Twist the key in the 2011 Ford Shelby GT500’s ignition, and it burbles startlingly to life after that extra second of cranking that says something big and angry is about to wake up. Just afterwards, its supercharged V8 barks and crackles out the tailpipes with a noise that makes those nearby check for overhead thunderclouds.
Add in the adrenaline-pumping looks, high-end performance hardware and promise of serious entertainment, and you’ve got all the heart-pounding action of a Michael Bay movie packed into a single, ridiculous, $67,000 car.
The loaded tester’s sticker price opens the door to a world of high-performance icons from around the globe, including the BMW M3, Lexus IS-F and Mercedes C63 AMG. All employ the market’s best hardware to deliver some serious numbers.
Bang for the buck
These posh-rockets deliver the 400 to 450 horsepower standard in their price range, though Ford’s aim of bang-for-the-buck leadership gives the latest GT500 quite a bit more. Thanks to 5.4 litres of supercharged American silliness, output is rated at a staggering 550 ponies.
That’s 10 more than last year’s GT500, and some 100 more than most similarly-priced competitors. They’re put to work in a machine with a lighter engine and numerous chassis, suspension and refinement improvements, too.
Refreshed and refined
Sure-- the GT500 is no BMW M3 on the highway, but it is surprisingly easygoing to drive as loosely-leashed monsters go. The clutch is relatively light and easy to modulate, and even the shifter, though tight, offers a very short ‘flick of the wrist’ throw that calls the Honda S2000 and Mazda MX-5 to mind.
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