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Editor’s note: This analysis was accounting in October 2015 about the 2016 Mustang GT350. The 2017 addresses our packaging complaints now that the Clue Amalgamation is standard, but little abroad of actuality has afflicted with this year’s model. To see what’s new for 2017, bang here, or analysis out a side-by-side allegory of the two archetypal years.
Redesigned for 2015, the Mustang’s green year welcomes its newest variant, the track-oriented 2016 Shelby GT350 and GT350R. These cars are annihilation but a simple actualization amalgamation or a few bolt-ons; this is not a echo of the Mustang Shelby GT from a few years ago.
Perhaps the best desperate in a continued account of changes are an all-new 526-horsepower, 5.2-liter V-8, a decidedly reworked abeyance — optionally with Ford’s aboriginal use of magnetic-style adaptive shock absorbers — and big-stopping-power brakes. Afresh there’s the GT350R, which is the ultimate-handling Mustang with cool adhesive Michelin Pilot Action Cup 2 Tires, carbon-fiber wheels, a huge downforce-generating addition and almost 120 pounds of accessibility appearance removed.
The GT350’s bodywork from the windshield advanced is altered to this Shelby and aimed to actualize as basal an aerodynamic signature as possible, while convalescent the nose’s cooling and airflow characteristics. The awning is 2 inches lower, and its aperture extracts calefaction and reduces front-end lift. The advanced fenders are re-contoured to fit the added clue and added auto up front.
Accepted 19-inch GT350 auto are 10.5 inches advanced in advanced and 11 inches advanced in back, while GT350R models cycle on all-carbon-fiber wheels, 11 inches advanced in advanced and 11.5 inches in back. At the rear of the Shelby GT350 is a accepted lip addle-brain that becomes a beyond lip addle-brain on Clue Amalgamation models and an absolute carbon cilia addition on the GT350R.
The GT350’s V-8 is a highlight of the car aback continued to its extraordinary 8,250 rpm redline. At and abutting redline, the symphony of spent agitation that blasts out the pipes should be illegal. All it does is accomplish you appetite to bang bottomward on the continued pedal over and over afresh — a admiration I was blessed to bind during a contempo analysis on Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.
A valve-operated bankrupt arrangement has much-appreciated balmy to agrarian modes, acceptance you to deafen cartage while barreling through a tunnel, afresh bastard aback into your adjacency undetected. In full-bore mode, the GT350’s bankrupt adeptness be the loudest bankrupt arrangement I’ve heard on a branch car.
Let’s revisit that 8,250 rpm redline. It’s batty to wind out a bone-stock, branch V-8 in a Mustang to those kinds of speeds and not feel like the abutting rods are activity to bang out of the agent block. The altered flat-plane crankshaft is amenable for the aerial agent speeds and the activity of the revs; it gave Ford engineers the adeptness to accessible up the abject head, assimilation and camshaft to absolve added power, and it’s the crankshaft agreement that gives the GT350 such a altered bankrupt sound.
The acumen of an 8,250 rpm agent is best accomplished on the track, area the GT350 can amplitude its legs amid corners after accepting to upshift. Aback you do accept to upshift, a new manual advised to bout the aerial rpm characteristics of the 5.2-liter allows lightning-quick alive with a ablaze but absolute shifter and clamp pedal.
There’s a lot of allowance in the bulk of 8,000 rpm for an agent to be bottomward on ability and torque, but the 5.2-liter’s well-distributed torque aloft 3,500 rpm — and aiguille of 429 pounds-feet at 4,750 rpm — agency the agent is befuddled and can still cull out of its way at lower agent speeds, up to best ability at 7,500 rpm. Some rev-happy engines aren’t blessed off the track, but the 5.2-liter is aboveboard absorbing on coulee anchorage and alike in straight-line bursts of acceleration. An added benefit is that the agent maintains appropriate ability accomplished redline, admitting beneath 3,500 rpm you absolutely do accept to be in the appropriate gear. Don’t alike try to canyon in 6th; it aloof won’t work.
You won’t acquisition levels of dispatch actuality that pin you to the aback of your seat, like in the 662-hp 2014 Shelby GT500 or the 707-hp 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. No, the GT350 is added focused on carrying antithesis and attention admitting accepting 91 added application than the 5.0-liter Mustang GT.
The acerbity of the chassis, admiration and acknowledgment of the steering, and the car’s all-embracing accord are added evocative of a BMW M4 than a Mustang. Ford went through the Mustang’s anatomy and replaced abundant bearings with added adamant pieces. It additionally redesigned the advanced council address to be stiffer and lighter, widened the advanced clue and thickened the anti-roll bars. Add in the Brembo-brand six-piston advanced brakes and four-piston rears, which alter the blah single-piston rears on the GT, and the GT350 has all the appurtenances you’d apprehend in a track-specific model. Perhaps the best affair activity for the Mustang in allegory with the M4 is that the GT350’s bankrupt doesn’t complete like a edger whacker.
MagneRide is the hot, new abeyance bureaucracy that makes the GT350 such a performer. The alternative arrangement affected by General Motors and now active by abounding automakers uses iron-impregnated aqueous casual through electro-magnetic fields to always acclimatize damper achievement for alley conditions. Abject GT350s use a fixed-firmness suspension, while MagneRide is alternative as allotment of the Clue and Tech packages.
MagneRide is adjustable application what Ford calls chip disciplinarian control. The arrangement appearance Normal, Sport, Weather, Clue and Drag active modes that clothier MagneRide’s admiration and compactness — forth with bankrupt modes, agent responsiveness, council firmness, cyberbanking adherence and absorption settings — for specific active styles. The GT350R gets its own altered MagneRide tuning.
There’s not a huge ambit of alley abundance break amid the active modes, however. The abject approach is alleged Normal, not Comfort, for acceptable reason. The GT350 exhibits apparent babble and abutting accord on the alley alike in the softest mode. But I anticipate that works. Like the M4, the GT350’s hardly confusing ride is a connected admonition that you’re active article special, alike if it agency an afflictive blow every already in a while.
I begin the GT350 decidedly accessible to drive on the track. Aback things did alpha to get a little bearded — added acceptable from me accepting off band than a appropriate of the car — the GT350 provided affluence of apprehension through a slight babble in the advanced tires, advertence I should aback off the accelerator and get the adenoids aback in line. At no point did I anticipate the rear end was activity to whip out unprovoked. Every administration appropriate of the new Mustang GT with absolute rear abeyance is heightened, bluff and quicker in the GT350, which makes for a chiefly assured administration machine. Alike with the GT’s alternative Achievement Package, there’s still a fair bulk of anatomy cycle while cornering, which is area the GT350 comes in with above levels of anatomy motion control. Compare the GT350 with the GT here.
Of course, there’s good, and afresh there’s GT350R good. The R archetypal carries decidedly added cornering speed, with college levels of anchor from the wider, stickier tires and behemothic downforce-generating wing. Amid corners at Laguna Seca, area the GT350 could ride out 3rd accessory to the braking zone, the GT350R got off the corners with such acceleration that I could grab 4th accessory in the above straight.
In Clue mode, the adherence arrangement didn’t stick its adenoids in my business on the track, which is accepted compared with some overactive action modes — like the M4’s. Actuality a disciplinarian of average skill, I adopt to accumulate the car in a approach with a assurance net while acquirements a new track, which I was accomplishing at Laguna Seca. Clue mode’s adherence and absorption settings acquiesce the car to accelerate a little, but accumulate a assurance net in abode to abstain spinning out. It didn’t authority the car back.
Ford went aback to the cartoon lath for the Recaro-brand seats that are accepted in the GT350. The Mustang GT’s alternative Recaro seats are adventurous but not altered abundant from the accepted seats to absolutely be advised clue seats. That’s all afflicted with the GT350’s seats, which are firmer with added arresting ancillary bolstering. Plus, the cloth-only architecture keeps your abject buried added than in the GT Recaros’ glace alternative leather. The Technology Amalgamation replaces the Recaros with acrimonious and aerial covering seats.
Keeping with the track-ready theme, a new about-face ablaze uses a head-up affectation and a cord of LEDs to appearance how abutting the agent is to redline. It’s abnormally important in this car, because the high-revving 5.2-liter is so altered it’s accessible to abbreviate about-face (despite accepting a few hundred rpm to go) if you adjudicator absolutely by sound. Independently adjustable from the active modes, Tach, Clue and Drag about-face ablaze modes affectation the lights differently, and I adopted Drag approach alike on the alley advance because it artlessly flashes aback it’s time to shift, as against to consistently accepting confusing LEDs dancing on the windshield with agent rpm.
The GT350’s accepted multimedia arrangement is annihilation blatant or fancy. It uses the baby awning from the abject Mustang and has bifold USB inputs, a CD amateur and an AM/FM radio. The baby awning is amidst by a sea of buttons, so it takes a lot of acquaintance to apperceive area aggregate is placed.
I was clumsy to sample the alternative multimedia arrangement with Ford’s latest Sync 3 and 8-inch touch-screen. We’ll try to get our calmly on that arrangement in the future. Sync 3 is accessible alone on the Tech Amalgamation ($7,500); it’s not a affection you can get with the Clue Package.
I’d like to see the above active modes (Normal, Sport, Weather, Clue and Drag) automated into added calmly operated controls. The steering-wheel-button area is nice, but you accept to annal through the modes to select. Ford could booty a assignment from BMW’s M cars, which accept programmable buttons on the council caster for preset active modes, so alteration modes is as accessible as hitting one button.
The GT350 retains the 13.5 cubic anxiety of block amplitude and 50/50-split folding backseat of the abject GT. The GT350R’s backseat is removed for weight accumulation and all that’s larboard is a molded admit area the backseat acclimated to be; the admit doesn’t fold.
The National Highway Traffic Assurance Administration gives the Mustang auto an all-embracing best crash-test rating, out of bristles stars. The Insurance Institute for Highway Assurance has not crash-tested it. Like the approved Mustang, the GT350 and GT350R accommodate a driver’s knee airbag, side-impact airbags and ancillary dark airbags.
A advanced blow admonishing arrangement and a dark atom admonishing arrangement that are alternative on the GT Premium Mustang are not offered on the GT350 or GT350R. A advancement camera is accepted on the GT350 but is deleted from the GT350R; abacus it aback afresh requires the $3,000 Electronics Package.
The Mustang GT350 and GT350R accept the authentic purpose of actuality corner-hugging thoroughbreds (what would a Mustang analysis be after an equestrian reference?). There’s an absolute aberration amid the GT350 and the abject Mustang GT that, for some, may accomplish it an accessible accommodation to angle out $50,000-plus for the GT350.
The GT350 starts at $48,695 (all prices accommodate a destination fee), but that’s not the car you want. You appetite the $6,500 Clue Package, which boosts the car to $55,195. That amount doesn’t accommodate the $1,300 gas-guzzler tax the GT350 is saddled with because it’s rated alone 14/21/16 mpg city/highway/combined. Nor does it accommodate the banker markup that will absolutely be tacked assimilate this hotly desirable, limited-production car. A Ford Achievement agent said GT350 accumulation will be bent by demand, and Ford expects accumulation numbers agnate to the GT500 of contempo years. The GT350R, however, will be abundant added rare, like the above Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca edition.
GT350s with the above Clue Amalgamation accommodate all the $.25 and pieces you charge to complete a clue day worry-free. On the technology side, the Technology Amalgamation ($7,500) includes some of the Clue Package’s features, but not all of them. Tech cars add navigation, Sync 3, the ample multimedia screen, dual-zone altitude control, covering seats that are powered, acrimonious and ventilated, additional more.
You don’t get the Recaro seats or oil coolers with the Technology Package, while Clue Amalgamation cars are ashore with the baby media affectation and no Sync 3. It’s a bummer, really, that you can’t get Sync 3 and aeronautics with the Recaro seats and abetting oil coolers on the GT350 unless you footfall up to the GT350R with the Electronics Package, and that’s a $66,495 car. The Clue Amalgamation is already a little added than a abject Mustang GT, so why not let in a few added pounds for buyers who appetite all the clue appurtenances as able-bodied as a avant-garde multimedia system?
Is it account it? If you booty this car to clue days, the acknowledgment is a solid yes, as you’ll get one of the best altered and purpose-built Mustangs Ford has formed off the accumulation band in a continued time. Alike if you drive the GT350 alone on the street, the abominable complete that emanates from the tailpipes during 8,250 rpm blasts will accomplish you balloon about the aerial amount tag, if alone momentarily.
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