Ford will show the new muscle-ripped Shelby GT350 Mustang at this week’s Los Angeles motor show.
As you can see from these first official photographs, the GT350 ‘Stang is no shrinking violet: it’s the most powerful naturally aspirated engine the Blue Oval’s ever built.
So how powerful is the 2015 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang?
It’s a 5.2-litre V8 that’s been to race school: a flat-plane crank is fitted – the first to any Ford road car engine – helping to take power north of 500bhp, although by how much is not yet confirmed.
This is a high-revving, naturally aspirated V8 and peak torque stands at more than 400lb ft, according to the Blue Oval. ‘Make no mistake, this is an American interpretation of a flat-plane crankshaft V8, and the 5.2-litre produces a distinctive, throaty howl from its four exhaust tips,’ promises Jamal Hameedi, the chief engineer in charge of Ford’s performance vehicles.
There’s a six-speed manual and a Torsen limited-slip differential is fitted as standard to the rear axle.
No performance claims have yet been issued by Ford, but the new 2015 Shelby is bound to be brutally quick.
Will the GT350 Mustang handle?
Well, our first drive of the regular new 2015 Ford Mustang revealed a car at once more European in its outlook – there’s even independent rear suspension! – yet retaining enough US muscle car DNA to earn that ‘Stang badge.
Ford has fitted fast-acting magnerheological MagneRide adaptive dampers to cope with bumpy black-top while the suspension is dropped lower to the road and uprated new spring settings contribute to a claimed sportier drive on road or track. Stiffness is key here, Ford even fitting a carbonfibre grille and extra bracing to make the front end stiffer.
New six-piston Brembo brakes are deployed at the front – a huge 394mm in diameter – while 380mm rear discs are grabbed by quad callipers. They nestle in 19in wheels unique to the Shelby.
Everything from the windscreen forwards is new, with a unique aluminium bonnet that’s as much as 2in lower than on regular ‘Stangs. At the rear there’s a lip spoiler, while a flat-bottomed steering wheel, cluster of instrument dials and new Recaro seats distinguish the interior.
The first Shelby GT350 arrived in 1965, spawning a series of go-faster Mustangs. And with the latest Mustang being imported to Europe for the first time officially, there’s a likelihood that we’ll be offered the Shelby too, albeit in low numbers. Bring it on.