• Muscle Meets Sexy as the Shelby GT500 Dukes it Out with a BMW M8 Competition

In a race between high-powered sports coupes, only one will be crowned the winner

The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and the BMW M8 Competition are two of the fiercest sports coupes in the market. They’re also completely different from one another in ways that are obvious. One is an American muscle car that’s more than willing to chop anyone’s head of with brute force and power. The other is a German rocket brimming with premium bits and pieces. One is also far more expensive than the other, which we’ll set aside in favor of a more pressing question: which of these two sports coupes would win in a drag race? Our friends from Edmunds sought an answer and the results will surprise you.

Despite their different backgrounds and very different identities, the Ford Shelby GT500 and the BMW M8 Competition do share a few things in common, or close to it. Both are powered by V-8 engines; the Shelby rocks a supercharged 5.2-liter V-8 while the M8 Competition comes with a 4.4-liter twin-turbo.

For the most part, though, the numbers point to the American muscle car having the advantage over its German rival. The Shelby GT500’s V-8 produces a lot more power: 760 horsepower and 625 pound-feet of torque compared to the M8 Competition’s V-8, which cranks out 617 horsepower and 533 pound-feet of torque.

Muscle Meets Sexy as the Shelby GT500 Dukes it Out with a BMW M8 Competition
- image 950411

The Shelby GT500 is also lighter by 70 pounds. It tips the scales at 4,225 pounds compared to the M8 Competition, which weighs 4,295 pounds. Basically, the American muscle car is lighter and it’s also more powerful than its German adversary, creating a recipe for success.

Not exactly.

Muscle Meets Sexy as the Shelby GT500 Dukes it Out with a BMW M8 Competition
- image 950414

Here’s the thing about drag races. Weight and power are great advantages, but they’re also not the only advantages a car can have in this type of straight-line racing. Driving layout is also very important, maybe even more than raw power. The traction an all-wheel-drive car gets on the tarmac is superior to what a rear-wheel-drive car gets. Driving aids like launch control are also critical to getting a super jump at the start line. Technically, a car that has less power than its opponent and is also heavier than its opponent can still beat said rival in a drag race.

Did the BMW M8 Competition beat the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 in a drag race?

Muscle Meets Sexy as the Shelby GT500 Dukes it Out with a BMW M8 Competition
- image 950415

We’re not above spoiling drag race results, but we’re saving ourselves from doing that here, not because we don’t want to give the results away, but because we want you to see while power and weight play huge roles in a car’s chances of winning a drag race, so do drive layouts and driver aids.

Edmunds raced the two sports coupes four times under different scenarios, and of those four races, one coupe won three of them. We won’t say which one it is, but again, the results are somewhat surprising, especially if you expressed confidence in one car over the other.

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
About the author

Related Articles

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

2019 BMW M8

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: