The 2010 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 is the most powerful production muscle car on the market right now, but only until the GT500 Super Snake hits the road. Normally, when a new tuner muscle car hits the road, you marvel at the power and the styling updates. With the immense power of the Super Snake, figuring out how many of them will end up in a ditch beside the road is the first thing that comes to mind.
Let me explain that last sentence. The 2010 GT500 Super Snake is so mind-bogglingly powerful that you had better be a great driver if you even want to think about pushing the gas pedal to the floor. And you’d better be darn sure that the nose is pointed straight when accelerating out of a corner, or else you’ll end up in the aforementioned ditch.
The reason for all this madness is the supercharged 5.4-liter V8 under the hood. The same base engine comes in the already powerful Shelby GT500 Mustang, and that one has a supercharger, too. So what’s the difference? The Whipple supercharger on the Super Snake adds 16 p.s.i. of boost, increasing the power output to a ridiculous 750 horsepower and 710 lb-ft of torque. If you felt the need, you could easily spin the tires from first gear all the way up to fourth. The Super Snake can do a standing quarter mile in 12 seconds flat, crossing the line at 120 mph. This is definitely impressive, but most drivers will have worn through their tires after 100 yards, so that kind of takes the fun out of it.
If, however, you can get the feel of the Super Snake, and are attuned to the intricacies of the throttle, this is quite simply the best muscle car in the world. Ever. Making the perfect muscle car seems pretty simple: powerful V8 under the hood, slick, mean styling, and an American automaker’s badge. The Super Snake takes this formula to a whole new level, but it doesn’t sacrifice the luxuries to do it.
A lot of tuner muscle cars sacrifice comfort for speed. After all, padding in the seats just adds weight, so a sore bottom is a small price to pay for dropping 3 pounds. The Super Snake’s interior, however, is almost exactly the same as the regular 2010 Mustang GT500. The seats are comfortable, but provide enough support to keep you upright and secure. All the gadgets are in place, the air conditioning unit is still there, it seems like a normal car from the inside, excluding, of course, the A-pillar mounted boost gauges that give you status updates on the supercharger’s pressure.
The exterior takes the already impressive 2010 Mustang style and makes it meaner and leaner. The Super Snake’s hood is essentially just one giant scoop pushing air into the supercharger, and a carbon fiber front splitter helps generate downforce to keep this beast on the road instead of rocketing into space. The entire stance of the car has been lowered and made more aggressive compared to the stock Mustang. The Ford Racing suspension drops the wheel arches a whisker above the 20-inch cast-aluminum Alcoa wheels. Those wheels cover a 14-inch Baer braking system with six-piston calipers which provide the immense stopping power necessary to tame the engine’s power (60 mph to 0 in 114 feet).
The 2010 Shelby GT500 Super Snake represents the qualities of a muscle car taken to the extreme. Unfortunately, that also applies to the downsides of muscle cars as well. For all their power and looks, muscle cars never really like taking corners. Yes, there have been huge advancements in suspension and steering technologies over the past few years, but American muscle has never really been able to compete with a low-slung European sports car on winding corners. The Super Snake takes this mild drawback and really puts it into the forefront. It is capable of immense speeds in a straight line, but if you want to safely handle a corner, you’ll have to mash the brakes or risk losing control while trying to hit an apex. When even the smallest throttle adjustment can call up 710 lb-ft of torque from the engine, there’s no such thing as mild speed corrections in corners. You either get it right the first time or bad things happen.
For what it is, an absolutely insane, balls-to-the-wall muscle car, the 2010 Shelby GT500 Super Snake takes top prize. There is no street-legal muscle car on the market that can compare. The price tag of $85,000 also puts it in a league of its own. But the fault of the Super Snake (too much power to handle well) is also its greatest selling point (over 700 horses!). As long as you don’t plan on going through any turns, there’s probably no better, or funner, way to spend $85k.