The Shelby GT500 coupe starts at $54,995 including a $795 destination charge, and the convertible lists for $5,000 more. A number of performance-oriented options raised the price of our test coupe to $63,080. The Shelby GT500's base price is a few hundred dollars below that of its prime competitor, the 580-hp Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. To see these 2013 cars' specs compared side by side, along with the 2012 Shelby GT500, click here.
Going & Stopping
Driving the Shelby GT500 requires a certain level of restraint from your right foot. The rear end readily swerves to the side if you jab the gas pedal — even on warm tires and dry roads. Though the rear steps out willingly — even with all the electronic safety features on — it happens in a predictable way, and it's easy enough to quell the motions by backing off the gas.
That controllable nature of the 2013 Shelby GT500 is one of the key qualities that make it better than its predecessor, which was skittish and prone to snap oversteer. Abrupt, uneven power delivery from that car's supercharged V-8 didn't help matters, either.
Making the car's tail squirm and wiggle never gets old, but the lack of grip makes it difficult to take full advantage of the considerable power at your disposal — 662 hp at 6,500 rpm and 631 pounds-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. It's a constant battle to keep the rear tires hooked up. The Camaro ZL1's rear tires are nearly an inch wider, and a larger contact patch could help check some of the Shelby GT500's power-delivery issues.
The Shelby GT500's baritone exhaust note is fitting, and it won praise from our editors. Mash the gas pedal, and the primal, lion-like roar is a perfect match for the car's thrilling power.
The high-performance powertrain doesn't make the Shelby GT500 difficult to drive in stop-and-go traffic, though you'll get more of a workout than you would with a regular Mustang GT. The clutch pedal is quite a bit firmer, but it doesn't take long to learn where the clutch engages, and there's enough slippage to make smooth starts second-nature.
Like the clutch pedal, there's a lot of tension in the six-speed manual transmission's shifter, much more than the Mustang GT's manual. Short throws engage each gear with an uncommon level of mechanical precision.
EPA gas mileage estimates for the Shelby GT500 are 15/24/18 mpg city/highway/combined, which improves on the 2012 model by 1 mpg in both highway and combined driving, despite the 112-hp gain. Ford boasts that the Shelby GT500 is exempt from any gas-guzzler tax. That's true, but after a week in the Cars.com garage, the car's average fuel economy stood at 14 mpg. That was a result of enthusiastic miles, to be sure, but it meant frequent trips to the gas station, as the Shelby GT500's tank holds only 16 gallons.