2018 Mustang Shelby GT350
I’m just going to jump right into the nitty-gritty about this Mustang because let’s face it, if you’re looking at this car it’s not for the towing capacity, it’s about performance. 2018 model year didn’t change much from 2017 other than colors. The 2017 model year included the track pack which added an; engine cooler, transmission cooler, differential cooler, aluminum strut brace, the adaptive dampers and rear spoiler.
- 5.2 liter V-8
- 526 hp
- 429 lb-ft torque
- 0-60 in 4.2 seconds
First stop in the Shelby is to go get gas, and this is where the car lured me into a false sense of security. The gas station was less than 500 yards away so I potted along gently, easing on the accelerator and clutch not knowing what to expect. It drives just like a ‘normal’ car at slow speeds and through the town. The car is fairly low to the ground (helping aerodynamics and handling) which means care is to be taken on steeper inclines as to not scuff the front underside.
Opening up the car you are met with the meanest of growls from the exhaust, that will sometimes pop and cackle, which in my case, makes me giggle like a 2 years old. Acceleration is worked for, if you want it, it’s there. You’ll get back what you put in. Push it half-heartedly and you’ll be met with a normal car, push it hard and the car responds like you just gave it an energy drink. The exhaust is an ‘active valve exhaust’ with a switch in the center stack to make it louder or quieter. I switched it to quieter briefly going through the town although didn’t notice a huge difference. This may differ on a track though and might be a handy feature not just for your neighbors but if end up at a track that noise tests. This car is after all meant for the track but can also be an everyday driver.
The GT350R is a more aggressive track version of the GT350 with no back seats, bigger front splitter, carbon fiber wheels, wing, and stiffer suspension. The GT500 is the straight-line version, Shelby.
An exhaust note that’ll make you grin like a Cheshire cat.
Ford worked hard on the sound of the exhaust, in a press release they said, “Strum a chord on an acoustic guitar, and you get a clean, simple sound wave – that’s your quiet Brahms’ Lullaby kind of mood,” he said. “Plug that guitar into an amp and crank it up to 11, and that’s your aggressive, crackling sound that really rocks your soul. We call that track mode.”
Exclusively available with the TREMEC® 6-speed manual transmission, gear changes are short, easy, and satisfying. Especially considering the redline is 8250rpm. The clutch is not at all what you’d expect for a performance car. Usually, they are stiff with short travel and heavy. No need to be doing left leg squats for this Mustang. The clutch pedal has a lot of travel, sits high off the floor and soft enough to manage even in traffic. The downside to this is, if your short like me (5’3″) my knee is up slightly higher than normal.
It is a muscle car, which to most people might bring up connotations of sloppy soft suspension, but the Shelby GT350 is meant to be taken to the track (you know, one that has corners) so, soft suspension wouldn’t be much fun in that instance. It’s more like a cross, that I’d call a ‘toned muscle car’. It has the muscle and the grunt yes, but it’s refined to where it can perform …on the corners. There is a very distinct feeling of the rear wheels pushing the car around corners. I approached a corner that was initially a big wide sweeping corner. It turned into (no pun intended) a much tighter (from a left 5 to a left 3 tightens in rally driving terms). Feathering the throttle, with weight on the outside of the corner, the g-force takes my ponytail. The car turns in tight and the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires grip beyond what you’d normally expect. This is very much a drivers car that could easily have potential to go wrong. To help get the most out of the car and hone in those driving skills, Ford performance offers a complimentary track day for GT350 owners.
The MagneRide® suspension is adaptable to both comfortable cruising and more aggressive driving between ‘Normal’ and ‘Sport ‘ modes. I did not have the opportunity to try out ‘Track Mode’ although I’d love to see what this car is capable of on the track.
The deep Recaro bucket seats are a lot more rigid than say the likes of the Challenger bucket seats. Challenger seats are softer and more ‘forgiving’. You can’t argue the Mustang seats do a great job of holding you in place. Again, with me being smaller, I don’t have much room between the bolsters and my elbows. Mainly because my legs are short. I don’t think Ford really had in mind a small female when they were designing the car so not the cars fault. Other than the bolsters being too big for me to be comfortable turning the steering wheel, I prefer the more rigid Alcantara bucket seats in the Mustang. This reduces the chance of sliding around in the seat.
Also wrapped in Alcantara is the steering wheel which is beautiful. It is just the right size, with good feedback, ever so important flat bottom and the line at the top. In the center console at the bottom are toggle switches reminiscent of a race car with features embedded such as; launch control, line lock and active exhaust.
Don’t get too excited about the rear seats. Yes, they are there and yes you might fit a small human (unless I’m driving thus making more space in the back!). They are more of a glorified shelf in the form of rear bucket seats. Apparently, if you fold them down, you hear the exhaust better or create more cargo room.
Some of the features included are;
- Track Apps
- Aluminum instrument panel (Shelby exclusive)
- Aluminum foot pedals
- Grey accent gauge cluster
- Miko® Suede seats and door trim.
Now, all we need is a track to take it to!
Lauren has been working in the automotive industry both in the U.K and in the U.S. for over 10 years. A car geek, photographer, big game chaser and bagpipe player, powered by coffee. Send your questions to: