Ford Hits Repeat on Shelby GT350 as Rivals Lead Horsepower War

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
ford hits repeat on shelby gt350 as rivals lead horsepower war

Blue Oval fans who didn’t make the cut for GT ownership can settle for the Shelby GT350 Mustang for another year.

Ford Motor Company announced today — National Mustang Day, if you weren’t aware — that the hottest version of its perennial pony car, including the R version, will soldier on into 2018 essentially unchanged. Unless Ford has a monster Shelby variant on the way, its domestic competitors can point to their own output numbers and throw shade.

For now, anyway.

Carrying over for the coming model year is Ford’s 5.2-liter flat-plane crank V8, making 526 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the Dodge Challenger Hellcat and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, however, this Ford has no need for forced induction.

As with the 2017 model (but not the 2016), the “track-ready” GT350 boasts oil, transmission and differential coolers across its range, avoiding potential limp mode lawsuits. A technology package and heated and cooled seats remain on the options list, while a MagneRide damping system and 19-inch carbon fiber wheels come standard.

The only changes for 2018 are found in the model’s color palate. For something new to look at, Ford has added Orange Fury, Kona Blue and Lead Foot Gray to the GT350’s wardrobe.

There’s no shortage of speculation and spy photos that indicate Ford might be biding its time until it can launch a resurrected GT500 — a model that disappeared after 2014. As we’ve seen with the automaker’s truck line, Ford doesn’t enjoy second- or third-tier status when it comes to horsepower and torque, regardless of the segment. Still, there’s nothing official from the automaker.

Should this highly venomous snake return, expect output topping the previous generation’s 662 hp and 631 lb-ft.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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  • CarnotCycle CarnotCycle on Apr 17, 2017

    If Ford figured out how to get the exhaust even and fix the firing order they'd really have something with this engine.

  • Raph Raph on Apr 17, 2017

    I doubt they can do much without reworking the intake path and ending up with a more traditional flat-plane crank V8. It gets the job done though ( which is little to nothing for performance ) and sets the 5.2 in the Shelby apart from every other V8 out there. And as a package it works. Start stretching this chassis much past the 526 horsepower in the GT350 and its going to be one of diminishing returns just like 450 horsepower in the previous chassis was the sweet spot ( well 444 in the Boss ) maybe 550 with the current car. After that its starting to piss in the wind like the GT500.

  • FreedMike This article fails to mention that Toyota is also investing heavily in solid state battery tech - which would solve a lot of inherent EV problems - and plans to deploy it soon. course, Toyota being Toyota, it will use the tech in hybrids first, which is smart - that will give them the chance to iron out the wrinkles, so to speak. But having said that, I’m with Toyota here - I’m not sold on an all EV future happening anytime soon. But clearly the market share for these vehicles has nowhere to go but up; how far up depends mainly on charging availability. And whether Toyota’s competitors are all in is debatable. Plenty of bet-hedging is going on among makers in the North American market.
  • Jeff S I am not against EVs but I completely understand Toyota's position. As for Greenpeace putting Toyota at the bottom of their environmental list is more drama. A good hybrid uses less gas, is cleaner than most other ICE, and is more affordable than most EVs. Prius has proven longevity and low maintenance cost. Having had a hybrid Maverick since April and averaging 40 to 50 mpg in city driving it has been smooth driving and very economical. Ford also has very good hybrids and some of the earlier Escapes are still going strong at 300k miles. The only thing I would have liked in my hybrid Maverick would be a plug in but it didn't come with it. If Toyota made a plug in hybrid compact pickup like the Maverick it would sell well. I would consider an EV in the future but price, battery technology, and infrastructure has to advance and improve. I don't buy a vehicle based on the recommendation of Greenpeace, as a status symbol, or peer pressure. I buy a vehicle on what best needs my needs and that I actually like.
  • Mobes Kind of a weird thing that probably only bothers me, but when you see someone driving a car with ball joints clearly about to fail. I really don't want to be around a car with massive negative camber that's not intentional.
  • Jeff S How reliable are Audi? Seems the Mazda, CRV, and Rav4 in the higher trim would not only be a better value but would be more reliable in the long term. Interior wise and the overall package the Mazda would be the best choice.
  • Pickles69 They have a point. All things (or engines/propulsion) to all people. Yet, when the analogy of being, “a department store,” of options is used, I shudder. Department stores are failing faster than any other retail. Just something to chew on.