On the one hand it is proof that petrolheads still run Ford and an expression of its commitment to building ultimate muscle cars, even when it puts the Mustang badge on an electric SUV. On the other hand you could argue that it’s no more or less than what's required in order to keep pace with the Big Three’s Stateside arms race, which has inspired the creation of cars such as the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and Dodge SRT Hellcat Redeye. That’s the 786hp Hellcar Redeye.
The GT500's power runs to the rear wheels through a seven speed double clutch transmission. No manual gearbox is available, the six speed stick shift being reserved for the arguably purer 519bhp GT350 and GT350R. Perhaps the most obvious result of the decision to standardise on a DCT is that it allows Ford to claim a 3.3sec 0-60mph run in ideal circumstances; an absolutely eye-popping number for a front-engined, rear-wheel drive car. Top speed, however is limited to 180mph, down from the 200mph of its far less powerful 2014 GT500 predecessor, but more than fast enough for most.
The GT500 comes with bespoke suspension with unique spring, damper and roll bar settings, largely to offset the enormous 212kg weight penalty that the supercharger and gearbox bring relative to the GT350R. Twenty inch wheels are a necessity too as they house 420mm brake discs, the largest ever fitted to a Ford road car.
Nuts, but not in quite the way you might think. With the exhausts set to the rortiest of their four settings, it’s probably the loudest homologated road car I’ve driven. It is the sound of America turned up until the knob breaks off the dial. The acceleration is such that the ridiculous headline numbers actually seem plausible, not least because of the speed with which the gearbox slams through its shifts. This should be an experience so violent, so awe-inducing you might conclude that the only way of dealing with it is to pretend it’s happening to someone else.
But it’s not like that at all, and I’m still wrestling with whether that is a good thing or not. Because, in a straight line, this Mustang is almost too good. Traction is so strong that on but rarely smooth roads you can use all the power even in second gear so long as the road is also clear and empty. And those shifts: they don’t come hand in hand with a punch in the kidneys at all. In fact they’re remarkably smooth.