2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 first drive evaluate: A extra approachable monitor star

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The monitor on the M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Michigan, is a difficult and tight highway course. OK, shoehorning in a miniature Laguna Seca throughout the metropolis limits of the Detroit suburb is an unrealistic expectation. However the M1’s slender width, sharp turns, ridiculously tight hairpin, and brief, 1.5-mile structure appears ideally fitted to one thing small and light-weight, like a Mazda MX-5 Miata or sizzling hatchback.

But the M1 Concourse is the place I am getting my first stint behind the wheel of the 526-horsepower 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350. It is essentially the most track-focused ‘Stang you should purchase immediately. However is it an excessive amount of to deal with on a decent monitor like this?

Standout efficiency

One of many GT350’s key upgrades for 2019 is a brand new set of tires: Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubbers substitute the previous Pilot Tremendous Sports activities. Along with the additional grip afforded by these sticker sneakers, side-to-side weight switch and total stability is improved due to recalibrated adaptive damper tuning, in addition to stiffer entrance and rear springs, and a thicker rear antiroll bar.

Hitting your required turn-in, apex, and track-out factors is simple due to the GT350’s responsive and communicative steering, to not point out its outstanding chassis reflexes. By M1’s tight hairpin flip, a contact of understeer reveals up, but it surely’s simply corrected by dialing in additional throttle to get the rear finish to rotate.

New Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires play a giant half within the GT350’s sharper reflexes.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

Down the half-mile straightaway, the GT350’s 5.2-liter, naturally aspirated, flat-plane-crank V8 actually will get to work, with 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque on faucet. This is similar engine as final 12 months’s GT350, and it is completely good, with sturdy, linear energy supply all the best way as much as the 8,250-rpm redline — and an excellent accompanying soundtrack, besides. The Tremec six-speed guide transmission gives exact motion, mixed with a properly weighted, easy-to-work clutch pedal.

Ford says the coupe’s restyled entrance fascia and new rear spoiler supply massive aerodynamic enhancements, however I can not go quick sufficient on the M1 to essentially say I discover them. Nearer to the Shelby’s 180-mph high pace, nevertheless, I am certain these tweaks are useful.

The sweeping-right Flip 6 requires a agency foot on the brake pedal, asking the six-piston entrance and four-piston rear Brembo calipers to gradual issues, which they do rapidly and steadily. Properly-spaced pedals enable for heel-and-toe shifting, and mixed with prompt throttle response, downshifting earlier than every flip is an absolute cinch.

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Suspension and tire upgrades make the Shelby GT350 a magician round a race monitor.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

What impresses me most concerning the GT350 is how forgiving it’s proper as much as the restrict. That is an extremely approachable automobile, but nonetheless sufficiently uncooked and oh-so enjoyable. Whether or not you solely have reasonable monitor expertise otherwise you’re a full-fledged monitor rat, you’ll drive the GT350 arduous and have a blast whereas doing so.

In fact, I’m wondering how the GT350 will maintain up after longer monitor periods. Will the almost 3,800-pound curb weight wreak havoc on the brakes? How will these new tires maintain up? M1 Concourse is a good place to expertise the brand new Shelby briefly, however for a automobile designed for monitor use, I will be to see the way it handles a full day of enjoyable.

Livable, however thirsty avenue automobile

The GT350 is not the proverbial one-trick pony. The Shelby is simply superb for daily-driving duties, its Regular drive mode providing affordable give from the adaptive dampers, lighter steering and fewer ferocity from the lively exhaust. Sure, you may really feel impacts from massive bumps, however driving the Mustang GT350 round metro Detroit is much from jarring.

It sounds nice, however the flat-plane V8 is a thirsty, 526-horsepower satan.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

Until you are knowledgeable driver, chances are high blitzing round race tracks each day will not be within the playing cards and romping round on the road is. For that, I am pleased to report that the Shelby is simply superb for that, too. The Regular drive mode gives affordable give from the adaptive dampers, lightens steering, and simmers down the tone from the lively exhaust. Impacts from greater bumpers are most positively nonetheless felt within the cabin, however are removed from jarring. The one small problem is that the large, aggressive 295/35R19 entrance and 305/35R19 rear Michelin tires are liable to tramlining on rutted Michigan roads.

The most important deterrent to driving one in all these on daily basis is gasoline financial system; the EPA estimates the 2019 Shelby GT350 will return 14 miles per gallon within the metropolis and 21 mpg freeway. These numbers are low sufficient to warrant a $1,300 fuel guzzler tax, too.

Supportive and cozy Recaro race seats come customary within the GT350.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

Easy and purposeful cabin

Inside, the 2019 GT350 is just about the identical as its predecessor. Outdoors of latest aluminum sprint trim and suede door panel inserts, you will discover acquainted Mustang environment. Customary Recaro entrance race seats are cozy and maintain passengers snuggly in place, and the tight backseat is greatest used for less than young children. Construct high quality is on par with the Chevrolet Camaros and Dodge Challengers of the world — in different phrases, good however not nice — and the trunk gives respectable cargo-carrying capability, with 13.5 cubic ft of area on supply.

On the tech entrance, the GT350 makes use of Ford’s tried-and-true Sync 3 interface, housed on an 8-inch touchscreen. A nine-speaker audio system, satellite tv for pc radio, Wi-Fi hotspot, and each Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come customary. Navigation with real-time site visitors and a brand new 12-speaker B&O sound setup are elective. For security, a rearview digital camera is customary, whereas out there options are restricted to blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

The Mustang to get when you’ll be heading to the monitor usually.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

A dear Mustang

The 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 is on sale now with a base worth of $59,140, not together with $1,095 for vacation spot or the $1,300 fuel guzzler tax. That places it in an fascinating spot. It is barely extra inexpensive than the 650-horsepower Chevy Camaro ZL1, which begins at $62,000. However tack on the elective, $7,500 1LE Monitor Efficiency Bundle and the Camaro will get rather more costly. You get much more energy, however you pay to get the Camaro’s sharper reflexes.

However, subsequent to a $69,150 BMW M4, the Shelby appears to be like like a very good worth — particularly for a coupe that feels so particular pushed arduous on a monitor. If it is the best-handling Mustang you are after, the 2019 Shelby GT350 is unquestionably the one to get.

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