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.

Published:Caption:Photo: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.

Published:Caption:Photo: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.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

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

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V-8 engine manages 526 horsepower. That's 102 horsepower per liter.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The Shelby gains a body kit to enhance aerodynamics.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

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

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

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

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

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

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

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

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

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

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The rear spoiler adds a bit of downforce.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

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

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The exhaust sound is particularly impressive.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

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

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The car showed easy turn-in and balanced handling.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

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

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

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

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

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

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

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

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

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The tachometer shows the 8,250rpm redline.

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This six-speed manual transmission shifter has short throws for quick gear changes.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

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

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET
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