by Sebastian Cenizo
Isn't it funny that a car that was meant to flip the bird at one of the most exclusive automakers in history is now a car that is even more difficult to obtain than most Ferraris? The Ford GT is not only a car that will be produced for a limited period, but it's also incredibly difficult for prospective buyers to be approved to buy one. This isn't just a financing issue since the GT is a relatively-affordable-for-a-limited-model $500,000, the problem is that Ford doesn't want resellers and chance-takers buying the car simply for bragging rights or a quick buck. No, to own a GT today means proving your worth as a client. As much as Ford sells you a car, so must you sell yourself as an aficionado. Once you've successfully gained approval, you must then wait some time, since the interior of the GT is tailored to your body with fixed seats. Nevertheless, when it does arrive, you get a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that sends a whopping 660 horsepower (after the 2020 update) and 550 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels, exclusively via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
The Ford GT was resurrected in 2017 as a 50-year anniversary celebration of the original 1966 Le Mans-winning, Ferrari-besting racecar, called the GT40. However, the GT existed in between these two generations as a second-generation model that was first produced in 2005. That version was powered by a 5.4-liter supercharged V8 producing 550 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. With the 2017 rebirth of the model, visual cues were similar and the overall shape was clearly inspired by the original and the retro 2005 model, but with all-new everything. The motor, body, brakes, suspension - every part of the car was completely redesigned, and that model is what underpins today's GT. Developed alongside the racecar that went back to France to race, the GT got a built-in roll-cage and a race-developed chassis, while the body was constructed predominantly out of carbon fiber. 647 hp was developed out of the twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6, with the 2020 model increasing that by 13 hp and offering a fatter torque spread.
For 2020, the current generation has been updated with numerous advances including a 13 hp increase in power, tuning that provides a wider torque curve, and a number of mechanical and aesthetic upgrades too. These include new gallery-cooled pistons, bigger air ducts, larger intercoolers, improved ignition coils, upgraded suspension tuning, and a titanium Akrapovic exhaust system that is nine pounds lighter than the old setup. Two new appearance packages are included with the updates too, with the gorgeous Gulf livery-inspired Heritage Edition gaining carbon wheels and a change in the door number from 9 to 6, in honor of the race-winning GT40 chassis from 1968 and '69. A new limited-edition Liquid Carbon package is also available, with the carbon-fiber body being painted with nothing but clear-coat lacquer and the wheels also being forged from carbon fiber.
Where does one start? The Ford GT is a visually arresting beauty that features a gaping pair of vents in the hood that contribute to downforce, with LED lighting in a modern interpretation of the classic that this model was inspired by. The carbon fiber body features gullwing-doors that taper towards massive vents feeding the mid-mounted engine, with buttresses linking the narrowing body and the wide rear fenders. At each corner, forged lightweight aluminum or even carbon fiber 20-inch wheels can be fitted. Moving to the rear, a massive active wing can deploy above the twin exhaust outlets, while the combination of a huge diffuser and functional vents help add width. For those who haven't picked this up yet, take a look at the GT's round taillights and exhaust pipes. If you're a fan of Angry Birds, you may notice the face of a non-Kosher character from the game there.
The GT is wide - really wide. Including the mirrors, it measures 88.1 inches across. With them folded, you'll still have a girth of 83.2 inches, while the body itself makes up for 78.9 of those inches. At normal ride height, the GT is 43.7 inches tall, while the adaptive suspension can drop that figure by two inches. Length from nose to tail is 187.5 inches with a wheelbase of 106.7 inches. The GT's dry weight without fluids is impressively low, with the supercar tipping the scales at 3,054 lbs - thank the extensive use of carbon fiber for that.
The GT is available in numerous customized configurations, but our favorite is by far and away the color scheme of the Heritage Edition. This version features the iconic orange and blue of Gulf Oil, with a thin black pinstripe separating the two colors and an exposed carbon fiber race number - 6 - showing on the doors. Other paint options include Frozen White, Ingot Silver, Liquid Blue, Triple Yellow, Shadow Black, Liquid Grey, Liquid Red, and Matte Black, while stripes can be added in Frozen White, Shadow Black, Ingot Silver, Alloy, Lightning Blue, Race Red, or Competition Orange. If you don't want any paint at all, the limited-edition Liquid Carbon spec simply adds a clear gloss finish to the carbon body. If that's too much for you, the front lip, side skirts, and rear diffuser can be finished in Shadow Black or your choice of matte or gloss carbon fiber.
The GT is a car that was developed as a racecar first and foremost, with tuning and tweaking happening on track. However, the road car is more powerful than the track-going version on which it is based, since pesky competition regulations limit output. Without those shackles, the roadgoing model is free to breathe. Its mid-mounted twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 produces an exhilarating 660 hp (up from 647 hp in its original pre-2020 form) and 550 lb-ft of torque, and to ensure your hands stay on the wheel, the GT is only available with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Ferociously quick, the gearbox bangs through the gears faster than you can blink, and that power plant behind your head provides a surprisingly attractive tone. Line up next to something fast, engage launch control, and prepare your neck for a 0-60 mph time around of around three seconds flat. If you find a track, or a stretch of road long enough to risk a healthy fine and an extended all-expenses-paid trip to your local penitentiary, the GT will keep pulling all the way to 216 mph.
While the car itself is exclusive, so is the powertrain configuration. Like all true supercars, the manufacturer tells you what you're getting - not the other way round. While the twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost sitting in the middle of the GT can also be found in a state of lesser tune in products like the Ford Raptor, here it makes even more power, and thanks to small but meaningful updates only applied to the GT for 2020, this version of the engine is better equipped to deal with full-bore track attacks. With an upgrade of 13 hp for 2020 it now produces 660 hp and 550 lb-ft of torque, and with a lightning-quick seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, the Ford GT is a rocketship that can hang with cars double its price. Thanks to an adaptive exhaust system, the GT also avoids being a complete irritation for anyone in a three-mile radius, and while it is a supercar, Ford is very good at making civilized and sensible road cars. Thus, you can put it into one of its more laidback modes and get rather relaxed gearshifts and throttle response.
While we wouldn't call the GT an off-road capable, lofty curb climber, the adaptive suspension allows you to lower the car by two inches through a hydraulic setup that brings the supercar even closer to the earth, thus enabling even more astonishing handling. In this Track mode, the dampers have benefited from increased stiffening, while the wind tunnel-developed body channels air all around the car in ways that enhance grip downforce while minimizing drag. An adaptive rear spoiler also raises at high speed to improve stability and the result is flat-out low-speed corners and total high-speed straight-line confidence. Body roll is nonexistent and the steering is so sharply direct that it's almost telepathic. Thankfully, that steering setup is a hydraulic system, so feel is there in buckets too, telegraphing what the rubber in front of you is doing.
With massive Brembo carbon-ceramic 15.5-inch discs in front and 14.1-inch discs at the rear, the six- and four-piston calipers have plenty of surface area to bite down on, resulting in the kind of braking that will melt your face just as well as the acceleration will rearrange your internal organs. They're not entirely responsible for that facial rearrangement though - the rear wing acts as an air-brake too. The adaptive suspension isn't unbearable for road use either, assuming that you're willing to risk stone chips and the drool of other motorists. However, this car was built for the track and Ford wants it to be used there. It'd be a waste not to take advantage of that.
Although most owners won't care, the Ford GT returns 12/18/14 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. With a 15.2-gallon gas tank, mixed range is around 212 miles. This equates to around 118 of the most boring Willow Springs International Raceway laps ever known to man. Interestingly, the old 2005 5.4-liter supercharged V8 Ford GT was slightly better on the economy run, with figures of 12/19/14 mpg on the same city/highway/combined cycles.
Thanks to that tapering body shape, the GT isn't blessed with a spacious cabin. However, it is worthy of the name cockpit since the simple but advanced interior features an adjustable carbon fiber pedal box and a steering wheel with illuminating shift lights. Functions like turn signals and headlights are also controlled from the wheel, and the narrow central console houses your start button and drive mode selectors. A 10.1-inch configurable driver info display manages speedo and other outputs, while simultaneously dwarfing the 6.5-inch center touchscreen infotainment display.
The GT is a strict two-seater. However, unlike most cars available in various segments of the market, the seats are not adjustable. Instead, foam pads are molded to your body shape and stuck on to the exposed carbon tub. Thereafter, you can adjust the pedals and the steering wheel to bring them closer to you. No matter how athletic you may be, however, getting in past the gullwing doors and over the high and wide sill is not the sort of maneuver that even a gymnast or a ballerina would call graceful. Once seated, most controls are on the steering wheel for ease of access, but shorter individuals may find that stretching to the infotainment screen is a bit of a chore.
This review may well set a record for the most mentions of the phrase "carbon fiber". The interior is almost entirely dominated by the stuff, with very little plastic and brushed stainless steel breaking it up. The upholstery catalog is dominated by racy Alcantara in dark themes, but you can get highlights of leather and a little fabric in colors like orange, white, navy blue, and black. We're big fans of the overt orange color scheme, which adds a slab of bright tangerine paneling to the passenger-side dash.
While the Ford GT may aim to excel on track, the trunk barely has enough space for the average racing helmet. Sitting behind the engine, the narrowing cargo area is more like a storage bin, offering just 0.4 cubic feet of volume.
In the cabin, storage options aren't much better. The passenger gets a narrow tray under the dash, while a tiny spot at the end of the center console could maybe hold an old Motorola flip-phone from the era when the Olsen twins were still famous. No cupholders, door pockets, or other useful nooks are available.
Despite its cost, don't expect the GT to be packed with convenience features and driver aids. The car's budget was blown almost entirely on making it as track-ready as possible. With this in mind, you get a multi-multi-function steering wheel with enough buttons to control the Mars Rover. Also on the wheel is an integrated shift light, while behind the squared tiller is a 10.1-inch configurable driver info display. Manual or automatic climate controls are available, but either option is single-zone. Variable drive modes, hill start assist, cruise control, adaptive suspension, keyless entry, push-button start, active noise-canceling, and a nose-lift function are included too. A rearview camera is all you get for driver assistance beyond the stability and traction control systems.
In a $500,000 supercar, you expect the vehicle to come with the best available infotainment system if one is equipped. While the GT does indeed get Ford's SYNC 3 system with its voice-activated navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM satellite radio systems, it uses a smaller 6.5-inch screen rather than the eight-inch screen that some other Ford products get treated to. A pair of USB ports and Bluetooth audio streaming also feature on the system that is easy to use and well laid-out, but the speed of the system is starting to fall behind what the market leaders offer.
While the Ford GT has thus far only been subject to one recall in 2017/2018, it was a rather serious one. The rear wing, which is actuated using a hydraulic system, may leak hydraulic fluid and subsequently cause a fire.
Should anything go wrong, the vehicle comes with a three-year/unlimited-mileage limited and powertrain warranty. No complimentary scheduled maintenance is offered.
The Ford GT is far too rare and expensive to be subjected to crash tests, but with a full carbon body and aluminum substructures, as well as a built-in FIA-approved roll cage, the vehicle ought to be exceptionally sound.
A rearview camera. That's the only "advanced" safety feature you'll find on the GT, beyond its complicated traction and stability control systems. However, there is an FIA-approved roll cage built into the shell - part of the development alongside the FIA WEC race car - an automatic post-crash fuel shutoff system, and a post-crash alert system. Should you screw it up trying to beat a lap record, frontal, side-impact, and knee airbags help cushion the blow.
The Ford GT is gloriously exclusive. It's the Blue Oval's halo car and is well-deserving of the title. With a mind-bending 660 hp and a dual-clutch automatic gearbox that provides snap shifts capable of cracking the vertebrae in your neck, the GT is a ridiculous performer. The jaw-droppingly, achingly gorgeous design that gets better the more you look at it is also unreal from a company that makes workaday stuff like the F-150. Despite its badge, the 216 mph top speed, ridiculous acceleration, active aero, carbon-fiber bodywork, and genuine racing pedigree - not to mention its storied heritage - make it an exceptionally desirable supercar. It's impractical too, and for a supercar, that's a must. What better way to show that you've made it and are a true patriot than by buying the car that calls to mind a time when Ford stuck it to the established order and made Italian giants fall? If you have the means and the character that the asking price and Ford's selection team demand, buy one. It's a future classic.
The Ford GT is a super affordable vehicle - provided that you own majority shares in companies like Microsoft, Apple, Qatar Airways, the Burj Khalifa hotel in Dubai, and British American Tobacco. The starting price is an eye-watering $500,000. Let that sink in for a second. Half a MILLION dollars for something that shares a badge with a Transit panel van. While we don't know what customization options on this supercar would cost, it's safe to say that if money is no object for you, you may still be wary of getting carried away with the customization choices.
Not to be confused with the Ford Mustang GT, the Ford GT supercar is available only in a single trim. While there are various appearance packages and Heritage "editions", these are little more than paint schemes. All Ford GT models produced come with the same twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost and send power to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Power is rated at 660 hp as of 2020 with torque measuring in at 550 lb-ft. An Akrapovic titanium exhaust system is standard, as are features like a nose-lifting system, adaptive suspension, variable drive modes, carbon-ceramic Brembo brakes, and a hydraulic wing. In the cabin, a multi-function steering wheel with illuminating shift lights, a 10.1-inch configurable driver display, and a 6.5-inch infotainment system are all included. The system includes smartphone connectivity, satellite radio, and Bluetooth connectivity.
3.5-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
7-Speed Dual Clutch Automatic
No packages are really available to add further features, but you can choose from a list of 'Le Mans-inspired color schemes and liveries. Carbon fiber wheels can also be specced, or you can go the whole hog and get a Liquid Carbon package that specs no paint on the naked carbon body, with the panels instead coated in a clear gloss lacquer. This package also includes the carbon wheels as standard. Stripes in various colors and brake color choices are also open to potential buyers.
All Ford GTs come essentially fully-specced, with only appearance changes available for customization. While the choice, therefore, comes down to your own personal preferences, we'd certainly spec a Heritage Edition in the timeless Gulf racing colors of sky blue and orange. Coupled with carbon fiber wheels to draw attention to the exposed-carbon race number on the doors, as well as orange brake calipers to tie the color scheme in further, this would be the ultimate expression of modern nostalgia.
If you can't get on the list for a Ford GT but still crave a slice of mid-engined Americana, the C8 Corvette Stingray could be for you. Its naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 is hooked up to an eight-speed automatic gearbox that sends power to the rear wheels. However, despite its capacity, the 'Vette only produces 490 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque versus the GT's 660 horses and 550 lb-ft. Nevertheless, the Corvette has a hugely appealing interior with a focus on style and driver involvement, and it looks ridiculously exotic from the outside too. A lot more driver aids are available for this car versus the minimalistic GT, but the real kicker is the price. Even with its complicated design and advanced driver aids, the Corvette starts at under $60,000. You could literally buy eight of them and still have change. It'll never have the cachet of the GT, and if exclusivity matters, the GT is better, but if it doesn't, and if you like your supercars livable on the daily, the new 'Vette might be the one to choose.
Yes, it's Ford vs Ferrari. Interestingly, the GTE version that competes alongside the racing version of the Ford GT was bested by that car in endurance racing. The mid-engined Italian makes use of a 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8 that produces a mind-boggling 710 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque. Its seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is one of the best in the business and it gets from 0-60 mph just as quickly as the GT, 2.9 seconds after setting off. Top speed is a few clicks behind that of the GT, however, with the Ferrari topping out at a little over 211 mph. It also has a useful frunk and is easier to drive on the road thanks to its narrower body. At a starting price of $330,000, it's a performance bargain against the GT. While it's tough to make a call here, either choice would be excellent.