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The newest Ford model to wear the Shelby badge is here and it’s the most powerful naturally aspirated engine the brand has ever produced!
Thanks to a unique flat-plane crankshaft and 5.2-liters of displacement, the powerplant for the new Shelby GT350 will make over 500 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque.
Billed by Ford as a “thoroughbred” this new Mustang is the modern iteration of the iconic ’65 version and, says Ford, will be a race car for the street. Designed on Carroll Shelby’s concept of taking a great street car and transforming it into a track day weapon, the new GT350 is much more than just an awesome new engine.
Still, the motor is the real high-point of this new model. Far more than just a larger version of the current Mustang’s 5.0-liter V8, this new model uses a flat-plane crankshaft similar to those in race cars or exotic European sports car. Rather than connecting rods that bolt to the crankshaft at 90-degree intervals, a flat-plane crankshaft uses 180-degree intervals, which allows for cylinder firing that alternates from cylinder banks, while avoiding exhaust pressure overlaps. There’s also no need to add counterweights to the crankshaft, meaning it will rev much more freely. Add to this an updated valvetrain and reworked cylinder head and Ford looks to be fulfilling its promise about bringing a race car to the street.
It’s also supposed to sound glorious with Jamal Hameed, chief engineer, Ford Global Performance Vehicles, commenting that, “the 5.2- liter produces a distinctive, throaty howl from its four exhaust tips.”
Ford promises this new engine will deliver a broader torque curve and comes paired with a six-speed transmission and a Torsen limited slip differential.
But that is only the beginning. Ford stiffened up the Mustang’s chassis and there’s even an available front strut tower bar. Big 19-inch wheels measuring 10.5-inches up front and 11-inches in the rear come wrapped in sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires made specifically for the car. And to take advantage of those larger wheels and tires, the Shelby GT350 gets a wider front track, which is accentuated with new, more prominent fenders..
Inside those wheels is what Ford calls the, “the most track-credible brake system ever offered on a Ford vehicle in terms of absolute stopping power, fade resistance and brake pedal feel.”
Up front are 394-mm cross-drilled iron discs mated to aluminum hats with six-piston Brembo calipers, while the rear gets 380-mm versions mated to four-piston calipers.
With a retuned suspension setup the GT350 sits lower to the ground compared to the Mustang GT, but the real suspension magic comes from the shocks, with Ford’s first ever use of MagneRide dampers that can continuously adjust their stiffness every 10 milliseconds.
And the Shelby GT350 looks the part of a purpose built machine too with a new more sloped hood to help improve the car’s aerodynamics, a redesigned front end and an aerodynamic underbody panel. New hood vents cool the engine and act to reduce lift at speed, while a minimalist rear lip spoiler also adds downforce without adding drag.
Inside the Shelby gets the goodies you’d expect like cloth Recaro seats, a flat-bottom steering wheel and a reduction of frivolous chrome finishes. And to maximize the car’s performance there’s a new integrated driver control system that allows for different settings for the ABS, traction and stability control, throttle response, steering feel, exhaust note and suspension settings.
Set to be revealed later today at an event in Los Angeles ahead of the LA Auto Show, look for our first look video of the car soon!
GALLERY: Shelby GT350 Mustang
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