PONTIAC, Mich. — The Shelby GT350 is an Autoblog favorite, a sharp and powerful sports car with a truly special engine under the hood, helping it feel genuinely different from lesser Mustang variants. The car gets an update for 2019 (one year after the regular Mustang received a refresh of its own), but, unless you know what you're looking for, you may not notice any differences. After spending a full day lapping M1 Concourse just a few miles northwest of our home office, we can say that sometimes subtle changes are the best ones. The basic formula remains unchanged. The coupe-only GT350 sits atop the Mustang lineup — at least until the supercharged 700-plus horsepower GT500 hits showrooms — thanks to a myriad of performance upgrades over the Mustang GT including better aero, sharper suspension and steering, and the aforementioned powertrain, a naturally-aspirated 5.2-liter flat-plane crank V8 making 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. Redline is an eye-watering 8,250 rpm, a peak nearly unheard of among American V8s. Power is sent to the rear wheels solely through a Tremec-supplied six-speed manual transmission. Those that desire something even more hardcore should check out the GT350R, though that model carries over unchanged. Visually, the 2019 GT350 is pretty much the same as the 2016 model, with carryover exterior styling save a few pieces: a larger new rear wing with an optional Gurney flap, a new set of 19-inch wheels, and several new colors. The wing improves overall aero while the Gurney flap helps improve rear downforce and grip without hurting drag. The interior, too, is mostly unchanged. There's new machined-aluminum-looking trim on the dash and some extra padding on the door cards. It's the performance changes that really make a difference. The standard MagneRide active suspension gets recalibrated, and there's more spring rate up front and stiffer stabilizers in the rear, to take advantage of the improved aero. The electronic power-steering and stability control have been reworked, too. Arguably the biggest change are the new Ford Performance-spec Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, some of the stickiest road-legal rubber around. Those replace the Pilot Super Sports on the '18 model, though the 295/35ZR19 front and 305/35ZR19 rear rubber remains the same size. Seriously, we can't emphasize this change enough. The Pilot Super Sports are already fantastic tires, but Cup 2s are truly transformative. The engine, transmission and Brembo brakes – six-piston fixed calipers in the front and four-piston fixed in the rear – are the same as before. Steering feel is vastly improved over the '18, partly due to the tires, but also the revised power-steering rack. It's still not as sharp as what Chevy offers in the Camaro, but it's better than the Mustang GT Performance Pack 2. The dead spot on-center is nearly gone, and the wheel translates much more of what the tires are doing through a corner. We spent most of our time in Track mode, which increases the firmness of the suspension and steering while backing …
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Smart Buy Price
|MPG||14 City / 21 Hwy|
|Transmission||6-spd man w/OD|
|Power||526 @ 7500 rpm|
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