Performance Cars

2019 Ford Shelby GT350 gets new tires, retuned suspension and aero

The new GT350 is said to be easier to drive at the limit.

Ford

The GT350 is back. The track-focused Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 returns for the 2019 model year with lots of tweaks to make it not just faster around a track, but easier to drive, too.

"We spent the time on new tires and everything that goes with new tires," says GT350 chief engineer Carl Widmann, with the goal of making "a car that's easier to drive for the nonexpert … more drivable and more linear through the limit."

2019 Ford Shelby GT350

The GT350 is now faster and easier to drive at the limit.

Ford

That begins with new Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires as standard, in size 295/35 up front and 305/35 in back on restyled 19-inch wheels. The tread mold and compound are unique to the GT350 and were the result of Ford working directly with Michelin. To compensate for the new grip levels and performance of the tire, Ford also retuned the GT350's electric power steering and anti-lock brakes.

So too has the suspension been changed, with new springs, anti-roll bars and MagneRide adaptive damper tuning: The front end is stiffer and the rear is now softer. That goes along with a "rebalanced" aerodynamic package. Widmann says that new blanking plates in the front grille reduced lift, necessitating a new rear wing, with a Gurney flap, that balances out that front lift reduction. The new aero package also cuts drag by about 2 percent, helpful for counteracting the added rolling resistance of the sticker Cup 2 rubber.

Visually, little has changed on the outside of the 2019 Shelby GT350. Though there are new colors, the new wheels and the new front and rear aero parts, the GT350 doesn't adopt the refreshed headlight and grille graphics of other 2018 Mustangs. Widmann says that's because customer feedback indicates buyers already really like the unique look of the GT350's nose.

2019 Ford Shelby GT350

The new tires go along with updated suspension tuning, as well as new software for the ABS and electric power steering.

Ford

Inside, Sync 3 infotainment with an 8-inch screen is now standard, along with dual-zone climate control and the onboard modem for a Wi-Fi hotspot. There are some updates to the dash and door card materials that are drawn from other 2018 Mustangs. One feature that isn't available: the Mustang's optional full-digital instrument cluster.

Under the hood, there are no powertrain changes. Not that we're complaining; the GT350 will continue to use a 5.2-liter flat-plane V8 that revs to 8,250 rpm, delivering 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. Stopping power comes from Brembo brakes all round, with six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers.

Widmann isn't ready yet to share just how much quicker the 2019 GT350 is thanks to all these changes, but he says that the improvements do bring its performance closer to the even more aggressive GT350R. The GT350R also continues for 2019, but without any changes at all. The updates also probably helps provide a bit more distance between the GT350 and the new Mustang Performance Pack 2.

The 2019 Ford Shelby GT350 goes on sale in early 2019. Though pricing hasn't been announced, expect a mild bump over the 2018 model's sticker price of $58,235 with destination.