The 2012 Shelby GT500 Mustang

The Shelby GT500 Mustang returns once again for the 2012 model year. Looking back, the car was re-engineered in its 2011 model year. The 2012 model features all the previous improvements, with the addition of Selectable steering that tailors the driving experience to fit the driver’s needs.

Other new features include an interior upgrade with optional SVT-designed Recaro front seats that Ford says was designed to combine road racing inspiration with purposeful, high-performance Mustang design.

In all, the 2012 Shelby GT500 Mustang is a lot like the previous model year with a few additional improvements. With 550 hp under the hood, and stunning looks to match, the car is a force to be reckoned with.

New for 2012

Interior upgrade with optional SVT-designed Recaro front seats
The latest technology such as SYNC & AppLink
Selectable steering tailored to driver’s needs
Illuminated dual visor vanity mirrors
Universal garage door opener
Multipurpose sun visor storage

New Selectable Steering
According to Ford, selectable steering offers drivers with a choice of three custom settings. The driver can select the steering effort depending on his or her style of driving. The Shelby GT500’s settings were specifically tuned on both the base car and Performance Package configurations. Ford says the assist levels are less than other Mustang models, since the Shelby GT500 customer typically demands more road feel.

Comfort mode provides the least amount of road force felt through the steering wheel and requires the least amount of steering effort, which was designed for long, relaxing drives. A standard mode also is available and is a balance between the comfort and sport settings. The settings are accessed and programmed through the message center. “It’s one more feature we’ve developed to tailor the vehicle to fit customers’ likings,” explained Kerry Baldori, SVT global performance vehicle chief functional engineer. “Our engineers have tuned and developed three separate modes so customers can select the one appropriate for almost any situation.”

Ford says engineers took advantage of electric power-assisted steering (EPAS), first introduced on the 2011 Shelby GT500, to provide lower efforts for parking and low-speed agility without sacrificing on-road feel. Additionally, when the customer selects sport or off mode within AdvanceTrac, Ford’s stability control system, the vehicle automatically switches the steering to the sport mode for improved road feel and higher, more progressive efforts. Also in that mode, active nibble control and drift pull compensation are shut off to give the customer maximum road feel in aggressive driving maneuvers.

New SVT/Recaro Performance Seats
The 2012 Shelby GT500 also features optional leather-trimmed sport bucket front seats designed by SVT in cooperation with Recaro ($1,595). Ford says the seats, which feature an embroidered “cobra” logo, enhance the high-performance driving experience. Lateral bolsters in the cushion and seat back are used to improve support needed on the track during hard cornering and to deliver a comfortable ride. The seats are colormatched to the car’s exterior stripes. They also come complete with integrated head restraints with ample room for drivers and passengers wearing helmets on the track. Openings on the seat back also are included for customers looking to create performance setups for their car on track days.

“These seats are designed to deliver optimum driver control and comfort,” said Jamal Hameedi, SVT chief nameplate engineer. “I have been sitting in them for months now and have never wanted more support or more comfort when driving, even on long road trips or at the racetrack.”

The optional Recaro seats, which are also featured in the 2012 Boss 302 Mustang, are the result of a global team effort led by SVT along with the Mustang engineering group in North America, Team RS in Europe, and Recaro.

The Latest Technology
Ford says The Shelby GT500 is the first vehicle in the Mustang lineup to offer AppLink with the standard SYNC interface, as well as being integrated into the optional voice-activated Navigation System and providing the additional convenience of an 8-inch touch screen for control. AppLink is the free software program that gives SYNC users voice control of apps stored on their smartphone. Co-developed with Ford, the Clarion Navigation System available on Shelby GT500 is loaded with a number of features and functions designed to provide customers a superior level of connectivity and information, including an extensive set of navigation tools as well as up-to-the-minute news about weather, traffic, fuel prices, movie listings and more through SiriusXM Traffic and SiriusXM Travel Link.

Performance and Handling
The 2012 Shelby GT500 Mustang is once again powered by a supercharged 5.4-liter DOHC V8 engine. Total output is an impressive 550 hp @ 6,200 rpm, with the car achieving 510 lb.-ft. torque at 4,250 rpm. Fords EPA gas mileage estimates for the car are 15 mpg city/23 mpg highway, and as with the 2011 model, the 2012 Shelby GT500 does not include a gas guzzler tax.

The car is available with a stick shift option only, featuring Ford’s TREMEC® 6-speed manual transmission. Brembo front rotors and calipers are standard equipment, as is a 3.55 Rear Axle Ratio. The selectable Electronic Power Assist Steering (EPAS) is also a standard feature.

The 2012 GT500 also features the optional Ford SVT Performance package ($3,995). The purchase of this option comes with a 3.73 limited-slip rear axle,19-inch painted forged-aluminum front wheels, 20-inch painted forged-aluminum rear wheels (with P265/40ZR19(F) P285/35ZR20(R) tires), high-performance front and rear springs, unique front and rear stabilizer bars, specialized rear shocks, a rear spoiler with distinctive Gurney flap, a custom gear shift knob, and unique exterior stripes.

Exterior Looks, Pricing, and Availability

Performance package or not, the Shelby GT500 Mustang gets noticed wherever it goes. Standard features include Dual Stainless-steel exhaust with 4-inch tips, automatic HID Headlamps, Fog lamps, LED Sequential Tail Lamps, and a Shelby rear decklid spoiler. It also features a Unique Shelby Front/Rear Facia and Shelby GT500 Badging on faux gas cap. There is a Shelby badge on the rear decklid and a Cobra badge on Shelby front fender and grille. It sports an aggressive looking hood thanks to its Aluminum design with dual heat extractor. Over-the-top racing stripes and GT500 side stripes are also standard, with a tape stripe delete available as an option.

In addition to being offered as a coupe, the Shelby GT500 Mustang is also available as a convertible. Coupe owners can opt for the optional glass top roof ($1,995).

The 2012 Shelby GT500 has a starting MSRP of $48,810, while the convertible starts at $53,810. Unlike a post-title Shelby Mustang package, the GT500 Mustang is built at Ford’s AutoAlliance International Plant in Flat Rock, Michigan.