Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang first drive

Don’t raise, don’t shift

What’s it?

“Don’t elevate.” That’s been the mantra of race-automobile drivers, mainly for the reason that starting of race-automotive driving. The physics being, in case you carry midcorner when your thoughts tells you to, the load comes off the again finish, probably sending it round in an uncorrectable and uncontrollable skid. With the 2016 Shelby GT350, we’re going so as to add “don’t shift” to that saying. The 5.2-liter flat-airplane crank V8 doesn’t redline at 6,750 rpm like some previous muscle vehicles, and doesn’t redline at 7,250 rpm like some new muscle vehicles. It solely cuts out at an astounding eight,250 rpm. When the lively exhaust is wailing, and your thoughts screams “shift now!” keep in mind, you have got about three extra seconds of pull earlier than your hand must drop off the Alcantara wheel and towards the stubby shifter with the crimson lettering.

The brand new GT350, like the primary GT350, is the observe Mustang to finish all monitor Mustangs. Its V8 is probably the most highly effective naturally aspirated engine the Blue Oval has ever produced, and the chassis is probably the most observe-succesful it’s ever produced. Good factor it put them collectively. Output on the raucous hunk of aluminum is rated at 526 hp at 7,500 rpm and 429 lb-ft of torque at four,750. A six-velocity Tremec guide is the one possibility for shifting. Energy is distributed rearward via a Torsen restricted-slip differential.

The GT350 is available in two flavors, base and R. The R provides an even bigger entrance splitter, greater rear spoiler, carbon fiber wheels that weigh about half as a lot as their aluminum counterparts, in line with Ford, and some visible changes, a crimson Cobra badge being considered one of them. It additionally drops about a hundred kilos, coming in at three,655 kilos.

Flat-plane crank 5.2 V8

The flat-airplane engines rev faster and are extra balanced than cross aircraft designs.

 

What’s it wish to drive?

It’s the very best Mustang ever constructed. Full cease. The flat-aircraft crank V8 revs up like a Suzuki GSX-R motorbike, and drops rpms simply as quick. Pushing the crimson begin button brings out a medium-sized rev that you just would possibly suppose is loud—till you truly get into the throttle, then it’s all thunder and lightning. On abrupt carry offs it rumbles first, after which crackles like a stun gun. Ford says the engine solely makes max torque at 7,500, however the curve feels flat and broad after about 2,500. At full throttle the GT350 screams till you hit redline, which is manner, manner farther away than it appears. See, your thoughts and ears get tuned to what a automobile feels like when it’s able to shift, which normally occurs round 6,250 rpm, however within the GT350 you may have one other 2,000 rpms to go. It was barely doable — with a clear conscience — to even attain redline on the general public roads round Laguna Seca the place we acquired to flog the R mannequin for a couple of hours earlier than hitting the monitor.

The GT350 will get the primary software of the corporate’s non-obligatory MagneRide dampers. They’re crammed with hydraulic fluid impregnated with iron particles. Each seven milliseconds, sensors make adjustments to the density of the fluid, softening or firming as crucial. You possibly can really feel it on the highway over uneven pavement, however much more over the tough curbing on the racetrack the place it may loosen up the within shocks whereas retaining the outer tires flat to the pavement and stiff.

Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang

The GT350 and GT350R with MagneRide have 5 drive modes: regular, sport, monitor, climate and drag. You’ll be aware of regular, sport and monitor. They alter the throttle, steering and dampers for every state of affairs. Moist eases up on the throttle and tightens down the traction management for safer begins. The brand new drag mode is among the extra intelligent bits. It initializes launch management, softens up the rear suspension and corporations up the fronts for the quickest and most predictable begin. It softens once more for the 1-2 shift, after which corporations up robotically as you hit larger speeds.

Again to these mountain roads. We stored the GT350R in sport mode for a lot of the drive, however switched to trace for just a few miles simply to see the way it modified. We didn’t really feel a lot distinction, however Ford says that’s the purpose. The shocks regulate for the highway. Apart from transferring to a barely firmer base setting, if the highway stays the identical — principally clean — the shocks will keep that manner, too. Apart from the lovingly banked sweepers, one of the best a part of the drive was listening to that exhaust echo off the mountains and bridges, nonetheless not hitting that eight,250 redline. The license plate ought to have mentioned look ahead to falling rocks.

Each the GT350 and GT350R get Michelin tires. The bottom mannequin comes with Pilot Tremendous Sports activities and the R will get Pilot Sport Cup 2s, each of a singular compound, stated Ford. Steering effort was a bit too mild for such a quick automobile, however the highway really feel was close to excellent. Ford mentioned it tried to “scale back wander” with the digital energy-assisted steering  system, however we felt little bit of it. The tires gripped the traces within the highway and adopted uneven pavement, however that’s what we name “really feel” right here within the enterprise. It’s no guide-rack Alfa 4C, however it’s most likely the truest steering we’ve felt in an EPAS automobile.

On the curves, rises and drops of Laguna Seca, it was even higher. The GT350 went precisely the place it was pointed, with no lifeless spot on heart and with a directness that rivals some older Mazda Miatas and perhaps a Lotus or two. The brand new Recaro seats come customary, had been simple to regulate and supportive all the way in which as much as the shoulders. That’s additional essential when bouncing from apex to apex. A crimson sprint marks 12 o’clock on the flat-bottomed wheel, which comically whizzed backwards and forwards as we navigated the blind rising curves and the ear-popping Corkscrew, however at Laguna, the brakes had been the workhorse.

GT350 interior

The inside of the GT350 provides the brand new Sync system, and even air con.

 

The 2-piece, aluminum-hat rotors (love that time period; conjures up little robots with shiny helmets) measure 15.5 inches in entrance with six-piston calipers and 12.6 inches in again with 4 pots. These brakes are a few of the greatest components of the automobile. One inch in, you’re at zero mph. As quickly as your foot strikes left, you’ve already scrubbed velocity, by some means. A number of instances we needed to embarrassingly get again on the fuel after braking too early. They had been fade-free in two and half hours of monitor time.

The brakes have been the workhorse, however the powertrain was the star. Once more, the engine revs fast, and to seeming infinity. Down the entrance straight it screams till your ears are bloody, after which goes 1,000 rpms greater. That entrance straight with the scary kink/hump, after which climbing the hill earlier than the ‘Screw, had been the one occasions we shifted close to redline constantly. At eight,000 it seems like a jet aircraft taking off. Your left foot needs to push the clutch at 6,000, however you must cease it. Don’t carry, don’t shift. Getting again on the ability after an apex was a cinch, and the tremendous-sticky tires by no means gave up. The traction management mild solely got here on as soon as, although monitor mode is about as much as permit a little bit slip. There was zero understeer, and solely a contact of oversteer once we actually tried to induce it.

All the above signifies that this Shelby GT350 Mustang drives 500 kilos lighter than it’s. Sensitive however simple-to-modulate brakes, gentle, fast steering and a jack rabbit 5.2 will do this to a …pony automobile? Scratch that, a race horse.

Ford Mustang Shelby GT350

Do I need it?

Let’s simply say that in the event you paid $forty four,000 for 2015 Mustang GT Premium, you is perhaps just a little indignant. A naked-bones GT350 will price $forty eight,695 together with vacation spot. Nevertheless, you will need the MagneRide dampers, which solely include the Monitor Pack possibility at $6,500 or the Tech Pack at $7,500. The GT350R, which comes with the adjustable dampers and people candy carbon fiber wheels, begins at $sixty two,195.

Fuel mileage is low at 14 metropolis, 21 freeway. Visibility, as with nearly all Mustangs, isn’t nice — even much less so within the R with the large wing, which blocks a lot of the horizon. The trouble on the dual-disc clutch is a little bit gentle and it took some getting used to. It’s additionally brash, loud and is available in quite a lot of look-at-me colours and stripes. If you wish to mix in, this isn’t your automobile.

It does have air con, although, and you may specify the Tech Pack that comes with the newest Sync system. The cupholders are offset from the stickshift, so in contrast to some observe-centered automobiles it may probably be taken on a street journey. It makes the previous GT500 really feel like rhinoceros. The non-R mannequin even has again seats.

No matter you do, a minimum of on the monitor, hold that mantra in your thoughts. Don’t raise, and for chrissakes, don’t shift.

 

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