ALLEN PARK, Michigan — The 2015-'16 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT350R will live up to all the hype. The new 5.2-liter V8 engine punches out 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque, all without the help of a turbocharger, supercharger or even a dab of the automaker's EcoBoost treatment.
The top-of-the-line Mustangs arrive at Ford dealerships in force this fall.
During a press event Tuesday, Ford revealed details about the all-new V8 including a list of "firsts" for the automaker.
Specifically, the V8 is Ford's first application of a flat-plane crankshaft, a component found in the engine of the Ferrari California, along with several other six-figure exotics and cars engineered for racing.
In addition, the V8 is the highest revving engine in the automaker's history — a 8,250-rpm red line. Finally, in terms of horsepower and torque, the 5.2-liter V8 is the most powerful naturally aspirated engine every created by the automaker.
The two Mustangs are essentially street-legal racecars.
Ford will produce 100 2015 Shelby GT350 and 37 Shelby GT350R models. Those should begin filtering into dealerships later this summer. Production of the 2016 model will start shortly after the 2015s are shipped to dealers. Ford will not say how many 2016 vehicles will be built.
Speaking during the press event, Eric Ladner, engine program supervisor, said the 5.2-liter V8 is a new engine with unique block, heads, valves, crankshaft, intake, pistons and exhaust system. The engine did not evolve from Ford's 5.0-liter V8. Ladner said three goals were established when development started about three years ago.
"First was the torque curve, high and wide," he said. "We just didn't want high power at high speed. We wanted a broad torque curve designed for the track."
The engine produces 90 percent of peak torque between 3,450 and 7,000 rpm. The V8 engine has 12.0:1 compression and runs on 93-octane fuel.
"The second thing we were after was high maximum engine speed," he said. "Not just power at the high speed but usable speed beyond that that drivers on a track appreciate. It is the ability to reduce the number of shifts and carry you further into the turn without having to upshift."
A six-speed manual is the only transmission offered.
The 5.2-liter V8 produces 526 hp at 7,500 rpm and 429 lb-ft of torque at 4,750 rpm, Ford said. An engine highlight is the application of a flat-plane crankshaft, which is lighter and revs faster than a conventional V8 crankshaft. The crankshaft greatly increases airflow, which is essential for more horsepower.
However, auto enthusiasts say a flat-plane crankshaft generates a greater degree of engine vibration which is why only a handful of vehicles, namely exotic supercars, have an engine built with it.
Ladner said the third goal was weight reduction.
"Weight we know is important to a track vehicle and it was part of every single discussion and every decision we made," he said.
The special Mustang models will be assembled alongside other Mustangs at the Ford plant in Flat Rock, Michigan. Currently, only preproduction vehicles are being built.
Jamal Hameedi, Ford Performance chief engineer, said, "I think we came up with something that hopefully will live up to the legend of the original 289" V8 back in the 1960s. That "was an amazing engine."
Edmunds says: Ford "firsts" should attract Blue Oval enthusiasts looking for a hot ride.