“2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang”
Blue Oval Team Improves Hot Pony (Muscle) Car
The Ford Motor Company’s Performance Division introduced the Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang last year with a lot of chutzpah and the capability of backing it up on the track. Ford launched the first pony car in the form of the Mustang just over 50 years ago, and has moved progressively from Pony to Muscle car. For the 2017 model year, the Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang returns to the performance arena with some enhancements – nothing major mind you, but the inventory of both standard and optional features and equipment has grown.
Last year’s optional Track Package has moved to the standard side of the equation, while adding an aluminum tower-to-tower structural brace, an integrated decklid spoiler, engine, oil and transmission coolers, along with Ford’s MagneRide adjustable magnetic suspension system. The majority of these features come as standard fare on the track oriented GT350R, but happened to jack up the price on last year’s GT350 by more than $6,000.
Power will still come from a naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V-8 that cranks out 526 horses at 7,500 rpm, while also delivering 429 pound feet of torque at 4,750 rpm to the rear wheels with a limited slip differential via a TREMEC 3160 six-speed manual gearbox, meaning that are no mechanical changes for 2017. The longitudinally mounted front engine with its flat-plane crankshaft design is void of supercharging or turbocharging.
In terms of technological content, the new GT350 ups the ante with two new optionally available packages: an Electronics Package that adds Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system, voice activated navigation as well as a nine-speaker audio system. The Convenience Package includes those features, while also replacing the old standard manually-adjustable Recaro sport seats with power-adjustable leather seats.
Some new colors have been added to the color palette for 2017: Ruby Red Metallic, Lightning Blue, and Grabber Blue are new, with last year’s Deep Impact Blue and Competition Orange eliminated. Starting price for the 2016 GT350 was $48,695., including Destination. The 2017 model GT350s are scheduled to go sale in June. These new offerings answer the call for what customers have requested, providing the most track-capable, race-ready Mustang built to date.
Essentially, this latest iteration Ford Shelby Mustang GT350 is a force to be reckoned with in the current performance car wars, considering its performance capability. The Electronic Power Assist Steering eliminates the drag of an engine-operated hydraulic power steering pump; and combined with the latest six-speed transmissions, the rear axle ratios offer the ideal blend of mellow cruising rpm or flat-out, tire-smoking acceleration.
In design and styling terms, the 2017 Shelby Mustang GT 350 is not dramatically changed from 2016. Appearance modifications that were implemented last year included: new fender badges and side trim join a new engine cover, and the speedometer display went up to 160 mph, while the tachometer redline increased from 6,500 to 7,000 rpm.
My 2017 Shelby GT350 Mustang featured a Ruby Red metallic exterior with White rallye stripes, while the interior was done in Ebony cloth with suede seating surfaces.\The base sticker read $54,295, while the addition of options and the Destination and Delivery charge elevated the final total up to $60,365 before tax and license fees.
SUMMARY: The 2017 Shelby Mustang GT350 four-passenger sports car is ideal for drivers with the need for speed. It rolls on Michelin Pilot Sport staggered rubber, wrapping around 19” 10-spoke black painted alloy wheels – 10.5 inches wide up front and 11 inches in the rear. The 5.2-liter V8 emits an incredibly sweet rumble from its exhaust in any gear, across the entire broad torque range. Acceleration comes swiftly and pleasingly. The manual gearbox delivers short throws smoothly and precisely, with a little attention needed for sixth gear due to the spring loading.
Slide into the supportive heavily bolstered Recaro seat and push the red start /stop button on the console and relish the cold start exhaust bark., then for even more audible enjoyment, flip the exhaust switch to Sport, which opens up the exhaust for an even healthier V* rumble.
The ride quality is firm and stable, yet complaint and comfortable, with handing characteristics totally civilized, even when pushed to the edge. Interior ergonomics optimally place switchgear and controls for ease of use and functionality. There’s a power outlet positioned high on the dash, between the air vents that is ideal for plugging in a radar detector, while another resides in the center console for other accessories such as phone, iPod or MP3 player which may all be SYNCed through Ford’s latest SYNC3 connectivity system.
The return of the 5.2-liter V8, powering the 2017 Mustang GT from Ford continues as a most welcome addition. It delivers not only admirable power and performance levels, but also great driving FUN while enjoying a heightened level of efficiency. It’s a wild horse that’s indeed tamable. The GT350R is a cut above the base GT350 for real speed junkies.
Adding to the Shelby GT350’s appeal is 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty along with a 5-year/60,000mile roadside assist program.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang Sport Coupe
Base Price: $54,295.
Price as Tested: $60,365.
Engine Type and Size: 5.2-liter, DOHC, 32-valve, naturally aspirated Ti-VCT V8 with electronic sequential multiport fuel injection with flat plane crank.
Horsepower (bhp): 526 @ 7,500 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 429 @ 4,750 rpm
Transmission: TREMEC 3160 Six-speed manual.
Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / Rear-Wheel Drive with limited slip differential.
Front-Independent MacPherson struts with dual lower ball joints, coil springs, driver-adjustable 5-mode magnetorheological dampers, stabilizer bar.
Rear –Independent multilink, coil springs, driver-adjustable five-mode magnetorheological dampers, stabilizer bar
Brakes: Power-assisted Four-wheel disc brakes with four-sensor, four-channel ABS and AdvanceTrac electronic stability control.
Tires: Michelin Pilot Sport 295/35 ZR 19×10.5” ZR19 Front / 305/35 ZR19x11” rear mounted on black 10-spoke alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 107.1 inches
Length Overall: 189.7 inches
Width: 75.9 inches
Height: 53.6 inches
Curb Weight: 3,655 lbs.
Turning Circle: Not listed.
Fuel Capacity: 16.0 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 14 mpg city / 21 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed
0 – 60 mph: 4.3 seconds.
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.