The 2020 Shelby GT500 is Ford’s most powerful street-legal car ever, making an impressive 760 hp. The GT350R is still a potent player, but it only boasts 526 hp from its V-8. So more power means a higher price tag, right? Well, that’s actually not the case. While the GT500 starts at $73,995, Ford says the 2020 GT350R’s starting price is $535 higher at $74,530. Both prices include a destination fee and gas guzzler tax.
So how can this be? We asked Ford to explain the price difference. “The Shelby GT350R is a very limited-production model, truly the ultimate Mustang for driving purists who want an ever more track-capable car,” said Jiyan Cadiz, Ford’s North American Icon Communications and Media Relations manager, in an email.
As we noted in an earlier story, the two cars have very different missions. Much of their personality differences come down to their engines, which are distinct 5.2-liter V-8s. The GT350 and its R sibling get a lightweight flat-plane-crank V-8 that enables a sky-high redline of 8,200 rpm, making it an ideal track weapon. Meanwhile, the GT500’s supercharged cross-plane V-8 is an expert at providing low-end torque. Cadiz puts it this way: “Shelby GT500 is more about being the pinnacle of Mustang performance and technology for the customer who wants it all. Similar to the jump from GT350 to GT350R, the Carbon Fiber Track Pack makes GT500 even more track-capable.”
Yes, it’s easy to forget the GT350R boasts standard carbon-fiber goodies. The GT350R features 19-inch carbon-fiber wheels, a rear seat delete, and a big carbon-fiber rear wing as standard. On the GT500, a Carbon Fiber Track Package is an $18,500 option, providing 20-inch carbon-fiber wheels, an adjustable carbon-fiber wing, and rear seat delete.
The GT350R is paired exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission. The GT500, on the other hand, mates to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission; sadly, there’s no manual.