The Shelby GT350 Mustang, the new high-performance version of the sixth-generation Ford Mustang, features the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 production engine ever built by the Blue Oval. It is on display at the LA motor show.
Ford describes the Shelby GT350 Mustang as “a track car that’s also street legal”. It is powered by a high-revving, naturally aspirated V8 engine that produces “more than 500 horsepower” according to Ford and has “a torque peak above 400lb ft”.
The 5.2-litre powerplant, which is unique to the GT350, is the first-ever production V8 from Ford with a flat-plane crankshaft, an architecture typically found only in racing applications or exotic European sports cars.
Unlike a traditional V8, where the connecting rods are attached to the crankshaft at 90-degree intervals, this design evenly spaces all crank pins at 180-degree intervals.
The 180-degree, flat-plane layout permits a cylinder firing order that alternates between cylinder banks, reducing the overlap of exhaust pressure pulses.
When combined with cylinder-head and valvetrain advancements, this permits better cylinder breathing, further extending the performance envelope of the V8.
The engine is mated to a lightweight six-speed manual transmission, while a standard Ford-tuned Torsen limited-slip differential optimises cornering grip and straight-line traction.
The front-end stiffness of the GT350's platform has been further improved over the standard Mustang – which itself is the strongest in the history of the brand – with an injection-molded carbonfibre composite grille opening, while further rigidity can be added by an optional front brace.
The front track has been increased while spring rates and bushings have been recalibrated all around and the ride height is reduced compared to the Mustang GT.
The brakes are two-piece cross-drilled iron discs. At the front are 394mm rotors clamped by Brembo six-piston fixed calipers, while there are 380mm rotors and four-piston calipers at the rear.
The GT350 is fitted with 19-inch aluminium alloy wheels that are 10.5 inches wide at the front and 11 inches wide at the rear. They are clad in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres which have a sidewall construction, tread face and compound that are bespoke to the car.
The Shelby GT350 Mustang uses sophisticated MagneRide dampers, the first such application on a Ford production car.
All bodywork from the windscreen forward is unique to the GT350 model and up to 50mm lower than the Mustang GT.
Front and rear bodywork elements such as the fascia and diffuser have been optimised to enhance their aerodynamic effectiveness. The new aluminium bonnet has been lowered and sloped, compared to the base Mustang, tightly wrapped around the engine.
The bonnet outlet acts as a heat extractor while also reducing underhood lift at high speed. The aluminium front wings have been recontoured to accommodate the wider front track and wider wheel arches.
The interior of the Shelby GT350 features Recaro sport seats, a flat-bottom steering wheel, upgraded gauges and a reduction in chrome and brightwork, which could reflect the sun and distract the driver during track work.