A decade ago, it was nearly impossible for an automaker to have a car that was both a terror on the track and comfortable enough to drive on the street because suspension technology back then couldn’t (affordably) combine ride quality and top-notch handling in one package. Fortunately, the advancements in suspension tech have allowed many automakers to finally have a track-friendly suspension package that could be soft enough for the road, and the 2015 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang is the newest vehicle to benefit from a high tech, adjustable suspension system.
Similar to the suspension setup used on the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, the new Shelby Mustang uses a magnetic damper system that allows for a huge range of adjustment, so this suspension setup can be tightened up to tear up the track and then be softened enough to comfortably cruise home without anything more than the push of a button.
In the 2015/2016 Ford Shelby GT350 and GT350R Mustang, the drive mode system incorporates a collection of different features of the car and the end result is a car that can be optimized for a road course, a drag strip, spirited street driving, normal street driving and even wet roads – with Normal, Sport, Weather, Track and Drag modes.
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What the Drive Modes Adjust
When you flip between the 5 different drive modes in the Ford Shelby GT350 and GT350R Mustang, six different features of the car adjust to optimize drivability in different situations. The Drive Modes adjust Throttle Input, Traction/Stability Control, the MagnaRide dampers, the steering system, the exhaust system, and the launch control system.
What Each Mode Does
Here is a brief breakdown of what each mode does to the features mentioned above in the 2015 Ford Shelby GT350 and GT350R Mustang.
Normal – This is the default mode and all of the features are set where Ford finds best for daily driving use.
Sport – This mode is for spirited on-road driving. The throttle input is sharpened, traction and stability control remain on, the dampers stiffen the ride a bit for improved handling, the steering system requires more driver input, the exhaust gets louder and launch control is available for use.
Weather – This mode is designed for situations where the new Shelby GT350 Mustang gets caught in the rain. The throttle input is softened, traction/stability control remains on, the dampers, steering, and exhaust are all in their normal modes and launch control is disabled.
Track – This mode is designed for use on a road course, and this is the setting that yields the greatest overall performance from the new Shelby Mustang. Throttle input remains normal, but the traction/stability controls are adjusted to have almost no input, the dampers shift into the stiffest possible setting, sport steering mode is engaged, the exhaust gets louder and launches control remains available.
Drag – Finally, this mode is intended to make the new Shelby GT350 Mustang a quarter-mile monster. Throttle response is sharpened, traction/stability remains on (as they work with the launch control system), the dampers adjust to drag mode for the best possible front-to-rear weight transfer, the steering system remains normal, the exhaust goes to the louder setting and launches control is automatically enabled.
The advantage of the Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang Drive Mode system is to optimize the capabilities and comfort in appropriate situations while allowing drivers to decide how stiff or how soft they want their high-performance American muscle car to be when they hit the road.