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.
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.
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.
noise & vibration
ease of use
getting in/getting out
audio & navigation
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.
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