2019 Ford Shelby GT350 Review

Shelby GT350

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2019 Ford Shelby GT350 Overview

The GT350 was the very first Shelby Mustang back in 1965—and the first time somebody put America’s pony car on steroids. The name was brought back for the 2011 model year; the current model has been back since 2016. Like the original Shelby, the 2019 model focuses more on performance, longing for the racetrack more than a casual dash between stop lights. There aren’t revolutionary changes for the 2019 model, but there have been notable upgrades in the name of performance. The car is reportedly more aerodynamic and provides more downforce with the available Gurney flap installed. There are also new Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, developed exclusively for this car. The sticky rubber, combined with tweaks to the chassis and braking system, should make the car noticeably nimbler than the 2018 model. The GT350 R model, meanwhile, still has a larger rear wing and sheds weight for the sake of more speed. A standard Mustang GT is already more than enough car for most people and the GT350 is incredibly quick, but the GT350 R brings the weight down by another 100 pounds for even quicker tears around the track. Finally, there are two new paint colors – Velocity Blue and Ford Performance Blue – added to the list.

The only powertrain available for the GT350 is a 5.2-liter V-8 with a flat plane crankshaft, which is mated to a Tremec 6-speed manual gearbox. The engine makes 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. The sprint to 60 miles per hour should take just north of four seconds in the GT350 and just south of four in the GT350 R. Nobody buys one of these to save gas, and the GT350 doesn’t surprise, getting 14 mpg city, 21 highway, and 16 combined.

In addition to grippier new tires and extra aero, the GT350 also comes with Brembo brakes and MagneRide active suspension. The power steering is electric and a Torsen differential is standard. There are also five different, self-explanatory, driving modes: normal, sport, weather, track, and drag.

The extra money spent on a proper Shelby is apparent in the interior as well as when it’s pushed through the corner. The instrument panel has handsome aluminum trim, and an exposed carbon fiber version of the instrument panel is available. The door panels have accent stitching and the seats are well-bolstered and purposeful-looking Recaros, although drivers will need to pay extra for power-adjusted seats. You’ll mostly want to listen to the engine when driving a GT350, but when things get more casual, there is a 22-speaker Harman stereo. Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system is centered on the 8.0-inch touchscreen in the middle of the dash. Other standard features include dual-zone automatic temperature control and a universal garage door opener.

Underneath the skin, the Shelby is a lot stiffer than a standard Mustang, but in crash testing the regular Ford-badged car already does reasonably well. It gets five out of five stars in all tests in federal testing, and it received all top Good scores with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in 2018, aside from an Acceptable rating in the tricky small overlap test. A reversing camera is standard – but even without it the rear visibility, any Mustang is far superior to the visibility in the Camaro. The GT350 is a much more poised and controllable version of the Mustang than the run of the mill version that you see spinning out leaving Cars & Coffee.

Updated

Since 2012, Andrew Newton has been writing about cars both old and new. Andrew has been an associate editor at Sport Car Digest as well as a contributor to sites like BoldRide and JamesEdition. He was also the Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA before becoming the Auction Editor at Hagerty Classic Car Insurance. He currently splits his time behind the wheel between his NA Miata, 1994 Corvette, and Triumph TR6.

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