Arguments about whether American muscle cars or European supercars are better has been ongoing for decades. A standard Ford Mustang, even with plenty of growl in the pipes, can’t compete with the likes of Lamborghini. But the Shelby GT500 is hardly a standard Mustang.
The 2020 Shelby GT500 has the horsepower to demand respect from its American competitors and European supercars. The Shelby GT500’s Road & Track Performance Car of the Year award proves this pony car’s performance chops. But can it really beat a Lambo head-to-head?
The Mustang Shelby GT500 beats the Lamborghini Huracán EVO
Traditionally speaking, one should avoid pitting American muscle cars against European supercars. Muscle cars are designed for straight-line performance and the drag strip. European supercars are better known for handling and performance on the Autobahn or oval. So eyebrows raised when Automobile Magazine challenged the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and Lamborghini Huracán EVO to a race.
In 2020, the performance gap between Detroit and Italy has narrowed considerably. Horsepower on both continents exceeds 600, and the torque produced is in excess of 400 lb-ft.
However, in the minds of most auto enthusiasts, the Ford Mustang is a working man’s car you take to the shop, add some performance-boosting after-market features, and then take out to the strip to challenge friends and neighbors on the weekend.
In contrast, the Lamborghini represents the world of the elite, capable of slapping down a half-million bucks on a sports car. To the surprise of American muscle car lovers in greasy overalls and the disappointment of Italians, the Lambo was no match for the Shelby in this race.
How did the Shelby GT500 best the Lambo?
Before any great bout, one must examine the tale of the tape. The Lamborghini Huracán EVO came into the race with a V10, 5.2-liter engine capable of producing 631 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque with more aerodynamic lines and a heady reputation. The 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 entered the race with a supercharged 5.2-liter V-8 Predator with the capacity to produce 760 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque, a spectacular chassis, and an aggressive, muscular look.
To harness the Huracán EVO’s power, Italian automakers included magnetorheological dampers and variable-ratio and rear-wheel steering in their design. The Shelby borrowed a page from Lamborghini’s design book, adding features that are unheard of on American muscle cars, including a dual-clutch transmission (a first for Mustang) and magnetorheological dampers.
Defying tradition, the Shelby GT500 not only possesses the raw power of a muscle car to put European competitors in their place, but it also added features to produce smoother, supercar-like handling on the road and oval. That’s a far cry from a greasy home-shop overhaul.
Automobile Magazine argues that the only car at its Automobile All-Stars competition that might’ve gone nose-to-nose with the Shelby is the Ferrari F8 Tributo. But nothing coming out of Italy costs less than six figures. That makes the Shelby’s win over the Lambo that much sweeter.
Thanks to the Shelby GT500, American muscle car lovers have new bragging rights
The best way to judge the strength of a contender is by the strength of its competitors. The Huracán EVO is no weak, second-class supercar. It’s a fire-breathing, spine-tingling machine. The 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 is all that and more. So go ahead, American muscle car lovers, puff up your chests.