If you want to buy a high-powered sport coupe but don’t necessarily want to part with high-powered money, you should check out the 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang. The new Mustang offers a titanic performance value that beats more expensive options such as the Chevrolet Corvette and ups the ante of its chief rival, the Chevrolet Camaro, which is also totally redesigned this year.
Although Ford has yet to detail pricing for the all-new Shelby GT350, it’s projected to start at just less than $50,000 (a hardcore, racetrack-focused GT350R version should start at around $65,000).
Considering the immense amount of performance-oriented hardware and engineering development that’s gone into the 2016 Shelby GT350 Mustang, it may emerge as one of the most desirable — and potentially collectible — Mustangs ever. Here are five things to think about as you’re giving this high-performance Mustang a look.
It’s Very Rare
This year, Ford plans to sell just 100 versions of the 2016 Shelby (and 37 copies of the racetrack-optimized Shelby GT350R). The 137-unit run matches the number of GT350 competition models originally built by legend Carroll Shelby in 1965.
It Has an Exotic Engine
Ford engineers broke a lot of rules when they insisted on the 2016 Shelby’s 5.2-liter V8 with a flat-plane crankshaft. The unique design allows the big V8 to rev to a spectacular 8,000 rpm and bark a guttural exhaust note like no other.
Ford hasn’t released the new GT350’s official power figures but said it will generate in excess of 500 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. The all-new V8 is the most powerful nonsupercharged engine that Ford has ever built.
It Has a Wild-Child Version
If the 2016 Shelby GT350 isn’t rare — or fast — enough, the GT350R includes ultra-high-performance measures meant to make it the ultimate racetrack weapon. How about no back seats? They’ve been jettisoned in order to save weight. Same goes for the air conditioning and the radio. Not only is the “stripped” Shelby 130 pounds lighter and sure to be faster, if history holds true, this no-compromises version will also surely be the most collectible.
It’s the Ultimate Handling Mustang
To back the claim, the 2016 Shelby GT350 has suspension upgrades and tuning tricks. It gets “the best-stopping brake system” ever made for a Mustang and the widest tires ever fitted to any Mustang.
But the best part may be the GT350’s special MagneRide adaptive shock absorbers that impart a supple everyday ride but are also able to deliver razor-edge handling on the racetrack. The driver can select from five specific settings — Tour, Sport, Track, Weather and Drag.
It’s Designed to Be Driven Every Day
One overriding focus in developing the 2016 GT350 was to make it comfortable and refined enough to use on public roads without getting beat up. The Shelby GT350 is ready for the racetrack, but that doesn’t come at the expense of being able to use this hyperperformance Mustang to commute to work or pick up the kids at school if that’s more your thing.