2020 Shelby GT500 vs Shelby GT350R
With all this talk over the 2020 Shelby GT500, it’s no wonder that many are wondering how it pairs to its now little brother, the Shelby GT350R. By the numbers, they are certainly two different vehicles that cater to two different kinds of drivers. The Shelby GT350R is an all-around driver's car that has just the perfect amount of power for a well-balanced ride whether it’s on a backroad or road course. On the other hand, the Shelby GT500 takes all of that and turns the volume knob up to 11 - raw power with zero compromises for performance whether it’s a straight line or hard cambered turns.
We’ve had the amazing opportunity to get both of these vehicles together for a head-to-head comparison that truly brings to light which Ford Performance vehicle is best for the type of driver you are.
GT500 vs GT350R: Back-To-Back Autocross Comparison
Naturally, after taking these two cars out on the street, it was time to take these cars somewhere we could push them further to the limit. Thanks to Dixie Region SCCA and South Georgia Motorsports Park, we were able to take the Carbon Fiber Track Pack GT500 and GT350R out on the autocross course to see what they could put down.
The results may surprise you - so check out the video below!
GT500 vs GT350R: Review & Driving Impressions
Thanks to a local Steeda customer, Charles S., for loaning us his beautiful 350R, we were able to get our CFTP 2020 Shelby GT500 R&D vehicle sitting next a 2019 Shelby GT350R in none other than stunning Orange Fury with black stripes. We took both cars for a spin back-to-back to compare and contrast the feeling the driver gets behind the wheel, and more importantly which car would be best for you.
GT500 vs GT350R: The Basics
With a naturally aspirated 5.2L flat-plane crank V8, the GT350R screams all the way to its 8,250 rpm redline. With the Tremec TR-3160 6-speed manual being the 350’s only available transmission, Ford has its finger on the pulse that this car is truly meant to be a driver’s car. Just think about it, the Shelby GT350 was launched in late-2014, early-2015. Ever since then, and even today -- 5 years later -- the GT350R still holds its own against many other vehicles double its MSRP. Now, that’s certainly saying a lot!
On the other hand, the Shelby GT500 takes all the most amazing attributes of the GT350R and adds another 200 horsepower - in more than just the engine compartment. Swapping over to a conventional cross-plane V8 and adding a 2.65L Eaton Supercharger, the GT500 puts out an asphalt-melting 760 horsepower and 625 lb-ft of torque. And in order to effectively handle that much power both on the street and the track, the GT500 is only available with a Tremec TR-9070 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. That’s right, no ‘man’ pedal. Does it matter to us? Heck no! This car makes nearly 700 horsepower to the wheels, yet you still feel like you’re driving a Miata. Yes, it’s really that easy.
GT500 vs GT350R: Exterior & Interior
GT500 vs GT350R: Exterior
The Shelby GT350R hasn’t changed much in the past five years it’s been available on the S550 platform. Aside from new color changes like the addition of Orange Fury for the 2018 model year and Ford Performance Blue for the 2019 model year. Even so, the styling of the GT350R still stands out just as good, if not better, than the day the car was released. With the sloping front end and extremely low splitter, even at stock ride height, the GT350R has an aggressive stance that exudes both form and function. Combine that with the aggressive offset 19” carbon fiber wheels, red Brembo brakes, a large carbon fiber wing and a loud color like Orange Fury - and you’ve got one beautiful Mustang.
The Shelby GT500, on the other hand has a different approach when it comes to those who want to be seen a mile away. The 760 hp powerhouse under the hood begs for as much cool air as possible through the front fascia. This means that the Ford Performance engineers and designers needed to work together to open up that front end to allow for maximum cooling potential for the numerous coolers and radiators that makeup the GT500. Combine those efforts, and you get a gaping mouth that looks like it will eat you as it utilizes all that horsepower passing you on the back straight at Virginia International Raceway. Get yourself the hyper track-focused $18,500 Carbon Fiber Track Package (CFTP) and you’ll net yourself carbon fiber wheels cutting down on 60 pounds of rotating mass, a giant carbon fiber GT4 wing, revised suspension and much more.
GT500 vs GT350R: Interior
The interior of the Shelby GT350R remains similar to past recent model years. Standard analog gauges are still the norm, with no available digital dash, along with cloth Recaro seats. The 2019 model year introduced new red accent stripes into the seats and carbon fiber instrument panel to the 350R. Red accents are the dead giveaway that you’re sitting in an “R,” and we’re totally okay with that. We’d like to see the addition of the digital dash to the GT350 lineup, however, we know that kind of option isn’t what this car was intended for - driving hard and fast.
The Shelby GT500 simply just feels special as you sit in the driver seat. Rightfully so, with a base price north of $70,000. Regardless, you’re welcomed with optional leather Recaro seats that embrace you regardless of how fast you’re cornering, along with white accents and stitching throughout the inside of the car that break up and contrast the rest of the black interior well. You’ll see a matching alcantara steering wheel with white stitching and sight line at the top that tie in well to the rest of the interior. Should you glance down at the center console, you’ll see a dial. That’s right, a dial is in place of your standard shifter-style gear selector. This is to accommodate the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. We’re also ecstatic to see the 12” LCD Digital Instrument Cluster standard across all GT500s with unique Ford Performance and Cobra logos sprinkled throughout - simply making this car a one-of-a-kind Mustang.
GT500 vs GT350R: Engine & Performance
When it comes to engine and performance, these two vehicles are totally different animals. The 526 horsepower naturally aspirated motor in the GT350R is well-balanced for the chassis, has little wheel spin, points and shoots where you want it to go and is an all-around great car on-track.
The GT500 takes every single one of those aspects and amplifies ten-fold. It’s very necessary too. With 760 horsepower at the crank, you need a transmission that will handle those kinds of torque numbers, a driveline that will stand up to repeated abuse, more cooling for the additional heat from the supercharger, more aero to keep the car planted at speed and massive brakes to stop the now 4,000+ pound vehicle.
There’s a ton of research, development and engineering that went into the GT500, but the outcome almost makes you chuckle as you stomp on that gas pedal -- the Ford Performance Team actually found a way to make 760 horsepower easy to put to the ground. And that’s whether you’re attempting to drive in a straight line or exiting a corner at speed.
When it comes to handling, both cars are amazing. However, the GT350R provides a much more level-headed ride. This car will ride nicely on the street in normal mode, but in track mode will stiffen up the MagneRide and truly unlock its potential. On the other hand, the GT500 with the Carbon Fiber Track Package in combination with 20-inch wheels has some pretty stiff spring rates, regardless of driving mode. On track, this proves to make the 4,000+ pound beast handle extremely well. However, road manners are a bit more rigid in comparison to the 350R.
2020 Shelby GT500 vs GT350R: Tech Specs
|Vehicle Specification||2020 Shelby GT500, CFTP||2020 Shelby GT350R|
|Drivetrain Layout||Front-engine, RWD||Front-engine, RWD|
|Engine||Supercharged 90-deg V-8, alum block/heads||Flat-Plane Crank V-8, alum block/heads|
|Valvetrain||Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC), 4 valves/cyl||Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC), 4 valves/cyl|
|Displacement||5.2L / 315.1 cu in / 5,163 cc||5.2L / 315.1 cu in / 5,163 cc|
|Horsepower||760 hp @ 7,300 rpm||526 hp @ 7,500 rpm|
|Torque||625 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm||429 lb-ft @ 4,750 rpm|
|Redline||7,500 RPM||8,250 rpm|
|Weight To Power||5.3 lb/hp||7.1 lb/hp|
|Transmission||TREMEC TR-9070 DCT, 7-speed dual-clutch transmission||TREMEC TR-3160 6-speed manual transmission|
|Rear Axle Ratio||3.73:1/2.09:1||3.73:1/2.35:1|
|Front Suspension Configuration||Struts, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar||Struts, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar|
|Rear Suspension Configuration||multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar||multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar|
|Brakes, Front/Rear||16.5-in 2-pc vented disc / 14.6-in 2-pc vented disc, ABS||15.5-in 2-pc vented disc / 15.0-in 2-pc vented disc, ABS|
|Wheels, Front/Rear||20” x 11” / 20” x 11.5”, carbon fiber composite||19” x 11” / 19” x 11.5”, carbon-fiber composite|
|Tires, Front/Rear||305/30R20 103Y / 315/30R20 104Y, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2||305/30R19 98Y / 315/30R19 100Y, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2|
2020 Shelby GT500 vs GT350R: Dimensions
|Vehicle Dimensions||2020 Shelby GT500, CFTP||2020 Shelby GT350R|
|Wheelbase||107.1 in||107.1 in|
|Track, Front/Rear||63.8 in / 64.4 in||63.3 in / 63.7 in|
|Length x Width x Height||189.5 in x 76.6 in x 53.7 in||189.7 in x 75.9 in x 53.6 in|
|Turning Circle||44.1 ft||40.4 ft|
|Curb Weight||4,006 lb *||3,713 lb|
|Weight Distribution, Front/Rear||56% / 44%||54% / 46%|
|Headroom, Front/Rear||37.6/— in||37.6/ — in|
|Legroom, Front/Rear||45.1/— in||44.5/ — in|
|Shoulder Room, Front/Rear||56.3/— in||56.3/ — in|
|Cargo Volume||13.5 cu ft||13.5 cu ft|
*Steeda measurement, <1 gallon of fuel.
2020 Shelby GT500 vs GT350R: Performance Specs
|Performance Stats||2020 Shelby GT500, CFTP||2020 Shelby GT350R|
|0-60 MPH||3.6 sec||3.9 sec|
|0-100 MPH||7.0 sec||8.6 sec|
|0-100-0 MPH||10.7 sec||N/A|
|Quarter Mile, ET/MPH||10.73 @ 133 MPH **||12.2 sec @ 119 mph|
|Braking, 60-0 MPH||94 feet||99 feet|
|Lateral Acceleration||1.05 g (avg)||1.08 g (avg)|
|MotorTrend Figure Eight||23.5 sec @ 0.89 g (avg)||23.1 sec @ 0.89 g (avg)|
|3.3-mi Road Course Lap (VIR Full Course)||1:56.30 sec||N/A|
|Top-Gear Revs @ 60 MPH||1,550 rpm||1,800 rpm|
**Tested by Steeda at South Georgia Motorsports Park, 1/18/2020
2020 Shelby GT500 vs GT350R: Consumer Info
|Consumer Information||2020 Shelby GT500, CFTP||2020 Shelby GT350R|
|Base Price||Base: $72,900
w/ CFTP: $92,495
|Airbags||8: Dual front, side, curtain, knee||8: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee|
|Basic Warranty||3 yrs/36,000 miles||3 yrs/36,000 miles|
|Powertrain Warranty||5 yrs/60,000 miles||5 yrs/60,000 miles|
|Roadside Assistance||5 yrs/60,000 miles||5 yrs/60,000 miles|
|Fuel Capacity||16.0 gal||16.0 gal|
|Fuel Economy, EPA City/Hwy/Comb||12 City / 18 Hwy / 14 Comb, MPG||14 City / 21 Hwy / 16 Comb, MPG|
|Recommended Fuel||Unleaded premium||Unleaded premium|
Source: MotorTrend | Car & Driver
GT500 vs GT350R: Photos
Shelby GT500 & Shelby GT350R At Steeda
If you think this is all we’re going to do with these cars, then think again! We’re proud to be able to have access to these amazing Ford Performance vehicles, and we plan on doing everything we can to deliver as much information as we can to you! Not only because we use these cars for research and development for new Steeda parts, but also because we like to see what these cars can do in stock form before we start turning a wrench!
Stay posted to this page as we’ll continually be making updates as we do more with these Ford Performance vehicles. Be sure to like, follow and subscribe to our social media channels to stay up-to-date on anything and everything Ford & Mustang!
Image Credit: Ford | MotorTrend