The latest rendition in the 2015-2016 GT350’s saga is what you see above, a Mustang being touted as an “R” version of the Shelby/SVT variant we’ve been seeing in video and spy photos since last September, camo-less and in full performance testing mode at Nurburgring.
There’s a ton of disagreement and conflicting information on the name, horsepower, release date and even what engine this car has, but make no mistake about the car you see here, it’s being built to be a track day monster. The aggressive front splitter and massive carbon ceramic brakes tell us that 1. This is possibly an even more performance oriented version of other GT350’s we’ve seen previously and 2. It’s built for rock bottom track times.
” The 2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350[R] “
Road & Track (R&T) makes the intuitive observation that this version of the GT350 seems to be highly comparable to the Boss 302S or Laguna Seca, as many have speculated that the 2015/2016 GT350 is a Boss 302 replacement and not a predecessor of the GT500. It should be mentioned, however, that with so many conflicting reports on the engine this Mustang will carry and without any official word from Ford, there’s still no hard evidence the next GT350/SVT Mustang will not carry over the 5.8L Trinity engine from the 2013-2104 GT500. Just yesterday fuel was added to that fire when reports that the GT500’s replacement might challenge the 2015 Hellcat’s horsepower rating. This very well could be a GT500 replacement, but we’ll need more information regarding the engine to make a call one way or the other.
The First 2015/2016 Mustang GT350 Without Camouflage
This is the first S550 spotted without camo covering the front of the car. As you can see, the front fascia is different than the 2015 GTs we’ve seen. The reversed “fang” look is represented by the lower grille and plays into an overall more aggressive look than a standard 2015 GT. The engine bay is vented through one large head extractor submerged in the center of the hood as well as two side vents in the front fenders, neatly drawn out by the sharp body lines that carve down each side of the car.
As we’ve seen in previous prototypes, the quad tipped GT500 exhaust from the previous Shelby models remains, though the GT350 now benefits from a slightly reworked rear diffuser.They’ve also ditched the fog lights on this model.
Engine, Naming and Horsepower…Here we go Again
R&T has been adamant that this machine is getting a naturally aspirated engine capable of “pumping out in excess of 500 hp” and equipped with a “5.0-liter Coyote V8, with slightly higher displacement and a flat-plane crank.” That would put this GT350 in direct competition with Chevy’s new Z/28 and not the Dodge Challenger Hellcat.
However, many are still holding to the notion that the Trinity will be under the hood for at least the first model year, not a flat plane crank (FPC) Coyote variant. This would then put the Shelby GT350 in competition with the Hellcat, and not the Z/28. And who’s to say we won’t have both options? Either way, Mustang6G (M6G) is reporting that whatever we get from Shelby/SVT won’t be available until “mid-2015.”
The name of this vehicle is equally controversial. The frontrunner right now is that “GT350″ will be the moniker, but whether we get this car as a model year 2015 or MY 2016 is yet to be seen (though if M6G has it right, it’s likely to be a MY 2016 vehicle). We also do not know id this will officially fly under the Shelby flag or if SVT will take the label. There’s also the possibility that we’re actually looking at the next SVT Cobra (just look at those fangs!). With so much convoluted information out there, it’s simply too early to call.
Image credit: AutoEvolution