The 2011 Ford Shelby GT500 might not be your first pick for a seriously capable, high-end performance coupe, but it should be on your short list at the very least. While it's still a Mustang on the inside--a very nice Mustang, but still--it's every inch the equal to much more sophisticated vehicles on both the street and the track.

The big honkin' 5.4-liter aluminum block supercharged V-8 engine under the hood takes a lot of the credit for that fact, though the revised suspension for 2011 does, too. The whole package has been tuned together to be razor-sharp yet surprisingly forgiving straight from the factory.

That's a huge change from previous GT500s, if you're at all familiar with the breed. The 2010 GT500 made strides over the previous iteration, but the 2011s improves, if subtler, are equally substantial. Gone is the tendency to wallow, flop, and suddenly snap around. In its place comes oodles of grip, predictability at the limit, and confidence-inspiring docility when just tooling around.

Given pricing around $55,000 when equipped with the must-have SVT package, it's hard to find a better value if you're after real speed, straight-line or twisty. And that's why it's a nominee for our 2011 Best Car To Buy award.


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