Sixth-gen Mustang earns its stripes
HE Ford Shelby GT Mustang is an icnonic car probably best remembered from the roaring 1967 GT500, nicknamed “Eleanor”, that starred in Gone in 60 Seconds.
Now it’s back as the flagship of the new sixth-generation Ford Mustang range, and under the Shelby GT350 Mustang’s striped hood is the most powerful normally-aspirated engine in Ford’s history: a high-revving 5.2 V8 pushing more than 500hp (373kW in metric terms) along with over 540Nm of torque.
Like the original Shelby GT350 launched way back in 1965, the new version builds on Carroll Shelby's original idea of transforming a great every-day car into a dominant road racer. Driving enthusiasts behind the wheel of a Shelby GT350 can expect to be treated to the most balanced, nimble and exhilarating production Mustang yet, says Ford.
The GT350’s suspension, brakes and aerodynamics have all been beefed up to cope with the extra power.
Along with the new-found independent rear suspension found on all sixth-generation Mustangs (previous Mustangs all had a solid axle), the
TGT350 goes a step further by offering continuously controlled MagneRide dampers that vary the suspension stiffness and boost handling. The brakes are uprated with bigger discs and calipers, and the car wears sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber on 19” mags.
Riding about 50mm lower than a standard Mustang, the GT350 also has optimised aerodynamics, and all bodywork from the windshield forward is unique to this high-performance model.
Giving the Shelby GT350 a more muscular look are contoured aluminum front fenders to accommodate the wider front track and wider wheel arches. The interior’s been sported up with specially designed Recaro sport seats and a flat-bottom steering wheel.
A new integrated driver control system allows selection of five modes that tailor the ABS, stability control, steering effort, throttle mapping, MagneRide tuning and exhaust settings.
Unfortunately the Shelby GT350 isn’t headed for South Africa as part of the new Mustang coupé range being launched here late next year. Local buyers will be offered the choice of a 320kW 5-litre V8 derivative or a 228kW four cylinder 2.3 turbo.