2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang

For some, only the most extreme will do, so Ford gleefully offers the 2017 Shelby GT350 Mustang. More akin to a racing car than a road car, the Shelby GT350 is both quick and fast. It also handles beautifully and stops with determined resolution.

 

Driving this car vigorously is an amazing experience.

 

Now, with that said, would I want to live with a GT350 and drive it every day?

 

Well, read on.

Shelby GT350: Art Comes To Life

The heart and soul of the Shelby GT350 is its 5.2-liter V8 engine. Capable of producing 526 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque, the Shelby’s powerplant brandishes an 8,250 rpm redline. Without going into too much technical detail, this is made possible in part because Ford’s engineers specified a flat-plane crankshaft.

With a “normal” crankshaft, the piston’s connecting rods are attached to the crank at 90-degree intervals. With a flat-plane crank, they’re attached at 180-degree intervals. This separates the exhaust pulses of each cylinder bank, which allows the engine to breathe more freely. This configuration also allows an engine to spin faster without ripping itself apart—thus the 8,250 rpm redline and an exhaust note you have to hear to believe. The six-speed manual transmission marries the lightweight dual-mass flywheel through a twin-disc clutch to feed the rear wheels.

Remarkably, even with all of its performance potential, the engine is perfectly content to noodle around town at 2,000 rpm, or cruise on the highway at 2,500 rpm. In other words, if you never press it, the Shelby GT350’s engine will never reveal the monster lurking inside. It’s the mechanical equivalent of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. There’s even a switch on the center stack you can toggle to make the engine run more quietly—though I always let the engine scream to its fullest potential. The sound is so delicious and test drives are so fleeting, I didn’t want to waste a single moment.

With this much engine, Ford could very easily have delivered the 21st century version of the traditional pony car; extremely fast in a straight line, but heaven help you change directions quickly. Here, the GT350, as does its lesser contemporary Mustang siblings, redefines the pony car as a delightful partner when roads twist and turn and try to throw you off their backs. The Shelby’s adaptive suspension system can be set to provide a relatively comfortable ride on rough roads, or firmed up to provide nearly infinite grip on smooth surfaces.

In fact, that word comes to mind for nearly every performance parameter of the GT350. The engine seems to wind forever, never running out of revs, regardless of the circumstance. You can run the Shelby at 80 miles per hour on the freeway in third gear with plenty of room left on the tachometer. Similarly, the suspension system takes a set and holds on with what feels like everlasting grip. Ditto the brakes. Hustling this Mustang over a hundred miles of mountain road, intentionally going deep into corners and braking late over and over again, the binders did their job with never ending competence. In fact, the only place the GT350 lets you down a bit is in steering feel—though it too is nearly telepathic in its responses.

Bets of all, these attributes are packaged in a comfortable and handsome two-door coupe hosting a plethora of comfort and convenience features—all while exhibiting the unflappable chill of Barack Obama. If ever there was a car you can drive back and forth to work on a daily basis, take it to the track on the weekend and be competitive without changing a thing, then drive it back home and repeat the process the following week, the 2017 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 has cracked that nut, removed the meat and served it up warmed and ready to consume. It really is that good. You absolutely could live with this car as your daily driver—no problem.

So, the question becomes; would you really want to? After all, once you get used to something this good as your daily driver, to what could you possibly look forward?

Pricing starts at $54,295.

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