It’s like comparing apples to oranges, but with plenty of horsepower in the mix

The Shelby GT500 returned in 2019 after a five-year hiatus as the most powerful street-legal Ford, even when compared to the GT supercar. Now more track-ready than ever, the GT500 also borrows technology from the Mustang GT4 race car in order to compete with the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat (or even the Demon?) and the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. But is this 760-horsepower muscle car good enough to compete with higher-performance vehicles, like the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera? Let’s find out in the comparison below.

Exterior

2020 Ford Mustang Shleby GT500 vs 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera
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Although both the Shelby GT500 and the DBS Superleggera are two-door coupes, they look notably different. The main reason for this is that the DBS Superleggera was designed as a sporty, sleek grand tourer, while the GT500 is just a beefed-up version of a sporty yet not overly aggressive coupe.

Front

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Granted, the GT500 looks rather mean up front thanks to the massive center opening that extends from the nose to the splitter — and the big side vents and slim headlamps help too — but the overall tall front fascia prevents it from matching the Superleggera’s looks. The latter is a full-blown supercar up front. The lowered nose, the sloping engine hood, and the headlamps mounted on the fenders and hood instead of in the fascia are all design cues seen on serious, power-packed supercars.

Side

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I can spot similar differences to the profile. While the Shelby GT500 has an appealing degree of sleekness, the DBS sits closer to the ground and has a lower roof as well. The numbers speak for themselves here: while the GT500 is 54 inches tall, the DBS Superleggera is only 50 inches tall. You can always ignore an inch, but four inches make a big difference. The DBS is also some five inches wider, and it has a four-inch longer wheelbase and both help with a more planted stance.

Rear

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The DBS Superleggera also has the narrower rear fascia, also due to the fact that the entire car is flatter than your average two-door coupe. There are sleek taillights mounted at the upper section of the fascia, a clean center section, and a black lower element that includes the quad-exhaust pipes and license plate. Below that, a diffuser extends almost like a separate piece, as seen on full-fledged race cars. The GT500, on the other hand, is a plain Ford Mustang with a wing on the deck lid and a more aggressive diffuser in the lower bumper.

All told, while the Shelby GT500 looks as sporty as aggressive muscle cars get, it can’t match the supercar looks of the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera.

Interior

2020 Ford Mustang Shleby GT500 vs 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera
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The biggest difference comes from the fact that these cars compete in different segments

These coupes obviously have different interior designs, but the biggest difference comes from the fact that they compete in different segments. While the Shelby GT500 is based on an affordable performance coupe, the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera is a luxury grand tourer.

The GT500’s dashboard is virtually identical to the regular Mustang, so it’s relatively old. The current Mustang was unveiled in 2013, and its interior hasn’t changed much in the pony car’s six years on the market (as of 2019). It’s not yet dated, but some features, like the center stack with its massive buttons and knobs, look old enough. The small display placed in the center stack is small for modern standards and not exactly comfortable for the driver to operate due to its position. The passenger-side dash doesn’t very appealing either - unless you’re a fan of car interiors from the 1990s, that is.

2020 Ford Mustang Shleby GT500 vs 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Exterior
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The DBS Superleggera's cabin is an almost exact copy of the DB11

The instrument cluster is decidedly more modern thanks to its 12-inch diagonal and model-specific graphics. Race-inspired seats with integrated headrests are standard, as is the leather upholstery. For extra comfort, you’ll have to order the power-adjustable seats with suede inserts off the options list. This list also includes cool features like carbon-fiber trim for the dashboard and Dark Slate suede inserts with accent stitching for the door panels. Features that should be standard if you ask me. The premium, 12-speaker B&O Play audio system is also optional.

The DBS Superleggera’s cabin is an almost exact copy of the DB11. This isn’t bad news though, as the DB11 is relatively fresh, having been launched for the 2017 model year. Just like the GT500, it features a rather cluttered center stack, but at least the infotainment display is placed higher, and it’s bigger. The all-digital instrument cluster is just as big as the GT500’s at 12 inches and offers three different looks, based on the driving mode in use.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
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Passenger space is similar, as in rear passengers won't be very comfortable during long rides

The standard tech package is pretty decent and includes satellite navigation with wi-fi, an audio system with DAB, Bluetooth audio and phone streaming, iPod, iPhone, and USB compatibility, a 360-degree camera with Parking Distance Display and Park Assist, tire pressure monitoring and keyless entry.

The leather upholstery with Alcantara is also standard, and unlike the GT500, the DBS can be specified with a massive amount of color combinations. You can also select Aston Martin’s new Nexus quilting and Celestial perforation, as well as pick from aluminum, open-pore wood, carbon-fiber, or chopped carbon-fiber trim. The sports seats come standard.

Passenger space is similar, as in rear passengers won’t be very comfortable during long rides. Don’t expect to fit more than two trolley bags and smaller carry-on luggage in any of the trunks.

Drivetrain & Performance

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
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Powered by a supercharged, 5.2-liter V-8 engine, the Shelby GT500 hits the pavement with 760 horsepower

The Shelby GT500 might not be as fancy as the DBS Superleggera inside the cabin, but it definitely has what it takes to give this British grand tourer a run for its money.

Powered by a supercharged, 5.2-liter V-8 engine, this beefed-up Mustang hits the pavement with 760 horsepower and 625 pound-feet of torque on tap. Is that a lot? Well, it’s definitely enough to climb above the DBS Superleggera on paper.

The British coupe’s engine is just as large at 5.2 liters, but it features a V-12 layout, so it has four extra cylinders. It also features two turbochargers instead of a blower. This combination cranks out 715 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. That’s 45 horses less, but 39 pound-feet more than the GT500.

2020 Ford Mustang Shleby GT500 vs 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera
2020 Ford Mustang Shleby GT500 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera
Engine V-8 V-12
Displacement 5.2-liter 5.2-liter
Horsepower 760 HP 715 HP
Torque 650 LB-FT 663 LB-FT
2020 Ford Mustang Shleby GT500 vs 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera
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The GT500 is one or two tenths slower than the DBS Superleggera

These variations in power and torque seem to put the two vehicles on par, an assumption backed by the 0-to-60 mph sprints. Aston Martin’s official claim for the DBS Superleggera quotes a sprint to 62 mph of 3.4 seconds. This means that the DBS could get to 60 mph in as low as 3.3 seconds. As for the GT500, Ford only said it hit 60 mph in a mid-three-second sprint. This could be anywhere between 3.4 to 3.6 seconds. Since the old GT500 needed 3.5 seconds, let’s assume that the new GT500 will be at least as quick. This means that the GT500 is one or two tenths slower than the DBS Superleggera, which isn’t bad at all.

Ford also claims that the GT500 needs less than 11 seconds to cover the quarter-mile, but the DBS Superleggera could be just as quick, if not a tad quicker. Unfortunately, Aston Martin didn’t provide such information. There’s no word on the GT500’s top speed either. The previous GT500 topped out at 202 mph, so the new muscle car should be faster. I’d say the new Shebly should hit at least 205 mph, but it probably won’t get past the 207-mph mark. As impressive as that sounds, it will slower than the DBS Superleggera, which hits a top speed of 211 mph. Aston Martins traditionally have higher top speeds than Fords, and that’s not going to change very soon.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
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Both cars are sold with automatic transmissions only

While supercharged engines are often labeled as "dated technology," Ford actually used state-of-the-art parts for the GT500. For the first time ever, it features an inverted supercharger with an air-to-liquid intercooler, a shift that also creates a lower center of gravity. The supercharger is also designed for the car’s various modes, including normal, weather, drag, and track. It works in conjunction with the line-lock and launch control features as well.

For the first time even, Aston Martin’s range-topping grand tourer features a turbocharged V-12. The Brits strapped a pair of turbos to the 5.2-liter engine, increasing power and especially torque over the old naturally aspirated V-12. This is the main reason why Aston Martin’s engine delivers more torque than Ford’s V-8. The DBS doesn’t have as many dynamic modes as the Shelby GT500, but you can drive in GT, Sport, and Sport Plus setups.

Both cars have automatic transmissions. However, while the DBS Superleggera comes with the classic eight-speed automatic from ZF, the Shelby GT500 is fitted with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

2020 Ford Mustang Shleby GT500 vs 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera
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The Shelby GT500 is probably the better car on the race course

When it comes to suspension and braking systems, both cars ride on sporty setups. The DBS features a new suspension geometry with more camber at all corners than other Aston Martins, as well as adaptive dampers as standard. These are combined with double wishbones in the front and a multi-link layout in the rear. The mechanical limited-slip differential also features Dynamic Stability Control and Dynamic Torque vectoring for improved cornering capability. The DBS features massive carbon-ceramic brake discs too, measuring 16.1 inches in the front and 14.2 inches in the rear.

The Shelby GT500 has a similar suspension setup with wishbones in the front and a five-link layout in the rear. However, the GT500 takes many of its components from the Mustang GT4 race car, including the suspension geometry, the lighter coil springs, and the active MagneRide system. Stopping power comes from race-ready discs and six-piston calipers by Brembo. The front discs are actually larger than the DBS’, measuring a whopping 16.5 inches. These rotors are also the largest of any American sports coupe.

Although the DBS Superleggera is likely a blast at the race track, the GT500 is probably the better car on the race course. That’s mostly because many suspension and engine components are sourced from the Mustang GT4 race car and the GT supercar.

Final Thoughts

2020 Ford Mustang Shleby GT500 vs 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Exterior
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While the DBS Superleggera is a proper grand tourer that you can use to travel in style, the GT500 is an old-school muscle car that you can take to the races

The Shelby GT500 and the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera are two completely different cars. Sure, they share the two-door coupe, front-engined, and rear-wheel-driven layouts, but other than that, they were built for different people and different purposes. While the DBS Superleggera is a proper grand tourer that you can use to travel in style, the GT500 is an old-school muscle car that you can take to the races, be it on the course or the drag strip.

2020 Ford Mustang Shleby GT500 vs 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera
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They’re equally powerful and rides on similar suspension setups, but the GT500 is the more race-oriented car with internals borrowed from the GT and Mustang GT4. Likewise, the DBS Superleggera has the fancier interior with nicer leather and a ton of extra options. The GT500 is closer to a no-nonsense sports car, whereas the DBS Superleggera is almost as luxurious as a Rolls-Royce, but with less passenger space.

Then there’s the massive price gap between the two. Pricing information for the Shelby GT500 is not yet available, but it should cost around $70,000. The limited-production status could take it close to $80,000, but I’m dead sure it won’t hit the $90,000 mark. The DBS Superleggera, on the other hand, costs a whopping $304,995 before options in the U.S. I’m pretty sure pricing plays a vital role here, especially given the GT500’s race-ready nature.

Further reading

2020 Ford Mustang Shleby GT500 vs 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500.

2020 Ford Mustang Shleby GT500 vs 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera.

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