First (And Second) Driving Impressions from New 2021 GT500 Owner

After taking delivery back on the 19th of April – and then enduring 2 days of snow and LOTS of salt on the roads… we got FINALLY got rain to clear the roads… and Saturday was the PERFECT day to actually take her out. As luck would have it – our Mustang club had a cruise scheduled – so even better way to take her out on the inaugural tour. I did “protect” the front of the car for the trip – not that I really worry – but I have never done PPF before and the car goes away for a week on May 10… and if I’m spending all this money for PPF and paint correction and ceramic and crap – I might as well keep it as clean as I can… honestly – it’s killing me to worry about this – I never do. So I’ll be SOOO happy when that’s done and I can just drive the car!


One of the challenges on the first real trip out was not so much the car – but the switching of cars… like – forgot to move the EZPass over… damn near locked ourselves out of the house as the HomeLink in the GT500 doesn’t understand our controller and I need to do the button press for new remote on the unit hanging in the garage itself… And other things… which had my wife asking me at one point – “what have you been doing for the last week sitting in the car”… and I honestly don’t know, proablly lost in menus (see below)… I think the new car fumes make me high and happy – and that’s my story. I DID have my Uniden R7 mounted on a blend mount and Mirror – and that worked great.

So out on the road – finally – with 46.6 miles on the odometer. This car is just smooth. I know I went on about the transmission in my first post – and others have as well – but it really is an utter marvel of engineering. You never feel the thing up-shift – it just pulls for days – and with only 50 miles on the car – I’m talking just 1/4 – 1/3 throttle type things. It’s just amazing. Like – I bought THIS car for THIS transmission… so rare is it when you buy something for a single feature (or primary feature) and that HYPED feature not only meets but exceeds your expectations. This thing is all that and a bag of chips (but you can’t eat them in the car). Single best feature IMHO – this alone makes this car a must buy. A transmission…

I’m not a “look at me” kind of guy – the Rapid Red color on this car was all my wife… The paint is really amazing under the sun – great color, she picked REAL GUD… but – as a “grey and silver car guy” – I can tell you 100% this car shows dust, pollen and even minor clear coat scratches SOOOOO much easier and more readily than my typical go to colors. And let me be clear – I’m NOT a detail the car every time I can guy – I run them with a little dirt to show they live… but the “darkness and depth” of this color is gonna probally make me a little more attentive to not being a slob. My C7 Z was a head turner – it was Ceramic Matrix Grey with black trim so rock chips in the paint that showed primer matched the paint color so it always looked “clean and perfect” – and people noticed it. I couldn’t get gas without someone coming over to ask what it was. People would wave, give thumbs up, etc… it was was a very catchy car that seemed to appeal to all but the Tesla / Prius crowd (maybe they liked it but not enough to stop their embrace with a tree). I assumed this car would fly under the radar a bit more as it’s “just a special” Mustang. Maybe it does… but JUST SLIGHTLY. It seems that maybe not EVERYONE looks at this car like it seemed like they did with the C7… BUT – the people who KNOW what this car is – are far more exuberant to wave, thumbs up, smile, make an “O” face, etc. This is not a fly under the radar car at all. Especially if you do the obligatory toggle of the damn exhaust to Track…

Ohh the sounds this car makes. Loved the rumble of the pushrod C7… I have always said the firing order is better on a Coyote and now with 120+ miles on this – there is no damn doubt this car sounds so much better. Our cruse took us through a small local village… of course I have to constantly grab the downshift paddle – and you can hear the damn sound rolling up the street ahead of you and see people tuning their heads… and this is with me in the middle of a pack of other custom exhaust Mustangs. This car my not be the loudest – but there’s something in the stock exhaust notes that gets people attention. The downshift makes it too easy. Pull both paddles (you gotta watch the display to see the gear number dissapear) and you get neutral and give it a little rev under a bridge… And – manual up-shifts – if you hit it at like 3200-3400, you get a satisfying “pop” damn near every time. And you can do this in Manual or Auto modes.

So transmission controls when in Auto… Normal drive mode, the tune the transmission runs an algorithm to save gas I think… to me – it behaves a bit like the A10… it just wants to stay at the lowest RMP it can to slurp gas not guzzle. (nothing makes this car sip gas – nothing). Change the mode to “sport” and the transmission program is be best change – IMHO – the shift points move up into the bottom of the powerband – it holds the RPM’s longer and is juts MORE FUN. And – really – the execution of the paddle interruption is VERY well done. My C7 was a M7… but I test drive the auto… and that thing sucked hard. Slush box and the paddle interrupt was trash – it also held the “manual” way too long after interrupt IMHO. The time the GT500 holds manual mode on the Auto interrupt is just about perfect. The display showing the paddles as active is a nice touch too. Really – you can drive in auto – and know with 100% confidence that you can command things instantly whenever you want… and for the “NoT foR Me wIthOut a mANual” crowd… to be fair – I might have worn out the dead pedal with my left foot Saturday… coming from a manual – this car “feels” like it needs a manual to me so I stomped on the floor often enough out of habit that my wife asked me if I had to go pee. BUT – just like the notion of a touch screen phone with no buttons “how am i going to call someone” – that’s it… nobody worries about that now, technology carried us all forward and this is the same thing. This DCT got me so converted by the final leg of our trip home I was mostly done “pee stomping” the dead pedal and I honestly don’t really miss it – the paddles are really just that satisfying when you want to play. Is it “less engaging” than clutching and shifting – I mean, yes, you are doing “less” – but can you do the same things as clutching and shifting “yes” and you are faster for it. I can’t begrudge Ford for killing the manual – and when looked at through the lens of this DCT execution – once you drive one – seriously…

For the crappy NY roads – Normal suspension is great for making it a “cruiser” – Sport when you know you have smooth stretch with twists and turns, for sure. Steering can almost never be firm enough IMHO, so I get that in Sport first thing. If you are on a long drive of highway and want to feel all lazy or something, maybe you mush it up more… but the Sport setting could be a bit more firm IMHO – specifically for track – but it’s good enough TBH.

When I hit 100 miles – I decided it was OK to move up to 1/2 throttle pulls as the car was all warmed up and the road / tires were warmer than the morning… The only comment here is forward looking – come “broken in” 500 miles… this thing is a GD missile on wheels. Wife’s input from the neck snapping power this puts down at only 1/2 throttle… “I’m glad these headrests are so cushy”. And it’s not just the headrests – the “comfy seats” are just the bomb. Do the Recaro’s “look” better – sure – when the car is parked – but yeah… but I bought her to drive (car not wife) and these seats were 100% the right choice… My @$$ isn’t looking at the seat – it’s enjoying the comfort climate I can provide it. And given how fast this thing can be – it’s probably a long term good thing you can keep that portion of your anatomy cooled :)

Then there the brakes. The C7 Z had one of the shortest stopping distances for a production car.. Google puts this car like within a foot or 2… and personally the weight transfer on this one (vs the C7’s 50/50 distribution) makes this car feel like it stops SHORTER. Like – yeah – wow – impressed.

Now for some honestly – all is not absolutely perfect. And of course – I’m going to throw the stones at the software engineers… Guys – WTF. The menus are a F*C#IN% mess! There’s no logic – it’s like pieces of software from 10 different cars – someone clicked “merge” and the yelled “ship it”. Gauges – sure ok – pick your gauges – they show… but – on the track – tire pressure is important – WTF – that’s under trip menu!? And it’s gotta be the whole display. Then there’s “Easy Entry/Exit” – bro, Ford, bro – I sold the Vette because I’m not 90 and can get in and out on my own, thank you – I personally don’t want the seat moving to let me out and put it so far back I can’t reach the brake without sliding down like a naughty lil boy to reach the brake… to then have the seat push me forward… I could NOT find that – after 30 minutes in the garage WITH the manual and Google… a friendly rando dude on Facebook told me where that gem was hidden. The Sync setting are about the same – not everything you think is configuration is under configuration – anywhere. The manual sorta breaks down the menu selections – but it’s not complete… I mean – it’s a janky mess… I think I figure out where things are and have things set up – like My Mode (Sport steering, track exhaust, sport transmission, normal suspension) and other things – but some day I might want to change something and the menus won’t be assisting me… but… but I was smart… I wrote down all the menu settings and how to get them – by hand, on pounded out papyrus, put it in a waxed leather sheath and buried in the desert… where the Ford archeologists who hid all the menu options will know where to find it… (it’s a shame I can’t make the theme from Indiana Jones play whenever you touch a menu button, it should).

My C7 had this rattle in the interior trim at certain RPM’s – you couldn’t find it because you couldn’t reproduce it unless underway… I appreciate Ford for including that feature as an homage to the Vette. Impressed they were able to reproduce the exact tone, frequency and RPM range on such a different car.

And fuel consumption – not that the C7 was a gas sipper either – but… this thing very clearly, as every one says – needs a frequent flyer card for the nearest station… boo hoo – you want all this in a 760hp package and you are gonna gripe about MPG’s and time between fill-ups… OK boomer…

But that’s it for the list of gripes so far… really…

Overall – I think the reviews out there are pretty spot on for this car – crazy power, great handling (since I can’t really jam on it yet – I did work the curves with some enthusiasm when things warmed up and this thing just stays stuck), clearly the best Mustang yet. People dig it – I dig it – and it’s very comfortable.
The Rock Blockers do their job and don’t make the car look sloppy – get em.
The 5Spurs expensive dial cover – does look a LOT better than the factory knob… is it worth it – I dunno, but I like it.