Ford's latest Mustang hasn't made it through its first year yet, but already it has been given the full Shelby treatment. The Shelby GT350 Mustang is powered by the most powerful naturally aspirated engine Ford has ever produced, and has been treated to a number of chassis upgrades to make it feel at home on the track.
The heart of the GT350 Mustang is a new 5.2-liter V8 producing over 500 hp (373 kW) and 542 Nm (400 lb.ft) of torque. The engine is Ford's first to feature a flat plane crank, which the company says promotes "better cylinder breathing" by permitting a cylinder firing order that alternates between cylinder banks, thus reducing the overlap of exhaust pressure pulses.
Engines with flat plane cranks are known for their distinct sound and Ford sees this as an American interpretation of the flat plane crank V8, promising "a distinctive, throaty howl."
Putting the V8's power down is a Torsen limited-slip differential, while buyers have no choice but to shift gears themselves through a six-speed manual gearbox.
There is more to this Mustang than a powerful engine. According to Ford's Vice President of Product Development Raj Nair, the GT350 should provide "nimble, precise handling and massive stopping power." A wider front track, lower ride height and recalibrated spring and damper rates all form part of the Shelby GT350 treatment, and Ford's first "MagneRide" suspension system (similar to the optional MRC on Corvettes) can adjust the ride every 10 milliseconds.
Complementing Ford's handling upgrades are the GT350's bigger brakes – 394mm discs and six piston Brembo calipers up front with 380mm discs and four piston calipers at the rear. These hide behind 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires developed specifically for this car.
Further separating the GT350 from standard Mustangs is Shelby's aero package. The car's aluminum bonnet is lower than that on a standard Mustang, and the more aggressive front splitter works with a rear diffuser to provide downforce and stability on the racetrack. The new rear diffuser also feeds the GT350's optional diff cooler.
Inside, the Mustang's interior has been treated to a more race focused makeover, courtesy of bespoke Recaro seats and dials that reflect the Shelby Mustang's true performance potential.
There is no word as yet from Ford about pricing on the GT350.