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2016 Ford Shelby GT350R Mustang : Current Models

It was December 2013 when Ford unveiled the highly-anticipated 2015 Mustang . The redesigned pony arrived with massive improvements over its predecessor, including an independent rear suspension, a revised interior, retuned engines and a brand-new 2.3-liter, EcoBoost four-banger. Less than a year has passed since then, and the sixth-generation Mustang received a much-needed high-performance version to replace last year’s Shelby-badged model. With the ink still wet on our 2016 Shelby GT350 review, the Blue Oval has yet another muscle car in the pipeline under the GT350R nameplate.

As you might have already guessed, the "R" at the end of the iconic name makes this Shelby the lightest, quickest and meanest Mustang yet, with a host of track-honed talents on top. If you missed the Mustang 302 Boss over the past couple of years, the GT350R is here not just to replace it, but take over from where Ford left it back in 2013 and open a brand-new chapter in this pony’s rich heritage. In short, you’re about to learn more about the most track-focused Mustang in history and Ford’s answer to the bonkers Camaro Z/28 .

Compared to the 2016 Shelby GT350, we think the future Shelby GT350R will add a new carbon-fiber splitter, a double bubble roof, larger intakes, new racing stripes, and intakes on the sides and behind the B-pillar. We also expect the vent on the hood to become a scoop and we expect the fog lights to be deleted.

Being based on the GT350, the R-badged Shelby inherits all of the former’s exterior characteristics, including the menacing body kit, the reshaped nose, the rear diffuser, the vented wheel wells, and turbulence-reducing fender vents. But Ford didn’t stop there, as it increased the GT350’s downforce-creating abilities by adding underbody belly panels on the front and rear, a revised front splitter, and a carbon-fiber rear wing. And I mean a rear wing, not just a trunk-mounted lip spoiler for cosmetic purposes. The GT350R is indeed the most track-focused Mustang ever created and the rear wing, which moves the vehicle’s center of pressure rearward while improving downforce and lift balance, is proof of the company’s intentions.

Moving on to detailing, the GT350R stands out when compared to the regular (like there’s anything regular about it) GT350 by means of red-painted brake calipers, red pinstripes for the optional "over-the-top" racing stripes, as well as "GT350R" badging on the front fenders. Needless to say, the GT350R is the meanest-looking Mustang in history.

Inside, the Shelby GT350R is instantly recognizable thanks to high-contrast red stitching, special badging, and a flat-bottom steering wheel with a red center mark at the top. What’s more, drivers will notice that the standard models lacks air conditioning, the sound system, the rear seats, and the backup camera. These features, along with the trunk floorboard and carpet, as well as the emergency tire sealer and inflator, have been removed to decrease the coupe’s curb weight even further.

However, should any of you find it hard to live without some of the features mentioned above, Ford will happily provide you with an optional Electronic Package. This bundle includes dual-zone air conditioning, an eight-inch touchscreen with navigation, a seven-speaker audio system, turn signal mirrors and more.

Ford Racing also removed the exhaust resonators, and although you won’t miss them visually, you’ll notice they aren’t there as soon as you floor the gas pedal. And so will those around you, no matter the amount of sound-deadening materials they’re equipped with.

Motivating the GT350R is the same 5.2-liter, flat-plane crank V-8 that debuted on the GT350 in 2014. I bet you already know it’s the first-ever production V-8 from Ford with a flat-plane crankshaft, as well as the most powerful naturally aspirated engine the Blue Oval has ever produced, but I don’t mind repeating it, especially the last part. Ford has yet to reveal precise specifics beyond the fact that the V-8 will crank out more than 500 horsepower and over 440-pound-feet of torque as of January 2015, but it’s safe to assume the GT350 and GT350R will enjoy an equal amount of power. More than 130 pounds lighter than the GT350 with the Track Pack, the R should deliver enhanced performance despite the similar output.

The transmission is a lightweight six-speed manual and all the oomph is routed to the rear wheels through a bespoke Torsen limited-slip differential optimized for increased cornering grip and straight-line traction. Expect 60 mph to come in under four seconds and top speed to sit above the 170-mph mark.

BMW M4, you have been put on notice!

Most of the chassis is shared with the GT350, meaning the GT350R benefits from the same custom-tuned independent suspension with MagneRide magnetic dampers, a wider front track, increased spring rates, and a lowered ride height. The braking system is equally impressive, consisting for massive 15.5-inch rotors up front and 14.9-inch discs to the rear. The former are clamped by six-piston Brembo calipers, while the latter work with four-piston units.

But what makes the GT350R truly special is what lies wrapped in the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. I’m talking about carbon-fiber wheels, which are standard on the muscle car, making Ford the first major manufacturer to introduce the technology as standard equipment. I bet you didn’t see that coming! The rollers shave 52 pounds off the GT350R’s total weight, while providing higher levels of stiffness compared to aluminum rims.

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Sources : 2016 Ford Shelby GT350R Mustang Photo | 2016 Ford Shelby GT350R Mustang Article

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