DETROIT -- It wasn't that long ago Ford unveiled the Shelby GT350, the first high-horsepower special edition of the Mustang. The first, but certainly not the last. Here at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, the GT350R became the next.
Yes, it's just one more letter added to the mix, but with that letter comes a huge swath of track-focused performance tweaks. It's hard to know where to start, but the wheels are certainly a talking point. The Shelby GT350R will be the first production car to roll off of showroom floors on carbon-fiber wheels, 19-inch units that are some 13 pounds lighter than comparable aluminum rollers. That's a massive 52 pounds of weight saved from that tweak alone -- unsprung weight at that.
That means the suspension will have a much easier time of coping with bumps in the road, but Ford went ahead and upgraded that too, lowering the ride height, tweaking the spring rates and recalibrating the MagneRide adjustable dampers.
As for the interior, there literally isn't much to talk about. As part of the weight reduction of the car, Ford says, "If a part did not make the car faster around a road course, it was considered for deletion." That means no rear seat, no air conditioning, no radio and no rear-view camera.
However, potential buyers can opt for an "Electronics Package," which will add back some of those creature comforts, including an 8-inch touchscreen navigation system.
The most important talking point is under the hood, a 500-horsepower, 5.2-liter V-8 that is Ford's most powerful naturally aspirated engine of all time. A Torsen limited-slip differential helps to put that power to the ground.
Ford isn't saying just how much this new special-edition Mustang will cost, but it will enter production before the year is through. So, if you want one, you'd best call your dealer today. They'll surely go quickly -- in more ways than one.