DEARBORN, Michigan — The 2015-'16 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R will be the first vehicle from a major automaker to feature carbon-fiber wheels as standard equipment on a production vehicle, Ford said on Friday as it updated details on the highly anticipated street-legal racecar.
"Among sports car enthusiasts, carbon-fiber wheels are on the short list of dream components for high-performance vehicles," Ford said in a statement.
The carbon-fiber wheels reduce vehicle weight by 60 pounds compared to aluminum, yet are stiffer for better steering response.
"We believe this is a game changer for the industry," said Adam Wirth, Ford Performance chassis supervisor, in a statement.
The automaker said durability testing on the wheels included curb strikes, UV and chemical exposure and extreme heat.
The wheels feature a special high-gloss black finish that "ensures a long life," Ford said.
Ford spokesman Chris Terry told Edmunds the wheels are the biggest difference between the Ford Mustang GT350 and the GT350R.
The GT350 and GT350R will be available at Ford dealerships later this year.
For the 2016 model year, the GT350 and GT350R will be low-volume vehicles. Ford will also have a limited run of 100 GT350 vehicles and 37 GT350R models for the 2015 model year. They will also be available later this year.
Terry provided updated pricing on the high-performance Mustangs.
The GT350 starts at $49,995, including an $825 destination charge and a $1,300 gas-guzzler tax. The GT350R starts at $63,495, including destination and gas-guzzler tax.
The key competitor to the GT350R is the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.
Edmunds says: Ford said that it is helping to reinvent the wheel with this major step forward — and that's not hyperbole.