Goodness Lord, it's beautiful.
The wait is finally over. Just a day ahead of its official live unveiling at the 2014 LA Auto Show, Ford has pulled the sheets off its new Shelby GT350 Mustang. Let's get straight to it: power comes from a high-revving flat-plane crankshaft 5.2-liter V8 that will produce more than 500 horsepower. It's the most powerful naturally aspirated Ford production engine ever. Peak torque is above 400 lb-ft. A six-speed manual and Torsen limited-slip differential come standard, while an engine oil cooler and transmission cooler will be a part of the optional "Track Pack."
Compared to the standard Mustang GT, Ford has stiffened the chassis even more thanks to a cutting-edge injection-molded carbon-fiber composite grille opening and optional lightweight tower-to-tower brace. The front track has been increased while spring rates and bushings have been recalibrated all around. Ride height, compared to the GT, has also been reduced. It sits on a set of extra-stiff 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels housing huge Brembo six-piston fixed calipers with integrated caliper bridges. For ultra-quick responsiveness to changing conditions, Ford, for the first time ever, added continuously controlled MagneRide dampers. The new aluminum hood has been lowered even further and sloped when compared to the base Mustang.
It's tightly wrapped around the engine to guarantee the smallest possible aerodynamic signature. Front and rear aero elements are also new as well as a resculpted fascia that provides the aggressive lower front splitter with maximum pressure.
The rear diffuser does double duty by increasing downforce and provides cooling air to the optional differential cooler. There are also recontoured aluminum front fenders to accommodate the wider front rack and wider wheel arches. The interior has also been optimized for driving, such as specially designed Recaro seats, flat-bottom steering wheel, and upgraded gauges. A new integrated driver control system allows the selection of five driving modes that tailor ABS, stability control, traction control, steering effort, throttle mapping, and exhaust settings all to the driver's preference and to achieve maximum performance.
"Make no mistake, this is an American interpretation of a flat-plane crankshaft V8, and the 5.2-liter produces a distinctive, throaty howl from its four exhaust tips," stated Jamal Hameedi, chief engineer, Ford Global Performance Vehicles. Carroll Shelby would be very proud.