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New 2016 Ford Shelby GT350

2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Overview

When a new Mustang debuted last year, it was only a matter of time before the first high-performance variant showed up. The Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang is that variant and it's a doozy. This is much more than just bolted-on, track-ready parts; it houses an all-new V-8 under the hood that is the most powerful naturally aspirated engine Ford has ever put into the muscle car.

The star of this show is definitely the 5.2-liter V-8 engine, which is not the 5.0-liter we've grown familiar with over the past few years. This V-8 is what's called a flat-plane where the connecting rods attach to the crankshaft at 180 degree intervals instead of 90 degrees. It's a different approach and used in the European market.
But the engine is not the only change.

Exterior
For such a wild track-purposed car you'd expect quite a bit of deviation from the standard Mustang, but the GT350 stays pretty close to the mainstream models. The famed pony is removed from the middle of the grille, and there are some alterations to the lower bumper; they're carbon-fiber composite, but they don't look that different.

Aesthetically the biggest changes may be the stripe application and GT350 badging that set it apart from a regular Mustang GT and the 19-inch wheels.

Interior
Ford says there are GT350-specific Recaro-brand seats with unique cloth that sets it apart from others offered in regular Mustangs. The GT350 also has a flat-bottomed steering wheel. The gauges get a new treatment, and Ford says bright finishes such as chrome have been replaced to reduce glare. This allows the driver to better focus while on the track.

Under the Hood
And at the track might be where the GT350 is best suited, though Ford says it's not a bad daily driver either. We thought the same of the old GT350, especially for those shoppers who fancy rarified Mustangs.

There's of course this engine: a 5.2-liter producing more than 500 horsepower and 400 pounds-feet of torque. Chevy's Camaro Z/28 produces the same amount of power from a 7.0-liter V-8, but packs 81 more pounds-feet of torque. The GT350's 5.2-liter is teamed to a six-speed manual transmission and has standard limited slip differential. Stiffness is improved with a tower strut brace, and the car has been lowered too.

The GT350 also gets a magnetic ride suspension, extra-large Brembo-brand brakes and 19-inch wheels that are 10.5 inches wide in front and 11 inches in back.

The GT350's massive amount of aerodynamic work is not easily visible, and no weight-saving numbers were given, but Ford says the hood and front fenders are made of aluminum. There is additional aero work done throughout to create maximum down force with the least amount of drag.

Overview courtesy of Cars.com
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