Here it is, the Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang. Ford has confirmed the iconic nameplate will return to its showroom powered by a unique, high-revving flat-plane crankshaft 5.2-litre V8 engine that will churn out more than 373kW (500bhp) and over 542Nm of torque.
Said to be the most powerful naturally aspirated Ford production engine ever, it is connected to a lightweight six-speed manual transmission driving the rear wheels via a Ford-tuned Torsen limited-slip differential.
“The final product is essentially an all-new powerplant unique to [the] GT350 – and one that takes true advantage of the new chassis dynamics of the Mustang platform,” said Jamal Hameedi, chief engineer of Ford Global Performance Vehicles.
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.
An optional Track Pack will be offered on the Shelby GT350 Mustang as well, bringing extra equipment such as an engine oil cooler and a transmission oil cooler.
The GT350 features an injection-molded carbon fibre composite grille opening and optional lightweight tower-to-tower brace. Compared to the standard Mustang, the GT350 gets a wider front track, while spring rates and bushings have been recalibrated all around, with the ride height reduced compared to the Mustang GT.
Due to the significant speeds the car can develop, GT350 features the most track-credible brake system ever offered on a Ford vehicle in terms of absolute stopping power, fade resistance and brake pedal feel. The brakes are two-piece cross-drilled iron discs mounted to aluminum hats. At the front are massive 394-millimeter rotors clamped by Brembo six-piston fixed calipers with integrated caliper bridges, while 380-millimeter rotors at the rear utilize four-piston calipers.
GT350 makes use of extra-stiff 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels – 10.5 inches wide in front, 11.0 inches in the rear – clad in state-of-the-art Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres with GT350-specific sidewall construction, tread face and compound. The custom tyres are designed to deliver maximum grip on the road or at the track.
Ultra-quick responsiveness to changing conditions is provided by the first-ever Ford application of continuously controlled MagneRide dampers. The dampers are filled with a hydraulic fluid impregnated with iron particles; when an electric current is passed through the fluid, a near-instant adjustment of the suspension performance can be made. With wheel position sensors monitoring motion thousands of times per second combined with other vehicle data, changes can be made to each corner independently every 10 milliseconds for optimum handling performance.
Inside, the car receives Recaro sport seats, unique gauges and less chrome and shiny surfaces to reduce sun glare. Additionally, there is an integrated driver control system offering five modes, each altering the stability control, ABS, traction control, throttle mapping, steering effort, exhaust and MagnaRide settings.
Drivers interested in comfort, convenience and entertainment upgrades may select the Tech Pack, which includes power, leather-trimmed seats; Shaker Audio; 8-inch MyFord Touch LCD touch screen; and dual zone electronic temperature control, to name a few features.