2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Preview

FAST FACTS
  • 5.2-liter V-8 engine making more than 500 horsepower
  • Lightweight 6-speed manual transmission, limited-slip differential
  • Upgraded braking and suspension components
  • Staggered-width 19-in. wheels and performance tires
  • Unique styling and construction from the windshield forward
  • Interior equipped with Recaro sport seats, special instrumentation
  • Optional equipment to enhance performance, daily drivability

Introduction

Calling it "an all-day track car that's also street legal," Ford introduced the new Mustang Shelby GT350 in advance of the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. The automaker is promising that this new Shelby GT350 will be "the most balanced, nimble, and exhilarating production Mustang yet."

Exterior Features

In order to optimize aerodynamics while increasing downforce and cooling airflow, everything forward of the Mustang Shelby GT350's windshield is unique to this model, which sits up to 2 full inches lower than a stock Mustang GT. Highlights include an aluminum and ventilated hood, front air splitter, ducted belly pan, ventilated aluminum front fenders, functional rear air diffuser, and a small rear lip spoiler.

A Cobra snake badge sits offset in the grille, and racing stripes running from bumper to bumper are available.

Interior Features

In order to reduce the potential for distracting glare, the Shelby GT350's interior features a minimum of bright trim, producing a simpler but more focused cabin environment, according to Ford. Recaro sport seats wrapped in unique cloth are standard, along with a flat-bottom steering wheel and special instrumentation designed to best inform the driver with regard to the car's increased performance capabilities.

Optional Features

The Mustang Shelby GT350 is focused on performance, first and foremost. To fit one with the niceties of daily driving, an optional Tech Pack includes power-adjustable, leather-trimmed seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, MyFord Touch infotainment system, and a premium audio system.

Under the Hood

The Mustang Shelby GT350's new 5.2-liter V-8 is the most powerful naturally aspirated production Ford engine in history, according to the company. It features an unusual flat-plane crankshaft design, which alters cylinder firing order, and in combination with other powertrain advancements, ultimately allows this high-revving engine to generate over 500 horsepower and more than 400 lb.-ft. of torque over what is described as a broad curve. Specific power ratings will be available closer to the Shelby GT350's arrival in showrooms.

A new, lightweight, 6-speed manual transmission delivers power to the car's rear wheels through a limited-slip differential. Ford has also retuned the Shelby GT350's suspension bushings and spring rates, reduced the car's ride height, designed an optional lightweight front tower-to-tower strut brace, and employed continuously controlled MagneRide dampers in order to maximize handling capabilities. A wider front track and staggered-width 19-in. aluminum wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport performance tires assist in that goal.

Ford has also upgraded the Shelby GT350's braking components in order to ensure track-capable performance in terms of stopping power, fade resistance, and pedal feel that lasts all day. Six-piston front and 4-piston rear brake calipers clamp 2-piece, cross-drilled brake rotors, and the result is what the automaker calls "the most track-credible brake system ever offered on a Ford vehicle."

An optional Track Pack is available, containing a transmission cooler and an engine oil cooler, among other upgrades.

Safety

Among the Shelby GT350's standard features is Sync Bluetooth connectivity that includes 911 Assist. As long as a paired smartphone is aboard the vehicle at the time of an accident, this feature automatically dials out to emergency operators for help and can send rescuers to the Mustang's exact location, even if nobody inside the vehicle is able to respond to the operator.

Technology

MyFord Touch and a premium audio system will be optional for the new Shelby GT350. Combining communication, entertainment, climate, and navigation functions into an 8-in. color touch-screen interface, MyFord Touch is operable by voice, buttons on the steering wheel, or the screen itself. In addition to these functions, Ford also provides power, volume, and tuning knobs for the stereo as well as traditional climate controls.