Available with both EcoBoost and V-8 engines

In its first two years on the market, the Mustang has already received a handful of updates bearing the Shelby badge, including the GT350, GT, GT EcoBoost, and a revival of the iconic Hertz GT-H model. Come 2016, and Shelby launched a new nameplate, this time around featuring the "GTE" logo and offering a more diverse engine lineup, including the 2.3-liter EcoBoost, the naturally aspirated "Coyote" V-8, and a supercharged version of the latter.

Unveiled in December 2013, the sixth-generation Mustang introduced not only a new design language, but also a brand-new platform that features an independent rear suspension for the first time since the pony was launched in 1964. It also received a revamped interior with classic cues and an updated engine lineup that includes a turbocharged, 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine. The sixth-gen car also became the first Mustang to be sold in European Ford dealerships.

Available for all Mustang built for the 2015 to 2017 model years, the GTE package can also be had on convertible models, a feature not offered with many other Shelby upgrades. But much like other Shelby models, it can be optioned up with several features, ranging from exterior elements to carbon-fiber panels and drivetrain components. Keep reading to find out more about what sets it apart from the standard Ford Mustang.

Continue reading to learn more about the Shelby GTE.

Exterior

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Styling-wise, the GTE is essentially a GT with added features. Those familiar with the GT, the first Shelby based on the sixth-gen Mustang, will recognize the Shelby-spec front grille, the larger splitter, the rear spoiler, two-piece, body-colored diffuser, and the Le Mans-style stripes. The muscle car also sports Shelby’s bulged hood and vents, larger bumper intakes, Shelby rocker panels, and "GTE" badges all around.

Customers can further customize their GTEs by means of carbon fiber components such as hood, rocker panels, mirror caps, taillights bezel, spoiler, rear diffuser, and front splitter. These can be either painted in body color or finished in transparent gloss. Convertible models can be equipped with a "light bar" for a late 1960s inspired look.

Interior

Inside the cabin, the GTE retains most of the Mustang’s standard features, meaning that the configuration depends very much on the equipment you select on the donor car. However, Shelby will add a serialized dashboard plaque, illuminated "Shelby" door sill plates, and seat headrests and floor mats with the "Shelby" logo. The options list contains a "seating upholstery upgrade" and a customized Shelby instrument cluster.

Drivetrain

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Unlike other Shelby models, which usually get one engine in one or two flavors, the GTE can be equipped with either a 5.0-liter V-8 or a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder.

The beefed-up "Coyote" unit pumps out 456 horsepower and 424 pound-feet of torque, which accounts for a 21-horsepower and 24-pound-feet increase over the standard Mustang GT. This should make it quicker from 0 to 60 mph, with the regular car’s 4.5-second sprint likely to drop to 4.3 seconds with the carbon fiber package. I’m a bit surprised that Shelby didn’t offer the supercharged V-8 in the Shelby GT, but there are two upgrades available on the options list. But we’ll talk about that a bit later.

The beefed-up "Coyote" unit pumps out 456 horsepower and 424 pound-feet of torque

Moving over to the EcoBoost version of the GTE, the turbocharged, 2.3-liter four-pot generates 340 horses and 390 pound-feet of twist. Compared to the standard Mustang EcoBoost, the GTE benefits from 30 extra horsepower and 70 additional pound-feet. It’s also a bit more powerful than the Shelby GT EcoBoost, which is rated at 335 horses. This makes the GTE the most powerful EcoBoost model released by Shelby so far. It’s also the quickest, even though the company has yet to release performance data. With the standard Mustang EcoBoost needing only 5.2 seconds to hit 60 mph, the GTE with the carbon-fiber options should reach the same benchmark in less than five ticks.

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Both models are also equipped with a Ford Performance cat-back exhaust and a Ford Performance handling pack as standard.

Moving over to options, there’s plenty to choose from. Arguably the most important (and likely expensive) upgrade is the supercharged 5.0-liter V-8. Shelby offers a 650-horsepower options, but buyers in need of more oomph can go with the 750+ version. Other options include track-ready cooling systems for the engine, transmission, and differential, a short-throw shifter, one-piece drive shaft, 3:73 or 3:55 gearing, Wavetrac differential, and a bespoke Shelby twin-disc clutch.

Suspension, Brakes and Wheels

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Unless you go with Shelby’s optional track-ready system, the suspension remains standard on the GTE. This is also available with the track-ready braking system, which is highly recommended if you opt for the supercharged V-8. Shelby does offer 19-inch Ford Performance wheels wrapped in performance tires included in the sticker, but you’ll have to pay extra for the forged alloy rims.

Prices

Pricing for the GTE starts from $17,999, which doesn’t include the base Mustang. This means that the GTE EcoBoost will send you back at least $43,644 including the base car, while the GTE with a V-8 will fetch $50,644 including the stock model. If you want a convertible, expect to pay at least $53,144 for the EcoBoost and at least $60,144 for the V-8. As usual, Shelby will retain all parts that are taken off the base car. Pricing for the options is not yet available and Shelby suggests you contact the company for more information.

Competition

Chevrolet Camaro

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Selecting a competitor for the Shelby GTE depends on which version you consider. Go with the naturally aspirated V-8 or the EcoBoost and you might very well take a look at the stock Camaro. Sure, it might not feature any aftermarket updates, but it’s still brand-new and packs quite a punch in both trim levels. Available for the very first time in a Camaro since the early 1990s, the turbocharged four-cylinder generates 275 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque in the Chevy-badged muscle car. Although it’s significantly less than the GTE EcoBoost, the Camaro is quite quick from 0 to 60 mph, needing only 5.4 seconds to hit the benchmark. Moving over to the 6.2-liter V-8, this is where the stock Camaro is on par with the Shelby GTE, coming with 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet on tap. This is enough to send the SS flying from 0 to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds.

When it comes to pricing, the Camaro wins if you’re willing to get past the fact that there are no aftermarket features to enjoy. And while the $27,300 four-cylinder model isn’t exactly appealing given it’s less powerful than the GTE, the SS and it 455-horsepower rating is quite the bargain in 1SS trim at $37,900. Go for the range-topping 2SS, priced from $42,900, and it’s still significantly more affordable than the Shelby GTE.

Read our full review on the Chevrolet Camaro here.

Callaway Camaro

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If you’re asking yourselves why not the bonkers Dodge Challenger Hellcat or the new and spectacular Camaro ZL1, it’s because the former is not as light and sporty as the sixth-gen Mustang, while the latter is being skipped for something more exotic. Callaway is to Chevy what Shelby is to Ford, creating upgrade packages for both muscle cars and trucks (or in this case truck-based SUVs). The Camaro SC630 is the perfect competitor for the supercharged Shelby GTE, featuring a TVS2300 supercharged alongside the 6.2-liter V-8 engine. The blower increases output to 630 horsepower and 610 pound-feet, while various drivetrain and chassis updates keep the coupe on its best behavior under throttle. Like Shelby, Callaway also offers visual and aerodynamic updates, as well as branded features, including sill panels, badges, floor mats, and key fobs. Pricing starts from $16,995 not including the base car. This means $54,855 and $59,895 for a Callaway SC630 based on the 1SS or 2SS trims, respectively.

Read our full review on the Callaway Camaro here.

Conclusion

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Needless to say, the Shelby GTE is not as new as the nameplate would suggest, but a new badge that brings together the GT and the GT EcoBoost that the performance brand launched for 2015 and 2016, respectively. Granted, both feature additional horsepower and torque and unlike the GT, the GTE can also be had with a naturally aspirated V-8, but it doesn’t do much more than add a bit of diversity to the Shelby range. But that’s by no means a bad thing if you’re a fan of Carroll Shelby and want a bit more horsepower than what you get from Ford. And even though you might be better off with a stock Camaro when it comes to naturally aspirated V-8 power, a Shelby badge adds a lot of character to a Mustang.

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    • * Not many additional features compared to the Shelby GT
    • * Stock Camaro SS is a better alternative to the naturally aspirated GTE
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