2017 Shelby Super Snake review

No name is more synonymous with high performance Ford Mustangs than Shelby.

Ford offers its own line of hi-po Ponies with its GT350 and GT500 models, but if you want something wearing the signature of Carroll Shelby you need to turn to Shelby American.

The team at Mustang Motorsport is Australia’s officially authorised Shelby American ‘mod shop’ and this is currently its biggest and baddest offering, the Super Snake.

The Super Snake package includes a supercharger to lift power to 500kW, Shelby’s track handling package, 20-inch wheels with tyres measuring 275/35 (front) and 305/30 (rear), huge Wilwood brakes, an aggressive bodykit and a variety of cosmetic upgrades including 50th Anniversary badging for 2017 models such as the one tested here.

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Our test car, though, goes even further, with the optional 2.9-litre Whipple supercharger hoisting outputs further to 559kW/867Nm as well as custom wheels and an interior retrim.

It’s a menacing beast, and the intimidation factor increases when the engine explodes into life with a press of the starter button. This is one of the fiercest exhaust notes ever heard and on the move the noise hardens again, enveloping the driver with its V8 orchestra.

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Throttle response is sharp and when you finally build up to flooring the throttle it lunges forward with a supercharged scream. Acceleration is brutal and only intensifies as redline approaches - this is a fearsomely quick car.

We didn’t have the chance to performance test and as ever on street tyres off-the-line traction would be a problem but the seat of the pants says the trap speed would be well in excess of 200km/h.

The six-speed auto fitted to this car gets a bit confused when left to its own devices with this amount of grunt, often second-guessing its gear selection and hunting for the right ratio, but selecting manual mode easily remedies this, as would optioning a manual gearbox.

Another component overwhelmed by the amount of power is the standard diff; admittedly for street use you’re never going to notice, but if you’re a fan of clowning around on track like us Shelby’s Wavetrack diff is a worthwhile upgrade.

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Possibly the biggest surprise regarding the Super Snake is just how refined it is. Not in an NVH way, as those enormous tyres create plenty of road roar and the engine noise is an ever-present partner, but its ride quality is impressive.

It’s firm, but the dampers have enough compliance to cushion most bumps which makes it a relatively relaxing cruiser, just as a muscle car should be. It’s not the sharpest handling tool in the shed yet neither is the standard Mustang and if you’re careful most of the 750hp makes it to the ground without too much fuss.

The Super Snake isn’t cheap, adding around $90K to the cost of a standard Mustang depending on exactly which options boxes you tick, but while that’s a lot of money for a Mustang it’s pretty cheap for 559kW. Few cars at a similar price have this level of acceleration and this level of attitude!

It might seem crazy to some, but the Super Snake’s charms are such that I could see some trading in a C63 Coupe or M4 for a taste of Shelby.

2017 SHELBY SUPER SNAKE SPECS
ENGINE:
 4951cc V8, DOHC, 32v, supercharger
POWER: 559kW
TORQUE: 867Nm
WEIGHT: 1750kg
0-100km/h: 3.8sec (claimed)
PRICE: $154,490 (as-tested)

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