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.