Photography by ©2020 Toni Avery
To my male readers out there, this one’s for you. One of the easiest ways to describe the difference between the GT350 and the GT500 is this:
You’re single and you meet a girl (GT500) while on a guy’s trip to Vegas. She’s super-hot, really interesting, moves faster than girls you usually hang out with and you can tell she’s a little crazy. Probably good crazy. You spend one wild weekend “getting to know each other” and you go home to your normal life. Because what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
You’re single and you go to a friend’s house who is throwing a small get together and there’s a girl there (GT350). She’s super-hot, really interesting, but doesn’t want to move too fast. You spend the night talking and leave after getting her number. You go on a few dates before “getting to know each other.”
The girl you met at your friend’s house (GT350) isn’t what you’d call crazy but she does keep things interesting, is someone you could see keeping around and introducing to your family. The girl you met in Vegas (GT500) on the other hand was the craziest, in a good way, you’d ever experienced, and was one of those experiences you’ll think about for the rest of your life and probably not share with your family because they wouldn’t understand. But your friends will understand and will ask you to tell the story for years to come.
This GT500 is equipped with a 5.2 L Supercharged V8 engine producing 760 HP @7,300 RPM and 625 lb-ft of torque @5,000 RPM mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch TREMEC transmission sprinting from 0-60 MPH in (approx.) 3.5 seconds with stopping power provided by six-piston Brembo brakes front and four-piston Brembo brakes rear.
Where to even start…this car is just stupid fast. As if the GT350 isn’t already impressive, this car takes that performance and smacks you across the face with it. It’s blistering fast and thanks to the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, shifts aren’t missed. I was impressed with the performance for the transmission. It changed gears when I would and provided a very satisfying driving experience. Considering how uninspiring the traditional automatic is in the lower level Mustang’s I was very impressed with this dual-clutch. As driving modes changed the shifting became even more engaging (from Normal to Sport to Track). While the transmission performed very well on its own, I had fun putting it in manual mode and shifting closer to redline. It’s a cool added feature where you can choose a shift point you want the vehicle to tell you to shift at. When I got in it, it was set around 3,500 RPM but I bumped it up to nearly redline at 7,500 RPM.
I mostly kept the car in Track or Sport mode because those are truly the most enjoyable. I even tried launch control, which makes you laugh like an idiot because all you’re doing is lighting up the rear tires trying to find traction. It’s not fast but it’s sure fun. Hence the approx. after the above mentioned 0-60 time.
Beyond the transmission, the pure acceleration and torque of the GT500 made me scream like a little girl practically every time. It handles very well, as expected for a Shelby, but the power is unlike anything I’ve experienced in a Ford product before. I took the car out on delivery day and ran it to “low fuel” by end of day. It does not get good fuel economy whatsoever, but that is far from the point of this car.
It handles great, it goes incredibly fast, and it stops just the same. It’s comfortable inside especially in normal mode with quiet exhaust. You’d think you were in a basic Mustang with how quiet that exhaust setting gets. I got a lot of looks driving this thing around. Especially from a guy in a super modified GT that tried to race me on the freeway. I just laughed at them all because I so could have easily smoked them if I wasn’t a bright green target for the police to pull over. (See below for video review)
The biggest different I feel from the GT350 to this performance wise aside from the transmission is the sheer curb weight. The difference between the GT350 I tested and the GT500 I tested is about 400 pounds! That’s a difference you can feel right away driving the GT500. If you like a lightweight sports car that could be the difference maker deciding which one is for you.
The exterior of this GT500 features optional vinyl white stripes over the top and sides ($1,000 and $375 respectively) and is finished in Grabber Lime paint.
The biggest visible difference between the GT350 and GT500 is the much more pronounced hood vents on the GT500. It also lacks the venting behind the front wheels you find on the GT350. The badging is also different on both vehicles. The badges are larger and more pronounced on the GT500 whereas the GT350 features the snake inside a rectangle shape.
The one odd thing I found was how to open the hood. The release is in the usual spot inside the vehicle (drivers’ side), but when the release lever is pulled, the hood doesn’t appear to look opened. The two black buttons or dots on the hood “hood pins” need to be pushed down simultaneously and then the hood pops up. There is still a traditional hood release in the center that you need to find and then the hood can be lifted up. It’s much heavier to lift than I expected considering the first thing you see when opening the hood is “carbon fiber composite.”
The interior of this GT500 features optional Recaro seats ($1,595) and the Technology Package ($3,000).
The inside looks really just like any other Mustang aside from the steering wheel and a few small GT500 specific touches. It’s very comfortable and makes for a great commuter or long-distance driver inside especially when switching on the Quiet exhaust mode. I fit in the rear seats cross legged only so if you have a child probably 10 years old and under, they will fit comfortably back there if you aren’t over 5’ 11” up front. I was also impressed with the amount of stuff I was able to fit in the trunk. 10 cases of LaCroix and other items from Costco fit no problem.
So the big question is would I want one? Or would I want one over a GT350? Well, that’s a tough one. They both answer very similar demands. The GT350 is a great all-around car for the money. Daily, track, single person no kids or just the only fun car you can afford that can do it all and still be comfortable and haul some stuff. The GT500 does all of that too. Biggest three differences are price, power and transmission. The GT500 speaks to the person that wants all the things the GT350 offers but just doesn’t want to shift themselves.
I wouldn’t be upset with either, and I love and appreciate both for what they are….I just feel that if I had to have one for life the GT350 would be my choice. But I enjoyed my Vegas weekend with the GT500 immensely and I miss it every day.
2020 Ford Mustang GT500:
Base Price: $70,300
Equipment Group 950A, Recaro Leather-trimmed Seats ($1,595),
Vinyl Over-the-top-stripes ($1,000), Vinyl side stripes ($375), Technology Package
(B&O sound system, BLIS w/ cross traffic alert, voice activated
touchscreen nav – $3,000) Handling Package ($1,500),
Grey Vehicle Cover ($395)
Gas Guzzler Tax: $2,600
Destination Charge: $1,095
Total Price: $81,860
Fuel Economy: 12 City, 18 Highway, 14 Combined
GirlsDriveFastToo gives the 2020 Ford Mustang GT500 (out of 5 total):