Shelby GT350’s New 5.2-liter V-8 Delivers 100 HP Per Liter
Ford has made it official. With 526 horsepower, the 5.2-liter V-8 that will power the 2016 Mustang Shelby GT350 and GT350R will be the most powerful atmospheric engine Ford has ever produced for a road car. That’s over 100 horsepower per liter, without the use of forced induction.
Instead of turbocharging or supercharging, the new engine, which is unique to the GT350 and GT350R, makes its power the old-fashioned way: displacement and high revs. The flat-plane crank V-8 revs to a stratospheric 8,250 rpm and delivers maximum power at 7,500 rpm. Peak torque is 429 pound-feet and arrives at 4,750 rpm. Its rev-happy character and peaky power delivery is more in line with what you would find in a race engine, and Ford points to the engine’s track-friendly spread of 3,000 rpm between peak torque and horsepower.
Continue reading for the full story.
“Every change we made to this car was driven by the functional requirements of a powerful, responsive powerplant.” Says Ford Performance chief engineer Jamal Hameedi. “The high-revving, naturally aspirated 5.2-liter flat-plane V-8 delivers on every target we set – high horsepower, broad torque curve, aggressive throttle response and light weight.”
If you don’t know how to operate a clutch pedal and plan on buying a GT350, you'd best start learning.
The reduced engine weight Hameedi refers to comes thanks to the new engine’s all-aluminum block, which also uses Ford’s plasma-transferred, wire-arc cylinder-liner technology. This process eliminates the need for heavy iron cylinder liners and first appeared in the 2011 GT500. The Nissan GT-R uses a similar process as well.
If you don’t know how to operate a clutch pedal and plan on buying a GT350, you’d best start learning. A six-speed Tremec TR-3160 manual gearbox will be the only option, and it will have a dual-mass flywheel, dual-disc clutch and a lightweight, die-cast aluminum case.
Why it matters
In a time of engine downsizing and turbocharging, engines like this are becoming a rare breed. Ford boasts that V-8s like this are only found in Ferraris, but once the 2016 488 GTB goes on sale, normally aspirated Ferrari V-8s will be extinct.
Call me a luddite (and I suspect there are a few more of you out there), but I’ve always enjoyed the linear power delivery and noise that a well-sorted normally aspirated engine offers. I’m willing to sacrifice low-end torque for the howl of a high-revving engine when taken to 8,000 rpm. Like a manual gearbox, engines like this make you think more. They require work and anticipation to keep them on-boil, but it’s a hugely rewarding experience.
Unfortunately, it’s an experience that not many new cars offer. Thanks to increasingly stringent emissions tests that don’t reflect real-world driving, turbocharging and hybrids are now the way forward. This high-revving, 526 horsepower V-8 might be the last of its kind.
Read our full review here.