The new Ford Shelby GT350R – the top-spec performance Mustang for the street – has beat out all other competition to be named Popular Mechanics‘ 2016 “Sports Car of the Year.”
The Shelby GT350R was selected for “pushing the boundaries” of the American sportscar, says Popular Mechanics. In a release, Ford cites the 5.2-liter, flat-plane crank “Voodoo” V8 as one example of how the pony car sets itself apart. Most contemporary V8s – including the standard 5.0-liter “Coyote” mill – utilize a cross-plane crankshaft to reduce powertrain vibration. However, the flat-plane crankshaft found in both the GT350 and GT350R sacrifices some amount of smoothness for improved rev-ability and an astounding 8,250 rpm redline, to dramatic effect.
The Shelby GT350R Mustang further pushes the envelope by offering carbon fiber wheels – the first time such wheels have been made standard on a production vehicle (apart from a few Koenigsegg models). The comparatively low rotational mass afforded by the wheels means that they can change direction more quickly, and their reduction of unsprung mass makes for sharper suspension responses.
The Ford Shelby GT350R Mustang went on sale late last year with a base MSRP of $63,495. A combination of rarity and desirability has, unfortunately, driven the actual price way up in many cases.