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As some of you may already know, I've been researching and test driving cars since last summer. I went on lots of test drives and went to Carmax and several other dealers over the past 8 months. I drove an AMG C63, three Cadillac CTS-Vs (one manual, two automatics), four Mustangs (2012 Boss 302, 2012 Shelby GT500, 2013 Roush RS3, and recently a 2013 Shelby GT500), and a 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 (392).

I also sat in a 2012 ZL1 Camaro, but couldn't get over the awkward driving position, poor outward visibility, and [arguably] ugly interior and ergonomics of the car. I didn't bother test driving the Camaro for these reasons (and because I had already driven the CTS-V with the same basic powertrain and suspension setup). It's funny how some magazine editors say the ZL1 would make a better daily driver because of the comfy suspension, but they seem to overlook the glaring issues I pointed out. In addition, some reviewers complained about the ride quality of the Shelby, but I found it perfectly acceptable for daily use when in the touring mode. I'm not going to argue that the Shelby had a more cushy ride than the CTS-V, because it didn't, but it was very good for daily use even on less than perfect roads, over expansion joints, and going across old, bumpy railroad tracks. I actually think my wife will be perfectly happy with the ride quality of the Shelby, and that's saying something.

I finally had an opportunity to test drive the new Challenger 392 and loved it. I believe the power of the Challenger 392 was underrated (at 470 hp) by Chrysler and the torque of that car really gets it moving fast in a hurry. It's not as fast as the Shelby, but it's plenty fast and faster than you would expect based on the "numbers". Although I prefer the exterior styling of the Challenger (over all of the cars!), ultimately I decided that I wanted something smaller. As great as the AMG Mercedes was, I really wanted to go back to driving a car with a manual transmission again (not seeking wife approval this time), so I ruled out the Benz even though I've been dreaming about getting one for a very long time. I couldn't get over the exterior styling of the CTS-V. It's an attractive car, but kind of bland. Most people don't know about the CTS-V, and it's not very exciting looking. My brother commented that it looked like something our grandfather would have liked. When I showed a picture of one to my wife, she wasn't impressed with the looks either. The Boss 302 was great (HUGE surprise to me!), but the lack of NAV and leather seats was a real turn off for a car that I'm going to drive every day. I didn't like the Roush RS3 (for lots of reasons) and the 2012 Shelby was nice (and cheaper than the 2013 model), but I couldn't pass up all the upgrades of the newer model. I finally decided on a radical change, and purchased a new 2013 Shelby GT500 after test driving one on Monday. I couldn't be more pleased!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Shelby, it's got 662 hp and 631 lb-ft of torque right off the showroom floor. With practice, some owners have already run very low 11 second ETs at close to 128 mph trap speed, completely stock right down to the tires. The changes from the 2012 model are extensive and well worth the extra money, especially for those that want a full warranty and don't want to do lots of aftermarket modifications in search of more power. The local dealership where I purchased my car provides free oil changes (full synthetic for my car) for life and as long as I bring it to them on the regularly scheduled intervals, the engine has a lifetime warranty! They don't charge anything extra for the lifetime oil changes, inspections, and several other perks.

After all the test drives, I felt the Shelby was the most fun of all the cars. I am really loving the smaller size and all the power and it feels very well balanced. I haven't put too many miles on it yet, but I've driven it to work and have taken it out for long lunch breaks and quick late night runs every day this week. It will be my daily driver and I am very impressed with it. The most surprising aspect of the car is how great a daily driver it is. The touring mode setting on the suspension feels a bit softer than my SRT8, and the Shelby is very comfortable over the bumps. The Shelby actually feels softer and more compliant when I go over rail road tracks (two sets on my way to and from work) and it feels like it absorbs them better with less harshness, so if you are comfortable with the SRT8s ride quality, you would definitely be comfortable with the Shelby ride. The sport suspension setting on the Shelby is at least as firm as the SRT8 suspension feel.

The Shelby's engine is nice and quiet at highway speeds and I can cruise along at 80 mph at about 1500 RPM, so highway fuel effeciency is decent (EPA rating is 24 mpg highway). The engine idles very smoothly and the car has a refined feeling that is very surprising when just loafing around in it, especially when you consider the performance and power. I like to think of it as a refined beast :) The one thing I do notice with the Shelby is that there is more wind noise (than in my SRT8), but I really notice it mainly when I'm going over 80 mph. The Shelby does not have a door frame for the windows to go into, so there is less road noise isolation because of that. The shifter is very nice and precise and has an excellent feel with short throws. I really like the cue-ball handle because it's nice and simple and fits my hand perfectly. The clutch let up took a little bit of getting used to, but it's easy to press and has a predictable engagement point, which initially seemed to feel higher than it does now (after a few days behind the wheel). The Recaro seats are extremely comfortable, well bolstered, and supportive (but not heated). My wife and kids will miss the butt warmers. The seats have alcantara bolsters on the sides. I'm 5'9" and 170 lbs, and they are a perfect fit for me. The steering wheel has a nice feel to it also, with most of the areas you touch covered in the same alcantara material as the seat bolsters.

The Shelby steering feel is also outstanding. I beleive the steering feel can be adjusted, but I really haven't experimented much with the different settings. The Shelby also has Track Apps (similar to the SRT performance pages), but I haven't used them yet. I like the way I can customize the gauge colors and the Ford Sync is another very convenient feature. The NAV screen is large and the menus are very intuitive. I haven't read any of the manuals yet and already have nearly everything set up. The Shaker Pro audio system is good, but I like the SRT sound system better. The audio system is something Ford needs to improve.

I've only used full throttle several times, but I can tell you first hand that the acceleration is astounding. Actually, the acceleration is a bit scary, even for me! The streets have been cool, even in the afternoon sun, and the tires require some heating up before you can do much, but I've done a few quick runs to the top of second gear and the pull from 4500 to 7000 RPM left me with a giant grin. I haven't used the launch control feature yet, but I plan to use it as soon as I've put some break-in miles on it. I actually haven't even watched television since I bought the car. I'm either out driving it or toying with and configuring all the electronic gadgets it came with. The Ford SYNC is very cool.

My review wouldn't be complete without talking about the exhaust sound. Start the Shelby up and it barks at you like an angry pitbull and then quickly settles into a mellow idle. If anyone is standing nearby, they will hear it fire up. Push it into gear, slip the clutch, and roll onto the throttle and the Shelby has an exhaust sound that I believe would be hard to improve with anything the aftermarket has to offer, IMO. The C63 didn't bark like the Shelby and had a more mellow sound when I started it up, but it also sounded amazing at higher RPMs (wow!). The Boss 302 and Challenger sounded great as well, but I did not like the sound of the stock exhaust on the CTS-V or Roush RS3. The CTS-V was just too mellow and quiet at full throttle, and this was a surprise. I could hear more supercharger whine than engine sound inside the CTS-V, but perhaps it sounds different from the outside. The Roush RS3 was just too loud and had too much drone, and these were not problems with any of the other cars I drove.

I haven't had time to take many pictures, but I did stop on my way in to work this morning and snapped a few near a construction site. The pictures do not do justice for the Deep Impact Blue color. The car looks much better in person, and so do the wheels. The paint glows in the bright sunlight and has a darker hue when the sky is cloudy. It looked amazing under the lights at the gas station where there were multiple light sources. It's kind of like a blue version of the Inferno Red color of my SRT8. I'll post some more pictures after I get a chance to clean her up real good.
















 

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Discussion Starter #2
One more photo

Here's another pic.
 

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dude seriously, thats not a ride, thats a hell of a monster, im pretty jealous now :p i really like the new shelby 2013, hopefully ull enjoy bro, Cheers ^^
 

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I don't even know what to say. Wow. Congrats!! I do expect a ride ya know. When's our first track day?
 

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Ken, congrats I think you have have more research and prep than anyone I know before this purchase. That car is nearly my favorite color of blue! I know it is a beast and is in some capable hands. Enjoy it and be safe.

David
 

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Beautiful. I am glad that you found what you desired.

Let us know when you take her to the strip!
 

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Ken - that is one serious, bad ass ride!

It has all the right stuff and is built by Shelby with you in mind - the experienced, knowledgeable performance car enthusiast.

I know you will enjoy your GT500!!! :drive:
 

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Dude gorgeous car and great choice. I myself actually went FROM a Shelby GT500 to my 300 SRT8. If I ever did go back to a manual car, it would most assuredly be another GT500. My only complaint with my generation (2008) was the brakes were garbage; faded very fast. I think they are better on the 2011+ models, but from the reviews I have seen they still aren't quite up to snuff with how fast that damn car is!
 

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Congrats, she's a beaut!! If they made one in auto with manual mode I'd seriously consider it but I'm too lazy to shift all the time :D
 

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Congrats on the purchase; if the kids were out of the house, and the wife didn't need to drive it (no manual for her), a '13 Shelby would be in my driveway. Phenomenal bang-for-the-buck, and I agree; the exhaust sound out of the box is just incredible.
 

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awesome car ive liked the new ones ever sence they started coming out, wish i could afford one lol
 

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That is one hell of a ride!
My brother has a Ingot Silver 2012'.His best 1/4 is 11.4 @ 126.Still not enough to take my WS6 (procharged [email protected]#'s) 9.91 @ 141 but his is STOCK with NO mod's :11:
 

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Thanks for all the kind words guys. I plan to take it to the drag strip in the spring. Hopefully we can get a group together again and meet somewhere like 75-80, Capitol Raceway, or Cecil County Dragway. I'm ready for spring NOW!

The cold weather and summer tires are forcing me to take it relatively easy and break it in properly. I don't know if I will be able to make it through winter with the Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar tires. We don't get much snow here, and I stay off the streets when there is snow, but I need something for all season use. They require a substantial warm up before they get any traction whatsoever. I have three complaints: 1. the tires 2. the tires 3. the tires. They are unacceptable for daily use and Ford really dropped the ball on this. Not everyone lives in a warm climate, and I personally believe cars are meant to be driven year round. I may give the Toyo Proxes 4s Plus a try and am open to suggestions for a great all season tire that won't disappoint me at the track.
 

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Believe it or not, your tires are rated for 40* and above ONLY. You are technically not even supposed to drive on them if it gets below that level because they turn into rolling bricks. They get super stiff and unsafe.
 

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Congrats!!! This is all that needs to be said... BOOM!!!

 
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