The most powerful naturally-aspirated production engine from Ford is here.
The Shelby name is highly regarded in the automotive world thanks to the brilliant work of Carroll Shelby in racing and with road cars. His original 1965 Shelby GT350 was a performance icon that transformed a great every-day car into a dominant road racer. That same philosophy is still used today, and the new sixth-generation Ford Mustang has been transformed into one hell of a road racer.
The new Shelby GT350 Mustang was built with the latest and greatest technology Ford could muster to create the ultimate naturally-aspirated production Mustang. The sixth-generation platform has been pushed to its performance limits and it performs exceptionally thanks to its perfect balance between handling and power.
“When we started working on this car, we wanted to build the best possible Mustang for the places we most love to drive – challenging back roads with a variety of corners and elevation changes – and the track on weekends,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “Every change we made to this car was driven by the functional requirements of a powerful, responsive powerplant – nimble, precise handling and massive stopping power.”
The V-8 beneath the ventilated, slick hood of the new Shelby GT350 Mustang isn’t your usual high-performance motor. The new 5.2-liter V-8 is the first-ever production Ford V-8 with a flat-plane crankshaft, a design that’s usually reserved for motorsports and exotics. The flat-plane crankshaft evenly spaces all pins at 180-degrees, which allows for a firing order that alternates between cylinder banks and reduces the overlap of exhaust pressure plates for better breathing characteristics for each cylinder and increased performance. Plus, it sounds amazing.
The new 5.2-liter V-8 in the Shelby GT350 Mustang will produce over 500 horsepower and 400 lb-ft. of torque, making it the most powerful naturally-aspirated production engine from Ford. The high-revving powerplant is mated to a lightweight six-speed manual transmission and a Ford-tuned Torsen limited-slip differential to control all those ponies.
The 5.2-liter V-8 isn’t the only highlight of the new Shelby GT350 Mustang, the chassis of the six-generation Mustang shines thanks to its stiffer construction. Compared to the previous-generation model, the new Ford Mustang is 28-percent stiffer, and that’s only improved upon with a new injection-molded carbon fiber composite grille opening and optional tower-to-tower brace. A wider front track is covered by extended and ventilated fenders to allow for greater handling. For the first time ever in a Ford, new continuously-controlled MagneRide dampers adjust instantly and work with the increased spring rates and recalibrated bushings to provide unrelenting handling capabilities.
The chassis is also boosted by a lightweight but strong application of wheels, tires, and brakes. Extra-stiff aluminum alloy wheels measure 10.5 x 19 up front and 11.0 x 19 at the rear with corresponding Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires with GT350-spec sidewall, tread face, and compound characteristics to ensure maximum grip and handling in any situation. Behind those wheels sit the most track-credible braking system offered on a production Ford vehicle, ever, utilizing two-piece cross-drilled iron discs mated to aluminum hats. The front axle wears Brembo six-piston fixed calipers clenching down on 394 mm rotors, while the rear comes in with four-piston calipers and 380 mm rotors.
“Everything we changed on GT350 is purely functional-driven design, with the goal of improving the overall performance of the car,” said Chris Svensson, Ford design director, The Americas. “We optimized the aero shape of the car, and then fine-tuned what was left to increase downforce and cooling airflow.”
The front fascia of the Shelby GT350 Mustang wears a lowered and sloped aluminum hood, balanced aerodynamic elements, and a lower splitter with ducted belly pan. A new forward-angled grille features individual openings for the radiator, engine intake, and ducts for the front brakes to provide each component with fresh, cool air at speed. As air moves towards the rear, it hits the subtle spoiler atop the trunk lid and a diffuser that works to optimize downforce as well as send cool air to the differential cooler.
Inside, the cockpit is focused on one thing: driving. New Recaro sport seats with special cloth have been specially designed to be both comfortable and provide enough support for days on the race track. Facing the driver is a flat-bottomed steering wheel, new gauges, and dashboard components without chrome or bright finishes to reduce distracting sun glare. A driver control system allows for five different driving modes to be selected that adjust a number of different components to alter the way the Shelby GT350 Mustang performs. As an option, a Tech Pack with leather seats, upgraded audio, and more give drivers a more comfortable experience.
The new Shelby GT350 Mustang is looking to rock the muscle car world with its flat-plane V-8 and optimized chassis. Exact specifications and pricing details have not been released.
Shelby GT350 Mustang Gallery