2018 Ford Shelby GT350

2018 Ford Shelby GT350 Review

The 2018 Ford Shelby GT350 might look like a pumped-up Mustang, but it's so much more than that.
8.2 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Travis Langness
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

This is likely the only year you'll be able to argue that the Ford Shelby GT350 is inferior to the regular Mustang. While the standard Mustang that it's based on gets a significant update this year that includes new styling and features, the GT350 stays the same. Luckily for us, we like the Shelby GT350 just the way it is.

The GT350 is a muscle car for the track day-obsessed. Yes, it shares some looks and interior parts with the standard Mustang, but the key differences are hidden from view. Under the hood is a non-turbocharged 5.2-liter V8. It revs up to 8,200 rpm, punches out 526 horsepower, and even has a flat-plane crankshaft that lends a distinctive warble to the engine's sound. From there, the GT350 has a race-tuned adaptive suspension, high-performance brakes, and all sorts of supportive powertrain upgrades that set it apart. It'll lay down thick stripes of rubber in a straight line, naturally, but the GT350 is most at home around a complicated racetrack or a winding mountain road.

Despite its focus on performance, the GT350 is comfortable and relatively quiet (when your right foot isn't planted on the floor), and it could easily serve as a daily driver. Well-rounded and massively entertaining, the GT350 is definitely our idea of the ultimate Mustang.



What's new for 2018

While the standard 2018 Mustang gets a variety of updates (including refreshed front and rear styling), the 2018 Shelby GT350 is unchanged.

We recommend

Our recommendation for the Shelby GT350 is to get the base model. Just make sure to get the optional Electronics package. The standard GT350 standard infotainment system is pretty underwhelming, but getting that package replaces it with a few key upgrades that include an 8-inch touchscreen with Sync 3, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a nine-speaker sound system with satellite radio



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Ford Shelby GT350 is a high-performance version of the Mustang coupe. There are two trim levels: the base GT350 and the race-focused GT350R. Essentially, the GT350 is the track-day version of a Mustang and, as such, it has many performance features that you won't see on a standard rental Mustang.

Standard equipment for the base GT350 includes a 5.2-liter V8 (526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque), a six-speed manual transmission, 19-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers and heavy-duty springs, Brembo brakes, a Torsen rear differential (with 3.73 gearing), a front-suspension tower brace, three powertrain coolers (oil, differential and transmission), adjustable drive settings, xenon headlights, a rear spoiler and diffuser, and keyless ignition and entry.

Inside, you'll find manually adjustable Recaro front seats with simulated suede inserts, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth, a 4.2-inch center display, Track Apps performance telemetry, a rearview camera, phone and audio voice commands (Sync), smartphone app integration, and a six-speaker sound system with two USB ports.

Opting for the Electronics package equips the GT350 with dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8-inch touchscreen with Sync 3 (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity), a navigation system, and a nine-speaker audio system with satellite radio. The Convenience package adds leather upholstery, driver-seat memory settings, six-way power-adjustable sport front seats with power lumbar for the driver, and heating and ventilation for the front seats.

The GT350R gets most of the GT350's standard equipment, plus 19-inch carbon-fiber wheels (with special Michelin tires), revised suspension tuning and aerodynamic body enhancements (front chin splitter and carbon-fiber rear wing, most notably). The GT350R comes without the air conditioning, sound system, floor mats, rear seat, rearview camera, Sync system and tire inflation kit. To get those features back, Ford offers the R-Electronics package, which puts almost all of it back in the car along with the dual-zone climate control, nine-speaker sound system, and the previously mentioned 8-inch touchscreen with Sync 3.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 (5.2L V8 | six-speed manual | RWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Ford Shelby GT350 has received only minor revisions such as the addition of the track suspension as standard equipment (our test car was equipped with that option) and the introduction of some additional available options. Our findings remain applicable to this year's Ford Shelby GT350.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall8.2 / 10

Driving

9.0 / 10

Acceleration10.0 / 10
Braking9.0 / 10
Steering8.0 / 10
Handling9.0 / 10
Drivability8.0 / 10

Comfort

9.0 / 10

Seat comfort9.0 / 10
Ride comfort9.5 / 10
Noise & vibration8.5 / 10
Climate control7.5 / 10

Interior

8.0 / 10

Ease of use7.5 / 10
Getting in/getting out6.5 / 10
Driving position9.0 / 10
Roominess7.0 / 10
Visibility7.5 / 10
Quality7.5 / 10

Utility

7.5 / 10

Small-item storage7.0 / 10
Cargo space7.5 / 10

Technology

6.0 / 10

Audio & navigation6.0 / 10
Smartphone integration6.0 / 10

Driving9.0

Ford has every right to be proud of this car. It's well-rounded, well-mannered and well-equipped enough to handle most anything you want it to. It's arguably the best Mustang ever built, from the motor to the handling to the sheer thrill it gives drivers.

Acceleration10.0

This engine is impressively flexible. It may feel a bit soft under 3,500 rpm, but it never stumbles and is happy to be driven casually. Once you let it rip, there's nothing else like it. The power is astonishing. Addicting. And that sound!

Braking9.0

The pedal is a bit firm and does require some effort. But these are extremely capable brakes that are easy to modulate around town. Challenging roads didn't induce any fade. Bonus: They've got massive visual appeal when parked.

Steering8.0

It's accurate and responsive but largely devoid of feel. There are three selectable modes (Comfort, Normal and Sport) but the differences are minimal. The steering wheel feels very good in your hands, and the buttons do not get in the way.

Handling9.0

Good, predictable grip but not as aggressive as you might expect. Well-mannered on all sorts of pavement. Superior turn-in is likely a consequence of the GT350's unique tires and alignment because it has the same steering rack as the GT.

Drivability8.0

Tricky clutch take-up, but as with the brakes, you quickly get used to it. The engine is happy to lope through traffic and never feels high-strung or finicky. The gears are well-stacked, but the plasticky shift action could be better.

Comfort9.0

Just as impressive as the 5.2-liter V8 are the comfort and level of refinement of the GT350. Over a variety of road surfaces, the Shelby remains composed and predictable and gives the driver plenty of confidence. The car is well within its rights to be a lot worse and still get away with it.

Seat comfort9.0

Though the seats look similar to the Recaros available in the GT, the bolsters are shaped differently and don't interfere with gear selection as they can in the regular Mustang. The seats are very supportive and quite comfortable over long distances.

Ride comfort9.5

If the engine wasn't so amazing, the adaptive suspension would steal the show. It's surprisingly comfortable given the car's performance focus. Normal and Sport modes are suitable for just about any road condition. Body control is excellent. Even Track mode isn't punishing.

Noise & vibration8.5

The cabin is surprisingly quiet, especially for a car with frameless windows and aggressive tires. In the default exhaust mode, the V8 keeps to itself, with only a hint of resonance around 1,800 rpm. No buzzes or rattles.

Climate control7.5

The single-zone climate control system is shared with the standard Mustang. It's straightforward and efficient and keeps up even when you're driving hard.

Interior8.0

Thankfully the GT350 doesn't deviate too much from the standard Mustang's interior layout. Though some shortcomings remain, the Recaro seats, straightforward instrumentation and simulated suede-accented steering wheel help keep the interior from getting in the way of a good time.

Ease of use7.5

Most controls are familiar Mustang pieces, but the base radio and media interface is incongruously low-buck. It's a nod to austerity (the larger touchscreen is optional), but with too many buttons, some of them unlabeled, it's the low point of the interior.

Getting in/getting out6.5

As aggressive and supportive as the Recaro seats are, they are relatively easy to get in and out of. The long doors can make it easy but can also be a hassle in a confined space. Access to the rear seat is laughable, as is the legroom.

Driving position9.0

The manually adjustable Recaros are superb and offer more than adequate support for most people. The steering wheel position and spoke layout are excellent. It's comfortable and easy to drive in a relaxed or aggressive manner.

Roominess7.0

Interior space has not been compromised in the name of performance. There's adequate headroom and shoulder room for two adults, but some might find the center console a bit intrusive. The rear seats should be considered as storage.

Visibility7.5

Aided by a lower-profile hood, the GT350 has decent outward visibility, especially for the segment. The rear quarter windows are appreciated even though they are small. The tiny rearview camera display is disappointing.

Quality7.5

With the exception of the base multimedia interface, fit and finish is fairly good. Cheap-feeling plastics can be found, but most of the control surfaces feel appropriate, the shift knob being the only real exception. No squeaks or rattles.

Utility7.5

No one's going to buy a GT350 based on its ability to carry lumber and Big Gulps, but the Shelby retains every bit of a standard Mustang's practicality. You might have to declutter to find room for your personal effects, but the usable trunk makes the GT350 an everyday-driver proposition.

Small-item storage7.0

There's not a ton of space for small items outside of the center console and cupholders. The door pockets are on the small and shallow side.

Cargo space7.5

Even with the slightly high liftover, both trunk access and cargo space are decent for the class. And the GT350 retains split and folding rear seatbacks, which give it even more flexibility and practicality.

Technology6.0

Multimedia and integrated technology were never the highest priorities of the GT350. Our car's lackluster performance in this area can be cured by adding the Electronic package.

Audio & navigation6.0

This GT350 came with the base audio system, which lacks navigation and the 8-inch LCD touchscreen. Though the sound quality is adequate, this base system looks low-rent, especially in a vehicle of this price.

Smartphone integration6.0

Phone integration is fairly straightforward with both Apple and Android phones, but nothing special. The optional Electronic package would make technology integration easier and involve less guesswork.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.