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Ford packs high-tech muscle into all-new Shelby GT350 Mustang (pictures)

The new Shelby GT350, a Ford-modified Mustang model, gains a high-tech 5.2-liter V-8 engine producing 526 horsepower, but also exhibits nimble handling on the track.

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Wayne Cunningham
2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang
1 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Ford released a new generation of its Mustang model last year, commemorating its 50th year. This year the Ford Performance division modifies it with a new engine and performance gear, as the Shelby GT350.

2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang
2 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The Shelby GT350 has a long history, going back to 1965 with
Carroll Shelby's original modified Mustang showing the versatility of the platform.

2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang
3 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

At a press event held at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway, CNET editor Wayne Cunningham got to drive the Shelby GT350 around the track and on public roads.

2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang
4 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

This is the 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang, equipped with the optional Track package.

2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang
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The naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V-8 engine manages 526 horsepower. That's 102 horsepower per liter.

2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang
6 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The Shelby gains a body kit to enhance aerodynamics.

2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang
7 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The optional stripe is called the "Over-the-top Racing Stripe."

2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang
8 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Vents on the fenders serve to increase air flow across the brakes.

2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang
9 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The Shelby GT350 is a two-door coupe with four seats.

2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang
10 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Nineteen-inch aluminum wheels come standard. The higher-performance GT350R gets carbon fiber wheels.

2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang
11 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The Magneride adaptive suspension does an excellent job of keeping the car flat in the turns.

2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang
12 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The rear spoiler adds a bit of downforce.

2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang
13 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Ford includes five drive modes -- Normal, Sport, Track, Weather and Drag -- along with launch control.

2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang
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The exhaust sound is particularly impressive.

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The Shelby GT350 proved effortless on Laguna Seca's Corkscrew.

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16 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The car showed easy turn-in and balanced handling.

2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang
17 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Flooring it up the main straight showed off its tremendous acceleration.

2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang
18 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The grip from the custom Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires kept the Shelby GT350 in line.

2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang
19 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The Recaro seats have big bolsters to keep you in place.

2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang
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There are some nice panels on the interior, but also plenty of hard plastics, even on high-touch surfaces.

2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang
21 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The Shelby GT350 uses an electric power steering system with precision response.

2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang
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The tachometer shows the 8,250rpm redline.

2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang
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This six-speed manual transmission shifter has short throws for quick gear changes.

2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang
24 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

With a base price just under 50 grand, the Shelby GT350 is a bargain performance car.

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