We've just tested a 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 on a test track, and it shot to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds on its way to a 11.4-second quarter-mile at 132 mph.
The Chevy Camaro ZL1 remains the quickest ultra pony car we've tested to 60 mph, but the GT500 catches up by the quarter-mile and pulls ahead of both the ZL1 and the Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye at higher speeds.
If you're wondering why a GT500 isn't as quick as the new Corvette despite nearly 300 more horsepower, that's precisely one of the reasons Chevy switched to a mid-engine configuration.
We've just hooked up our test gear in a 2020 Shelby GT500, mashed both pedals with the launch control enabled, and ridden the glorious 760-hp wave of power from zero all the way past 170 mph. The result: zero to 60 mph in 3.6, and the quarter-mile in 11.4 at 132 mph.
That's quite a bit off the pace of last week's YouTuber who ran a 10.66, which isn't surprising since that was at an ultra-sticky prepared drag strip versus our standard concrete test-track surface, where it's difficult to transfer all 625 pound-feet of engine torque to the ground through only the rear wheels, even with the optional Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. We struggled mightily with wheelspin, and we tried many different launch techniques to minimize it, such as early upshifts into second gear, setting the launch rpm to its lowest 1200-rpm setting, and even then, backing off the throttle slightly during initial acceleration.
Our times are slightly slower than Ford's claims of 3.3 seconds to 60 mph and 10.7 through the quarter-mile, which it admits were for perfect conditions at a drag strip.
Compared to the ultra pony cars, the quickest Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 we've tested, which had a 10-speed automatic transmission, shot to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds but matches the GT500's 11.4-second quarter-mile time, with a substantially lower, 125-mph trap speed. The swiftest Dodge Challenger we've tested is a 797-hp Hellcat Redeye Widebody, which is even more hard pressed to find traction at launch—and is also substantially heavier. It achieves 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and passes the quarter-mile in 11.8 seconds, but at the same 125-mph trap speed as the Camaro.
The GT500 does flex its muscle in its post-quarter-mile performance, hitting 150 mph in 15.1 seconds. That's a massive 3.2 seconds quicker than the ZL1 and 2.8 quicker than the Challenger.
If you're wondering why the GT500 can't touch the Corvette's 2.8-second zero-to-60-mph time despite having nearly 300 more horsepower, that's precisely why Chevy switched to a mid-engine layout. A rear weight bias allows the Corvette to enjoy more traction and thus put the power down more effectively from a stop. The GT500's superior power-to-weight ratio shows up in the quarter-mile trap speed, where the GT500 is traveling 10-mph faster (132 mph versus the Corvette's 122 mph).
Acceleration is only one of the GT500's talents. We'll be reporting on the rest of its more-than-a-pony-car ambitions after some more seat time.
Car and Driver has reconfigured the way we calculate acceleration tests, so some numbers may have changed from previously published reports. See this article for the full explanation.
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