By Cars.com EditorsSeptember 1, 2015
About the video
The Ford Mustang is no stranger to special editions. Some of them, in fact, are pretty lame. But the all-new Shelby GT350 is anything but. It's undergone top-to-bottom scrutiny, and the result is what the automaker says is the most capable-handling.
(car turning on) The Ford Mustang is no stranger to special editions, some of them in fact are pretty lame.
But the all new Shelby GT 350 is anything but, it's actually been gone through top to bottom to be what Ford says is the most capable handling Mustang they've ever made. And after spending time on the track and the street with it, I have to say, this is definitely something very unique and very special. (car engine roaring) The 5.2 liter V8 in the GT 350 is all new and extremely unique, it's 526 horsepower and that's 91 more than the base Mustang. And it can rev to a sky high 8,250 RPM. Not accomplishes this because of the design called a flat plane crankshaft, not going to bore you with specifics, but what it allows the engine to do is rev faster, rev higher, and in conjunction with fear plugging cylinder heads and bigger cam shafts make a lot more power. And it does that while making a good amount of torque too. In fact, there is a whole lot of usable torque and that makes the engine extremely punchy down whoa, where you think there wouldn't be a whole lot of power, a whole lot of torque but it poles. It's fantastic just how well this engine drives both on the street and the track. Now with that high RPM red line and all the power that it makes throughout the whole power band. This engine is great on the street or the track. Something that arrives to over 8,000 RPM, you think would lose a lot of its punch on the street, but it's not the case at all. And then the noise this thing makes this just fantastic. It doesn't sound like anything else on the road. It sounds like a V8 up until about 6,000 RPM, but you've still got over 2000 more RPM to go. Above 6,000 RPM this thing almost sounds magical. You haven't heard anything like it before. (car engine roaring) To fulfill the claim of the best handling Mustang. A lot of work has been done to a chassis, the suspension, a lot of bushings, wheels, tires, brakes. These brakes are massive and they work very, very well. There's six piston calipers up front, larger rotors up front, four piston calipers out back and by far are one of the most impressive breaking packages that we've seen on a Mustang. And suspension itself you have two options, the base GT 350 comes with the fixed firmness suspension, but in the optional track package, you can get Ford's first use ever of a magnetic ride control suspension called Magna ride. In this application, you have just more firmness and also it's always adapting to different driving situations and it's adjustable through five driving modes. Now those driving modes control a lot more than just the ride quality and the firmness of the shock absorbers. There's a exhaust system on the GT 350 with flaps that opens and closes and in those modes, it'll change the exhaust aggressiveness, which my favorite is just wide open all the time, it sounds so good, but you also have steering firmness, engine responsiveness, and all of those are adjustable in various modes. Sport and track are clearly the favorites for spirited driving. It's also a normal mode. Now it's a good thing that they call it normal mode and not comfort mode because it's not comfortable. As soon as you get in the car, it's immediately apparent that this ride is a whole lot different than the GT. There's less body roll, less nose dive, but there's also a lot of noise and vibration harshness that's been introduced in the vehicle. Now it's not a deal breaker by any means, but you do feel everything in the road and there's a whole lot more road noise and a GT. Now the Mustang GT has Recaro seats, but they're more along the lines of, you know, a sporty seat rather than a sports car seat. This feels like a purpose-built race seat with just great side bolstering that holds you in place. And especially with this cloth material, which is very grippy and it looks the part two. Now If you find yourself at the track very frequently. Then you want to look at the 350-R now the R is the most track capable version of the Mustang GT 350, and then it comes through the use of extremely sticky, Michelin cup two tires, as well as aerodynamic downforce from that massive rear spoiler. It's also up to 120 pounds lighter deleting such pedestrian options, such as air conditioning, a stereo, sound insulation, and a rear seat. Now on the track, this car carried a lot more speed through the corners and the regular GT 350 on the straight have would come out of the corner, get up to a rev limiter and then hit the brakes. Well, on the the R, I would just be carrying so much more speed through the corner and hit that rev limiter a whole lot sooner. So before where I wouldn't have to shift in the GT 350-R I would have to, it just was a lot faster around the track. I'm the most experienced track driver, but in my novice to intermediate skill level, I was able to tell a difference absolutely between the 350 and the 350-R. The GT 350 starts at around $48,000 with destination. Now that sounds mighty attractive, but you're not getting a whole lot of the notable features for that money. That much talked about Magna rights suspension, the adjustable driving modes, the oil coolers, that's all part of the $6,500 track package. You take that you add in the $1,300 gas guzzler tax, because well, it gets 16 miles per gallon combined. You're a long ways away for $48,000 in the packaging is a little strange too, because you have a tech package that adds navigation and upgraded stereo and dual climate control, but you don't get all of the track pack features in that you get some of them like the magnetic suspension, but not everything. You can't have your cake and eat it too, if you want, you know, navigation and the track package, but still this particular car that I'm in front of, it's $57,000, it's the GT 350 with the track package. But man, every time you hear that exhaust, it certainly makes it seem worth it. (car engine roaring) (trunk closing)
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