We’ve already driven the Ford Shelby Mustang GT350, and spent most of our time in its natural habitat: the road course at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (to be fair, any track will do). But this past week I’ve had the opportunity to drive the GT350 at home in Chicago, like I would any other commuter car.
My test car is chassis number G0017, so I assume it is the 17th car built. Painted Deep Impact Blue with black rims, it looks sinister but doesn’t have any obvious GT350 graphics to let the uninitiated know just how serious this car really is. The car has only two options, a $475 “Over-The-Top” black and white racing stripe that must be invisible and the $6,500 Track Package that comes with all the goodies, most notably the MagneRide Damping System with adjustable magnetorheological shocks. This package also includes an Integrated Driver Control (IDC) System to choose various drive modes, a raised decklid spoiler, an aluminum tower-to-tower brace, an engine oil cooler, a transmission cooler, a differential cooler, and stiffer front springs. With the $47,795 base price, the $1,300 gas guzzler tax, and the $900 destination charge, that brings the total to $56,970–a bargain for this much track car.
I’ve spent the better part of a week in the GT350 and I have some thoughts to add to our initial review.
It’s not meant to be tamed
Our previous drive of the GT350 and GT350R, editorial director Marty Padgett said it’s the track experience that counts with these cars, as they are designed for that purpose. He is absolutely right.
It doesn’t take long to understand that you are in for an uncomfortable commute in the GT350. The aggressive bolstering of the Recaros cuts into the space between the seatback and steering wheel, making entry difficult. Once inside, the seats are too tight for the full-figured gentleman, pinching my hips. Some larger folks may not even make contact with the seat bottom, sitting instead on top of the lower bolsters.
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The experience doesn’t get much better on city streets or freeways. Even with the MagneRide suspension, the car pounds over bumps. The rear end is particularly harsh. This may be the first generation of Mustang with an independent rear suspension, but Ford needs to take some lessons from the Chevrolet Camaro on how to dial it in. And the drive modes don’t help either. The base comfort mode is all you want to use for anything but performance driving. Turning up the wick to Sport or Track modes just makes this car hop and jiggle and pound even worse.