Think of the 2022 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 kind of like a rolling theme park. Its monstrous 760-hp supercharged V-8 launches the coupe with eye-watering force, and its immense grip causes sensations of euphoria or nausea, or both. All the while its thrilling exhaust note provides the soundtrack, and a rapid-shifting automatic transmission handles gear changes for the rear-drive-only coupe. The Shelby GT500 isn’t just the mightiest Mustang ever, it’s also the most powerful road car Ford has ever built. Despite the ability to soil people’s undergarments on demand, it’s still a Mustang at heart, meaning it doubles as a daily driver. Opting for the Carbon Fiber Track Pack optimizes the GT500’s performance, but it also costs almost a quarter of Shelby’s base price. For some owners, that money will be better spent on fueling this thirsty beast or paying the inevitable influx of speeding tickets.
What’s New for 2022?
With 2022 marking 55 years since the birth of the original Shelby GT500, Ford is offering the current model with a limited-production Heritage Edition. Essentially an appearance package, it consists of a Brittany Blue paint job with the choice of Wimbledon White or Absolute Black twin stripes from stem to stern. The commemorative look costs $2140, but that’s with vinyl stripes—the option to have them hand-painted is $10,000. Ford also adds Code Orange to Shelby’s color palette. The flamboyant shade is available on the company’s GT supercar as well as the F-150 Raptor pickup truck, and it’ll be offered on the forthcoming Bronco Raptor off-road SUV, too.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The most powerful engine ever stuffed into a Ford production car lurks behind the Shelby GT500’s menacing mug. Aptly called Predator, the motor is a supercharged 5.2-liter V-8 that summons 760 horsepower and 625 pound-feet of torque. That prodigious power twists the rear wheels through a clairvoyant seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (sorry, the mightiest Mustang isn’t offered with manual transmission). We’ve tested a GT500 with its standard summer tires as well as the ultra-sticky rubber offered with the Carbon Fiber Track package, which includes 20-inch carbon-fiber wheels. The latter was part of a comparison test with the 650-hp Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE and 797-hp Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. While during testing Shelby’s base wheel-and-tire setup actually provided better acceleration (hitting 60 mph in 3.4 seconds versus 3.6), the upgraded rolling stock contributed to higher cornering grip (1.13 g versus 0.99) and a shorter stop from 70 mph (142 feet versus 150). Optimized for racetrack duty, the Shelby GT500 proved that modern muscle cars can post quicker lap times than more exotic machines, such as the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 and Lamborghini Huracán Evo, at the most recent running of our annual Lightning Lap event. Even when the ultimate Mustang isn’t blasting down drag strips or terrorizing six-figure sports cars at the track, it makes daily driving extra exciting with its soil-your-shorts acceleration and surprisingly agile handling, considering its two-ton curb weight. Despite its racy demeanor, the GT500’s standard adaptive dampers provide a merciful ride quality, too.