic treatment is a huge improvement. The steering wheel is trimmed in Alcantara, which is wonderful when you really need to hold on to it, and the grippy fabric has also been applied to the shift and parking brake boots, along with the seats. The seats, though, are still a tad too soft and flat for our liking. They look fine – and you can get them with stripes to match those on the exterior – but they'll only hug you if you're built like the Jolly Green Giant. If you happen to be smaller, you'll wallow around unbraced when curvy time comes.

    The gauges are much better than the ones on the Mustang GT, meaning we could actually tell how fast we were going. Ford wanted an aluminum shifter with machined stripes, but the supplier couldn't work that out, so the ball is resin – it's essentially a billiard cue ball with stripes and a shift pattern, but it looks great. The aluminum trim on the instrument panel is dimpled, said to be "inspired by racing clutch plates, braided hoses and cross-drilled racing brake rotors." Our riding companion just kept wondering "What's up with the polka dots?" The other shiny bits are "satin liquid chrome," which sounds fantastic and looks like... chrome.

    Branding this car as an SVT effort is the illuminated red logo in the tach, as well as repeating elements in the scuff plates, and they don't change colors no matter what the adjustable ambient lighting is set to. Also, when the touchscreen comes to life, a Cobra appears instead of a Mustang. However, we do wish the car had a reversing camera like on the Mustang GT, but because of the different rear spoiler, you can't get it.

    Add it all up, and the 2010 model is only about 20 pounds heavier than the previous GT500. Combined with the kick up in horses and torque, it's a great place to begin when it came time to actually drive the thing.

    Yet before we drove it we had to start it. Two words to say on that matter: Oh. Yeah.

    The Camaro SS sounds pretty good when you're standing outside the car. The Mustang GT sounds very good inside and outside the car. The GT500, though, makes stupendous sounds absolutely everywhere – including a quarter mile down the road. While driving, we would depress the clutch just so we could rev it, even when we were doing 60 mph. It makes you want to eat a hot dog, kiss a baby, grab a flag and sing the Marines' Hymn. It's Team America, sung by a car. It's awesome.

    Once you get past that, put the car in gear. The Tremec 6060 gearbox has been re-ratio'd for better straight-line acceleration in lower gears and better fuel economy in higher gears. Shifts are short and firm and performed via a new clutch with larger twin discs made of copper and fiberglass.

    When it comes to ride and dynamics, yet again stealing from the GT500KR, the GT500 receives a suite of changes: lowered chassis and ride height; increased spring rates up front by 93% and 7% more dampening in the shock valves. The GT500 also gets the same front setup as on the KR for better roll control: decreasing front swaybar thickness by 0.5 mm in order to reduce understeer, and a steering shaft stiffener.

    Regrettably, few of those improvements got our attention on the first stretch of road we drove. We spent most of our time thinking about that long-lived piece of equipment out back: the live axle. Wrenching, bumpy twists of road strung along California's oceanfront cliffs had quickly exposed the car's vulnerability – the car jumped all over everywhere, so much so that it felt like our choices were slow down or risk taking a 1,000-foot cliff dive into the Pacific.

    It wasn't that the car itself couldn't handle it. The tires weren't even squealing and the car had plenty of pull left. It simply wouldn't settle down. Not at all. All that horsepower, all that refinement, all that chassis improvement couldn't keep the car from jumping around like, well, an exceptionally evil catfish. And when it jumped, it wasn't a minor jump – it was a "Maybe I should have executed my will this morning" jump.

    This isn't at all to say that the car can't turn. It can. And it can turn very well. But because of the live axle, it likes a certain kind of road to turn on. And that is not a bumpy, twisty, rollercoaster-cambered road.

    No, it liked the roads after that, the B-roads: two undulating lanes shot straight at the vanishing point, broken up by sweepers and the occasional serious kink or four.

    Get to a stretch like that, and it's hit it and git it. Even when you are aware that you are really pushing it, the car doesn't always feel like it, and it didn't always feel like we had 540 horses on the trot. If we were already on the move, we had to dig deep into the low gears to maximize the visceral thrill, get the revs above 3,500 and then hit it. Then the engine and supercharger rise a few octaves and you begin to feel the heat. When you get it just right, it's magical. The car jumped forward – the right way – and as you bolt through the gears, the supercharger making sure there isn't even the slightest twinkle of lag as you grab the next cog. No letup. Just go.

    The controls, in particular, were commendable. During both days of driving we didn't think of the pedal feel for the accelerator, brake or clutch. They were all just right and didn't bear consideration.

    The car did still dance a bit, especially under power, but not to distraction. You just knew that unless you were on a creamy smooth road, there would be a little bit of shucking and jiving. Even with that, on the B-roads, when the GT500 skittered in corners, it was never anything shocking, just something to be anticipated and mindful of. This devil pony wasn't going to lose all control and put you in a ditch – it would take you to do that.

    That's probably also because Ford helped design the Goodyears that the car wears. Grip was tremendous; when the rubber was on the tarmac, the car didn't slide or slither. The tires were another highly capable aspect of the car whose performance envelope went beyond that of the live axle.

    Steering feel was good – we never had to compensate for any vagueness, we knew where the car was and what it would do based on our inputs. Braking was outstanding and went something like this: Choose your braking point, lay into the stoppers, make the turn. As long as you weren't playing Super Mario Kart, you were going to get around the corner.

    So at the end of our first day in the Shelby GT500, what did we have? We had a car that, in the manner of Achilles, boasted an impressive set of specs: 540 hp, a 4.3-second 0-to-60 time, fantastic pull into triple digits, neutral controls, comfy, good looking and awesome sounding. And then there was that heel: a little piece of old faithful tech resulting in handling that was almost always fine but could swing from "Whoa, what just happened?" to "Hey, that was all right!"

    What the GT500 is really all about was clearest when we ended up riding behind a well-driven 1970 Challenger T/A on those back roads for a while. One of the only cars that didn't pull over for us all day, the Challenger would open it up on the straights and he'd bolt, then we'd hit the catapult pedal and be off after him. Incredibly, we could hear that car over the one we were sitting in, yet we both knew it was all about power and noise and back road speed, his muscle versus ours. Someday, decades from now, someone will do the same thing, only they'll be riding behind the 2010 GT500.

    The 2010 Shelby GT500 will be in dealer showrooms this spring priced at $48,175 after a $1,000 gas guzzler charge and $850 destination.

    Stay tuned for Day 2: at the track, to Infineon and beyond.

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  2. Ash. Housewares.

    Ash. Housewares. Shop Smart

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    Bugs Bunny shoulda turned left here
    The projectors look kind of goofy. As does the rest of the car.
     
  3. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    God damn that is fucking sweet.

    I want one in Grabber Blue :o
     
  4. August Burns

    August Burns New Member

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    win, stunning in person.
     
  5. Smelly-Kitten

    Smelly-Kitten Dept. of Redundancy Department *Side Pipes

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    Lol "Petaluma's Infineon Raceway"
    I'm from Petaluma, it's definitely not there. Close though, I miss Wednesday Night Drags:wtc:
     
  6. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    Agreed. I wasn't too thrilled by the car until I saw it at Barrett Jackson this year...holy shit it's hot.
     
  7. you know me

    you know me OT where the douchbags play

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    doesn't look as mean as the pre-facelift car
     
  8. art_VW_shark

    art_VW_shark OT Supporter

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    I disagree. but the challenger has that,"I just fucked your sister, and she said it was the best sex of her life, now what?" look on it
     
  9. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    The GT500 will fuck the Challenger until the Challenger loves it, faggot
     
  10. you know me

    you know me OT where the douchbags play

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    i don't find that challenger to look that bad ass
     
  11. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Where do we sign?

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    by Jonathon Ramsey on Apr 7th 2009 at 2:58PM

    The first day of our Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 drive was spent on a variety of public roads, almost all of which the car handled with skill. The next day was spent at Infineon Raceway on three different courses: a low-speed figure-eight, the drag strip, and the track. It was here that the car sealed its credentials, going from capable hi-po steed to "How do you like me now?" The answer: We like you. We like you a lot. Follow the jump to find out why.

    Ford knows its audience. The down-and-dirty Mustang guy is taking his car to the track – specifically, the drag strip. Drag strip guys like their solid rear axles and Mustang buyers have made sure to let Ford know the Mustang should stick to that formula. And in the Shelby, that solid axle is an asset when you pass through the raceway gates: you put 540 horsepower down on the ground and the car behaves the way you want it to. It's Heaven. And this is where the GT500 overwhelmingly wins its case.

    First up is the second-gear figure-eight. Putting the car in AdvanceTrac's Sport Mode gives you plenty of rope to swing for a good time and not nearly enough rope to hang yourself. Exploring the car's behavior on loop after loop, the only thing you're looking out for is understeer – the car exhibits minimal roll and excellent behavior on the brakes so your job is to keep from getting greedy and plowing into the curve at 80 mph.

    But there's a lot of room before massive understeer rears its head, and even when it appears, it doesn't come in suddenly. You can do a decent lap just while getting to know the car, without even trying. Make the tires chirp a bit and you're in for a good lap. Get the tires talking to you the whole way through the curve, stay glued to the cones, and even though you can feel the front end thinking about straying, it holds the line perfectly. Push a little harder and you can even lightly left-foot-brake and bring the nose back into line when needed.

    Pass that boundary, however, and the front doesn't want to hear about following the cones anymore – figure-eights became parabolas. Turn the traction control entirely off and it's like dropping a Clydesdale in a Steeplechase – burnouts between the curves, and instant oversteer if you call up too much power before you got the GT500 straight again. But again, this isn't the Mustang's preferred turf. So we were off to the drag strip, where the Shelby made its biggest impression of the day.

    The changeable winds made comparing times over the course of the day a challenge, but the constant was we were always driving into a headwind. The first journo to go got into the Grabber Blue car and pulled out a 12.33 -- faster than Ford's officially listed time. Asked to back it up an hour later he did a 12.5. Some drivers were getting their 60-foot times under two seconds. A photographer who had never been on a drag strip before did a 12.8 on his third run.

    What we're saying is that, if you don't get greedy, the car is thoughtlessly easy to drag. The controls are great, you don't need to worry about any other dynamic aspect of the car, and the live axle shines. Check out either car taking off and there's barely any squat. Let the revs run past 6,000 before you shift and the car will still be pulling in fourth gear as you pass the finish. The GT500 also comes with an always-on launch control that works optimally at about 3,500 rpm in the Advance TracSport Mode, 2,500 rpm when everything's turned off. It works well, but even going without the assistance you can still put in some rewarding times if you keep your head about you at the start.

    Then we had the road course for dessert – a small section of Infineon, with blind turns and serious elevation changes. The car pulled its weight in every way, all the way around the course. With 540 supercharged horses you never worried about acceleration. And this is the third time we're bringing it up, but it deserves mention again: the stoppers and the car's behavior under hard braking are exceptional. Panic stop at 80 mph and there's nothing but linear deceleration. It is a non-event. If they hold up over an entire day like that, there are going to be some happy racers.

    At speed, the car is stable all the way. We wrote yesterday that the car is 50% more stable than the previous model. That was incorrect: the car is 50% better than the GT500KR; it is 75% better than the previous GT500. At 120 mph there is only 20 pounds of lift, and because the rear now has 50% less downforce, the car's behavior remains more constant as the speeds rise. And if you want to change the downforce, all you need to do is swap in a different Gurney Flap.

    Once you know you can go fast and stop without drama, all you need is to be ability to carry speed through corners. It's our pleasure to report that you can check that one off as well. Turn in is stable and confident. Stiffer than the last model, this GT500's yaw moments don't happen suddenly, and even leaned over in a turn, the Mustang wasn't put out by kerbs. Even the large-ish steering wheel felt completely natural on the track and the specially-developed Goodyears gripped like octopi.

    When we adjourned, we were thoroughly satisfied – it was everything you want a track day – and a track car – to be.

    The GT500 is, in fact, probably everything a Mustang lover would want it to be. And it should garner respect from anyone who appreciates performance unattached to an astronomical price tag.

    Is there a compromise? Yes. There is a compromise, as in single one: it's not a fan of tight twisty bumpy roads with crazy cambers. Since there are hundreds of thousands of roads that don't fit that description, more most people they'll be easy to avoid – and besides, all you need do is take your driving down to Level Eight when you find one. Compromise solved.

    But the car is $48,000, has 540 usable horsepower and you can get in and get fast quickly on both the road and the track. The controls are commuter-car friendly and the ride is good when cruising at virtually any speed. The interior is well done, can carry four people, has front and side airbags and Ford's Personal Safety System. There's even a fantastic (optional) navigation interface and a load-lugging trunk. The car is easily tweaked, won't need a government bailout to maintain, and is mean looking enough to make Thomas de Torquemada say: "Maybe we should burn it at the stake, just in case..."

    Our complaints number this many: zero. Who cares about a live rear axle when you have this much power and can go this fast on the track and on almost every road for $7,000 less than a Porsche Boxster S... and carry three other people and groceries and luggage while doing it? We don't. The GT500 and its live rear axle can find a home in our garage any day and we will love them both equally.

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  12. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    THAT MY CAR

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  13. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    The dark blue one for me.
     
  14. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    I really liked the dark blue until I saw the Grabber Blue in person...sheeeeeeeeeit
     
  15. matrix243

    matrix243 Earn this. Earn it.

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    12.3 and still with a headwind.
     
  16. Smelly-Kitten

    Smelly-Kitten Dept. of Redundancy Department *Side Pipes

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    Ha. The complaints at the end pretty much sum it up.
     

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