2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Could Be an Affordable Camaro Z28 Killer
It is all but official that Ford Motor Company will roll out a new high performance version of the 2015 Mustang for the 2016 model year and rumors insist that this top of the line performance model will be called the Shelby GT350. Should this be the case, and Ford opts for the GT350 name rather than GT500, it is widely expected that the newest Shelby Mustang will be designed to be more like the Boss 302 than the outgoing GT500.
Boss 302 Inspiration in the 2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350
One of the key rumors surrounding the next generation Shelby version of the Ford Mustang is that it will not chase the previous Shelby GT500, which packed an astonishing 662 horsepower and 631lb-ft of torque. It is believed that the next super-Stang will rely on the same 5.0L V8 that powers the 2015 Mustang GT, but a host of upgrades will allow it more than the 435hp packed under the hood of the GT model. Instead of just packing the 2016 Shelby GT350 with a ton of horsepower, Ford is using this new, more nimble chassis and independent rear suspension system to make this the best handling Mustang of all time.
If some of that sounds familiar, it is because the 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302 was marketed as the best handling Mustang ever and in addition to a long list of features that allowed it to out-handle any Mustang before it, the Boss 302 relied on a slightly modified version of the 5.0L V8. Ford said from day one that their benchmark for handling in the 2015 Mustang GT was the previous Boss 302 so with all Mustangs offering the same handling as the “old” Boss – Ford is taking things a step further with the Shelby GT350 and a big part of that is the new independent rear suspension setup. This new rear IRS system should allow the Ford engineers to make the new Shelby a car that will handle like no Mustang before it – and one that could challenge the best handling muscle cars ever.
Taking on the $75,000 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
The 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 is marketed as the best handling muscle car of all time and this is the car that the 2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 will need to defeat to be the best. GM showed off their 505hp monster by turning the quickest lap by an American muscle car ever at the German Nürburgring while Ford has previously disregarded the importance of Nürburgring capabilities. However, with videos and images of the next generation Shelby Mustang storming around The Ring, we at least know that the Motor Company is looking to tune the handling abilities on the world’s toughest road course.
Should Ford be able to set up the 2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 to keep up with (or beat) the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 on a road course like the Nurburgring while relying on the 5.0L V8 from the Mustang GT, there is a very good chance that the best handling new Mustang will be far less expensive than the Camaro Z/28. That killer Camaro starts at $75,000 while the previous Boss 302 Mustang had a price in the mid 40s so even if Ford charged a few grand more than the S197 Boss, it will still be tens of thousands of dollars less than the Camaro Z/28.
I was recently speaking with Eric Trytko of RumbleStrip.net, who happens to be the owner of a heavily modified, high performance Ford Mustang. Eric has extensive experience in the Mustang and racing worlds, and he is among the crowd of people who believe that the 2016 Shelby GT350 will have a base MSRP in the $45-46k range. Should the GT350 be a Mustang GT with a lightly modified engine to make somewhere in the area of 475 horsepower, a more aerodynamic body, a revised braking system and a track tuned suspension system while doing away with things that aren’t needed to go fast, $45,000 seems like a very reasonable base price. Of course, once you tack on things like destination, dealership markup and any options, the price will likely get up into the low $50k range – but that is still a far cry from the Camaro Z/28’s base price of $75,000.
The Camaro Z/28 could have a slight advantage in power, but the Mustang will likely have an advantage in weight that could even out the power to weight advantage of the Camaro. When you factor in the likelihood that the Mustang will almost certainly cost far, far less than the Z/28 – Ford could grab a big advantage in the higher end muscle car segment.