2016 BMW M2, Chevrolet Camaro SS, Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R: The Golden Age of Performance [Review]

The Best Track Car $60k Buy – 2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R

2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R

It’s almost hard to imagine Ford producing one of the best sports cars for under $100k, but with the new Mustang Shelby GT350R, the blue oval has hit a bonafide home run. Much anticipation has built up around this next generation Shelby, and for once all the hype is justified.

Much has already been written about the Shelby’s normally aspirated 5.2 L flat-plane V8, which produces an impressive 526 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque, and revs to an astonishing 8,250 rpm. All-in-all, it sounds absolutely fantastic, and running it flat out through 2nd and 3rd gear is an almost otherworldly experience.

The Shelby comes in two flavors: the GT350 and GT350R. Both share the 5.2-liter V8 and 6-speed Tremec manual transmission, as well as some beefy Brembo brakes. For an extra $13.5k the GT350R turns the Shelby into a track monster. Gone are such niceties as rear seats, carpeting, and a stereo, for a weight savings of over 100 pounds. The biggest addition is a set of sweet 19-inch carbon fiber wheels, which weigh a paltry 18 pounds each – with tires! Rounding out the package is a set of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, suitably wide at 305/30 up front and 315/30 rear.

The result is a sports car that feels so at home on the track it makes other less track-prepped cars just seem silly. Steering response is insanely good, which no doubt has something to do with the trick carbon wheels, and the car just hugs the corners. After a limited number of laps, we were only just beginning to get close to the limits of the car, which are very, very high.

The base Shelby GT350 starts at $47,795, with the GT350R ringing in at
$61,295, although rumor has it that dealers are charging quite a premium. Still, for well under $100k you have a true sports car that can lap the track all day and easily be driven home. Sure, the Corvette Stingray also offers impressive performance for the money, and the Porsche Cayman is also quite brilliant, but for around $60k we can’t think of another sports car we’d rather own.

GT350 video – Run What You Brung Mile High 0-60 MPH Challenge

2016 Shelby GT350 2015 Shelby GT350R
Engine 5.2L Flat Plane Crank V8 5.2L Flat Plane Crank V8
Power 526 hp @ 7500 rpm 526 hp @ 7500rpm
Torque 429 lb-ft @ 4750 rpm 429 lb-ft @ 4750 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual 6-speed manual
Drivetrain Layout rear-wheel drive rear-wheel drive
Curb Weight 3,760 lbs. 3,655 lbs.
MagneRide Suspension No Yes
Wheels 19-in cast aluminum alloy 19-in carbon fiber
Tires GT350 specific Michelin Pilot Sport GT350R specific Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2
Brakes 15.5-in rotors, 6-piston – front
15.0-in rotors, 4-piston – rear
15.5-in rotors, 6-piston – front
15.0-in rotors, 4-piston – rear
Base Price $49,995* $63,495*