Mid-cycle facelift adds new aero features and revised underpinnings

It’s been almost a year since Ford gave the sixth-generation Mustang its mid-cycle upgrade, and the time has come for the Shelby GT350 to get its refresh. Despite rumors that it won’t be around for long, the GT350 continues into the 2019 model year with revisions inside and out to go with tweaked underpinnings.

As we’re waiting for the Shelby GT500 to return after a long hiatus, Ford just rolled out an upgrade for the GT350. But, while the muscle car did get some notable updates in the aerodynamics and drivetrain departments, it didn’t gain the visual changes we’ve seen on the facelifted Mustang. In short, it’s still based on the original sixth-generation Mustang. The good news is that the updated coupe was tested by Billy Johnson, a racing driver with plenty of experience in the FIA World Endurance and the IMSA championships with the Ford GT and Mustang GT4 programs. Let’s see what changed and what remained the same in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350.

Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Exterior

  • Still based on 2015 Mustang
  • New rear spoiler
  • Optional Gurney flap
  • New 19-inch wheels
  • Two new exterior colors
  • New stripe options
The GT350 didn’t get the changes that Ford introduced for the facelifted, 2018 Mustang

The first thing that’s obvious on the outside is that the GT350 didn’t get the changes that Ford introduced for the facelifted, 2018 Mustang. No new headlamps with reversed outer corners and no straight turning signals at the bottom. It also doesn’t have the new LED rings and the slightly curved tri-bar daytime running lights. Same goes for the front grille and the tri-bar taillights, which carry over unchanged.

However, that’s not to say that the GT350 didn’t get a range of consistent upgrades. The design remained very similar to last year’s model, but the muscle car now comes with a new rear spoiler with optional Gurney flap and an optimized grille closeout. Both were designed and tuned in the Ford Performance wind tunnel with lessons learned from the development of race cars and the upcoming Shelby GT500. When paired with the Gurney flap, they deliver greater aero efficiency.

2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The muscle car now comes with a new rear spoiler with optional Gurney flap

Ford also added a set of new 19-inch, aluminum wheels, which are now wrapped in redesigned Michelin tires. Further additions include standard mirror-mounted Cobra projection lamps with the Technology package and two new exterior colors, Velocity Blue and Ford Performance Blue. As usual, the coupe is available with over-the-top racing stripes, now in high-gloss Shadow Black, Oxford White, and Kona Blue.

Granted, the update is far from impressive, but the Shelby GT350 was already an impressive-looking and aggressive car. And as long as the aero upgrades improve performance, gearheads probably won’t mind that the Mustang’s new headlamps are missing.

Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Interior

  • Machined aluminum trim
  • Optional carbon-fiber trim
  • New suede inserts for the door panels
  • Revised Recaro seats
  • Custom audio system
  • Not so different from the previous model
2016 - 2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang Interior
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Updates are a bit more comprehensive on the inside

Updates are a bit more comprehensive on the inside, starting with a new machined aluminum applique for the dashboard. The element can be ordered in exposed carbon-fiber off the options list. The door panel inserts were also revised, now offered in dark slate Miko suede with accent stitching.

The coupe also sports a new set of Recaro race seats as standard. The units have firm side bolstering for proper lateral support and race-spec harnesses. The seats also have new power-adjustable functions and are available with suede inserts.

2016 - 2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang Interior
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The coupe sports a new set of Recaro race seats as standard

On the tech and comfort side, the standard, eight-inch SYNC3 touchscreen features SiriusXM and Ford Pass Connect, while a dual-zone climate control system is included in the base package, as is a garage door opener. A custom-tuned, 12-speaker audio system by Harman Kardon is available.

Beyond that, you’ll find the same familiar features, starting with the digital instrument cluster, the flat-bottom steering wheel, and subdued chrome and bright finishes to reduce glare. The coupe is also equipped with the Performance Shift Light Indicator that signals the perfect engine speed for the shift point.

Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Performance

  • Same 5.2-liter V-8 engine
  • Output unchanged
  • 526 horsepower
  • 429 pound-feet of torque
  • New Michelin tires
  • Revised suspension
  • Race-spec brakes
2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Exterior
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The exclusive 5.2-liter V-8 continues to deliver the same 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque

While mid-cycle facelifts usually add a bit of extra power, which already happened in the case of the standard Mustang, the GT350 didn’t get any. The exclusive 5.2-liter V-8 continues to deliver the same 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque, but remains the most powerful naturally aspirated engine Ford has built to date. The mill mates to the same track-proven, six-speed manual transmission from Tremec.

But while the engine and transmission were carried over unchanged, Ford Performance did meddle with the suspension, tires, and braking system. The standard MagneRide active suspension now uses recalibrated springs, revised damping setting, and it’s 10 percent stiffer at the front and 10 percent softer to the rear. Ford says that this new setup enables the GT350 to take full advantage of the improvements made to the aerodynamics and tires.

2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The sprint to 60 mph should remain unchanged without extra power

The wheels come wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, but these are far from conventional. Although used on a variety of sports cars, they were redesigned for the GT350 and have a specific tread pattern and different compound for more grip. The new rubber also improves acceleration and braking. Speaking of stopping power, it’s provided by six-piston front and four-piston rear Brembo calipers.

The electric power-assist steering and three-mode electronic stability control settings have been enhanced as well and benefit from Ford Performance’s hundreds of hours of track testing. These modifications improve control and driver feedback.

Ford has yet to announce performance figures, but the sprint to 60 mph should remain unchanged without extra power. The outgoing model needs 3.5 seconds to hit the benchmark, which is as impressive as it gets for a vehicle of this caliber. However, the revised aerodynamics, chassis, and tires should enable the Shelby GT350 to go faster at the race track.

Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Pricing

2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Exterior
- image 783127

Pricing information for the revised Shelby GT350 is not yet available, but it should cost a bit more than the 2018 model, which retails from $57,240. What we do know so far is that it will become available starting early 2019 and that Ford will offer a free Track Attack program with every car.

Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Competition

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE High Resolution Exterior
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When it comes to track-prepped Camaros, the Z28 is the usual suspect. Unfortunately, the previous Z28 didn’t get a successor yet. The good news is that the ZL1 1LE is extremely capable on the race track and it’s just as menacing as the Shelby GT350 on the outside. It has a massive grille, front bumper flics, a big wing, and an aggressive diffuser. It’s also equipped with plenty of carbon-fiber elements, lightweight wheels wrapped in performance rubber, and a vented engine hood. But if you’re a fan of naturally aspirated engines, the ZL1 might not be for you, because unlike the Z28, it’s supercharged. But if power and performance are all that matters, you’ll be happy to learn that the supercharged, 6.2-liter V-8 engine cranks out a whopping 650 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, sending the ZL1 1LE from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds. Unlike the regular ZL1, which can be ordered with a 10-speed automatic, the 1LE model is restricted to the six-speed manual gearbox with Active Rev Match. Pricing for the ZL1 1LE starts from $69,995. That’s a significant premium over the Shelby GT350, but it makes sense given the extra power and the quicker sprints.

Read our full story on the 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE.

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Unlike the Shelby GT350, the Challenger SRT Hellcat has the supercharged power to challenge the Camaro ZL1 1LE in a quarter-mile race. On the flipside, the Hellcat isn’t much of a track car. Although it will definitely do well in a race, it can’t be as fast on a twisty course as it was built more like a drag car than anything else. It’s also worth noting that the Hellcat is not only bigger than the Shelby GT350 but also heavier. Dodge’s muscle car also rides on significantly older underpinnings. What’s more, it also lacks a comprehensive aero package developed for track use. But things are pretty juicy under the hood, with the supercharged, 6.2-liter V-8 generating a massive 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. With a 0-to-60 mph sprint of around 3.5 seconds, an 11.2-second quarter-mile time on street tires, and a top speed of 202 mph, the Challenger Hellcat is a worthy coupe as long as there’s no racing involved. Pricing starts from $67,340.

Read our full review of the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.

Conclusion

2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Exterior Wallpaper quality
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"Somewhere, Carroll is smiling. The new GT350 is our ultimate track Mustang," that’s what Herman Salenbauch, global director for Ford Performance vehicle programs, had to say about the revised Shelby GT350. And he’s probably right. This muscle car was built the authentic Carroll Shelby way, and I’m sure that the Texas-born designer would have been proud of this vehicle. Granted, it’s a bit disappointing that the facelifted GT350 didn’t get the new design cues and tech seen on the regular Mustang, but what matters here is that it continues to be fast and use a naturally aspirated engine. The GT350 is an enthusiast’s car and it will definitely sell like hotcakes. And, truth be told, it’s not significantly slower than the supercharged monsters from Chevy and Dodge. This says a lot about the big efforts that Ford put into this car.

  • Leave it
    • * No power upgrade
    • * Still uses the old Mustang design

Further reading

2016 - 2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350.

2018 Ford Mustang High Resolution Exterior
- image 702254

Read our full review on the 2018 Ford Mustang.

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Press release

To improve the new Ford Mustang Shelby® GT350 driver confidence and lap times, Ford Performance leveraged its Mustang road course racing programs and all-new upcoming Shelby® GT500, infusing GT350 with the very latest in track and street technology.

“Somewhere, Carroll is smiling,” said Hermann Salenbauch, global director for Ford Performance vehicle programs. “The new Shelby GT350 is our ultimate track Mustang. We’ve stuck to Carroll Shelby’s original formula for winning championships and made our Shelby GT350 even better with the latest in race-proven aerodynamics, tire and chassis technology.”

From F-150 Raptor to the Ford GT supercar, Ford Performance is creating authentic performance cars, trucks and utilities that deliver heart-pounding excitement for customers around the world.

Next-level chassis technology and aerodynamics

Building on a road course racing and track-focused legacy born in 1965, Ford Performance engineers and designers incorporated the latest advances in tire, aerodynamics and chassis technology into the 2019 Mustang Shelby GT350.

Working exclusively with Michelin, the team also engineered new Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires with a Shelby GT350-specific tread pattern and different compound to deliver more grip for significantly improved acceleration and lateral acceleration, as well as braking. The 295/35 front and 305/35 rear tires are fitted to improved stiffness and optimize new 19-inch aluminum wheels.

An all-new rear spoiler with optional Gurney flap and optimized grille closeout was designed and tuned with experience gained from wind tunnel development of the Ford Performance Mustang road course racing cars and upcoming Shelby GT500 model. Together, they deliver significant rear greater aerodynamic efficiency when equipped with the new optional Gurney flap on the rear spoiler, which will be available after launch.

Upgrades to Mustang Shelby GT350’s standard MagneRide active suspension complement the aero and tire enhancements with recalibrated springs and revised damping to take full advantage of the improvements.

Stopping power is provided by six-piston front and four-piston rear caliper Brembo™ brakes. For added control and improved driver feedback, Shelby GT350’s electric power-assist steering and three-mode electronic stability control settings feature enhancements taken from Ford Performance’s hundreds of hours of competitive track testing.

Tuning with Billy Johnson in the driver’s seat

Billy Johnson knows racing. As a driver for the FIA World Endurance Ford GT and IMSA Mustang GT4 programs, Johnson has broad expertise in what makes for a great driver’s car. He worked with Ford Performance to dial in the Shelby GT350 for 2019.

Shelby GT350’s exclusive high-revving 5.2-liter V8 remains the most powerful naturally aspirated Ford production engine ever and the only one of its type in the segment – delivering 526 horsepower and 429 lb.-ft. of torque at a blistering 8,250-rpm redline. It’s mated to a track-proven and precise-shifting Tremec® 6-speed manual transmission.

Johnson said the result of the new Mustang Shelby GT350’s aerodynamics tuning, revised brake calibration, and much greater downforce is a more balanced, higher-performing car on the straightaways and especially in the corners.

“Along with improved grip, brake and chassis refinements, Shelby GT350 brings a whole new level of performance driving,” he said. “It’s a rewarding car to drive on track for amateurs and pros alike, while making the driver feel like a superhero. It’s confidence inspiring in corners and begs to be pushed harder and to take corners faster.”

More craftsmanship, technology and style

Inside, driver and passengers of the 2019 Mustang Shelby GT350 are treated to a comfortable, stylish and purpose-built cockpit boasting the latest in advanced technology and premium materials expected of a world-class sports car.

Fresh sporting cues include a standard machined aluminum instrument panel appliqué with an available exposed carbon fiber version, plus newly designed door panel inserts in dark slate Miko® suede with accent stitching. A wrapped center console offers rich world-class craftsmanship. Standard Recaro race seats with firm side bolstering and open pass-throughs for safety harnesses offer the highest level of performance, while new power-adjustable seating is available with Miko suede inserts for those looking for added comfort.

A new high-performance, custom-tuned 12-speaker B&O PLAY audio system by HARMAN is now available for the 2019 Mustang Shelby GT350, controlled via the now standard 8-inch SYNC® 3 touch screen that features SiriusXM and FordPass™ Connect. Dual-zone electronic automatic temperature control is now standard, along with a universal garage door opener.

New colors for the 2019 Mustang Shelby GT350 include Velocity Blue and for the first time, Ford Performance Blue. Optional factory-painted over-the-top racing stripes are available in high-gloss Shadow Black, Oxford White or Kona Blue. Mirror-mounted Shelby Cobra Projection Lamps come standard in the available Technology Package.

The 2019 Mustang Shelby GT350 will be available starting in early 2019 and will be built at Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Flat Rock, Michigan. Enrollment in an exclusive, complimentary Track Attack driving program from Ford Performance is included with each vehicle.

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