Top Mustangs - 2016 Shelby GT350

April 12th, 2021 Chris Phillip
Top Mustangs - 2016 Shelby GT350
With the launch of the 2015 Mustang chassis (engineering code S550), many enthusiasts considered what might be the Mustang brand’s halo vehicle. Previous model years saw the GT500 reach 662 hp with an all-aluminum 5.8L DOHC supercharged modular engine. However, the new S550 platform’s overall nose height and tightening emissions standards meant the 5.8L supercharged power plant would see its demise at the end of 2014 Shelby GT500 production. With recent specialty models like the Mach 1 and Boss 302 having already been produced, speculation ran high as to whether Ford would offer another Boss model or if they’d see something with the Shelby nameplate affixed. When the new 2015 Mustang launched, Ford was fairly hush on any halo models, but as 2016 production started news began to leak of on-road product testing of a S550 Mustang with a unique exhaust note. As we now know, that unique high-winding sound of the Gods is from a 5.2L naturally aspirated DOHC modular engine that features a flat-plane crankshaft design in the new Ford Shelby GT350.

While the big talk amongst the performance-car magazines and websites everywhere is the flat-plane crankshaft usage and its enhanced rpm range (redline on the 5.2L is 8,200 rpm!), there is indeed plenty more to discuss that is new to the Mustang courtesy of the GT350’s production. The GT350 is a track-focused design that was compared to such competition as the BMW M4 and Porsche GT3 and is one of the most track-tested Mustangs in history. The GT350 utilizes lightweight components to increase power-to-weight ratio as well as enhance handling and stability. A carbon-fiber radiator support is used to reduce frontal weight, while the complete front sheet metal, fascia, and hood are different than base Mustangs to reduce frontal area/lower hood height for better aerodynamics. Two-piece brake rotors feature aluminum hats to save on weight and help with brake cooling.

Optional packages, such as the Track Package, feature MagnaRide electronically dampened shocks/struts and integral oil coolers for the transmission, engine, and rear axle making the GT350 track ready right off the showroom floor. The new Ford Shelby GT350’s performance benchmark, collectability, and Shelby heritage have earned this latest Mustang a spot here on our top 10 list for certain.

About the photo: Exclusive to the Shelby GT350, the 5.2-liter V8 employs Ford’s first use of a flat-plane crankshaft. Combined with cylinder head and valvetrain advancements, the engine develops 526 horsepower with a rev limit of 8,250 rpm.

Story by Mark Houlahan