The Shelby GT500 is not only a frighteningly potent car (the 500 horsepower from its supercharged V8 engine was enough to whiten our knuckles even on legal roads), it is a bookend to a generation of muscle cars starting with its namesake, the GT500 that made its debut 40 years ago.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staff

Sporting the signature Le Mans stripes down the center of its body and a rash of SVT logos denoting its heritage in Ford's Special Vehicle Team, our test car arrived to much fanfare.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:CNET Networks

Despite its obvious DNA, the 2007 incarnation of the GT500 does not want to be known as a Mustang: nowhere on its body is there any reference to Ford's iconic pony car. Neither is it classified as a Cobra, despite the presence of plenty of Shelby-inspired Cobra logos on its steering wheel, seats, and exterior panels.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:CNET Networks

The Shelby's Shaker 500 stereo is more sophisticated than its 1980s appearance suggests. It features a six-disc in-dash changer with the ability to play MP3 discs and portable MP3 players via a generic auxiliary-input jack in the center console.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:CNET Networks

The 2007 Shelby GT500 is motivated by a 500-horsepower 5.4-liter V8 block with four-valve cylinder heads sourced from the Ford GT supercar assisted by a Roots type Eaton supercharger.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:CNET Networks

The most frivolous tech feature on the Shelby GT500 is in its instrument cluster. Using a three-button cluster on the dash, drivers can select different colors for the instrument-cluster backlighting: to cater to the widest possible artistic range, the car offers six preset colors (red, purple, orange, white, blue, and green) and up to 125 user-configured colors, which can be made up by mixing different levels of red, blue, and green light. A more useful feature is its two-line display beneath the tachometer that can be used to call up data for a range of systems, including trip information, oil pressure, security system and brake systems, traction control, and range to empty.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:CNET Networks

For MP3 discs, the stereo's LCD displays ID3 tag information for song, artist, and album, which can be cycled through by pressing the TXT button. While the display only shows 12 characters at a time, longer tags can be read in full by pressing the seek button

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:CNET Networks

Shifts with the short-throw stick are smooth and assured, and the shifter snicks into each gate with a satisfying mechanical precision.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:CNET Networks

The Shelby GT500 comes with a standard 500-watt (peak) Shaker 500 stereo. As well as being ear-shatteringly loud, the Shaker 500 can deliver a reasonably refined acoustic output. As well as offering individual EQ controls for bass and treble, it features some advanced audio-tweaking options, including a compression mode for playback of digital audio and digital signal processing.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:CNET Networks

The forward view from the driver's seat over the Shelby's hood is reminiscent of staring down the barrel of gun. Flooring the throttle from standing results in a trainlike acceleration, and despite the car's reliance on forced induction, power is very linear without any noticeable surge from the supercharger.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:CNET Networks
Up Next

Six generations of the Ford Mustang (pictures)