On the highway, the GT350's massive 295/35 front and 305/35 rear 19-inch Michelin Pilot Super Sports follow seams in the road like a cat chasing the red dot from a laser pointer.
In one freeway construction zone, the car leapt a foot or two to the right along a road seam until I could wrangle it back on path. There is no relaxed cruising here. You have to be on your toes even when just toddling along.
2016 Ford Shelby GT350 MustangEnlarge Photo
The base version of Sync is also rather, well, base. The screen is tiny and you control it via a series of arrow buttons below the screen. It's hard to figure out, complicated to use, comes with a mediocre sound system, and it distracts you from the road, which isn't a good idea in this car. If I'm going to spend more than $50K, give me a nice big touchscreen.
Look out F-Type, you have some serious aural competition
That's the bad news. The rest is great. The joy begins when you fire up the 526-horsepower, flat-plane crank 5.2-liter V-8. It burbles and purrs to life, begging to be revved. It's a constant companion, but only emits a low rumble if you go easy on the throttle. But who wants to do that? Tromp on the gas and the 5.2 roars and whumms and blatts like no other car on the street. I think it sounds like a cross between a Ferrari and Joey Lagano's NASCAR Ford Fusion. How cool is that?
I was impressed that the GT350 sounds as good as any car on the market, then I discovered the Sport Exhaust mode that drops the engine note a few octaves and raises the volume a few clicks. Whoa, Nellie! This thing sounds as good as the Jaguar F-Type's V-8 or an Aston Martin. Who needs a good audio system when you have this soundtrack?
While I didn't get to flog the GT350 on a racetrack or on some twisty country roads, I would be willing to live with its flaws to enjoy its strengths from time to time. Even if you can't find a good road, the V-8's engine note is a source of amusement every time you drive this car.
The GT350 is a brilliant piece of engineering that blows past pony into the realm of track weapon. I'm glad that there are still lunatics at Ford who have the will and know-how to turn a Mustang into a flat-out track car with an exotic engine and the moves of a dancer. I'm also glad there are suits at the Blue Oval who are willing to empower those guys. This thing is a rough-riding, barbaric yawping, track slaying, corner carving, uncomfortable joy machine.