It's safe to say that 2015 was a good year for luxury and performance cars. We saw the release of numerous new or significantly models that set new standards for their brands. Among them were an all-new Chevrolet Camaro and a performance version of the Mustang with the legendary Shelby name. It sets up yet another salvo in the ongoing Camaro-Mustang wars, and it leaves us with a pair of great cars.
We've already profiled the Camaro. Now let's take a look at the latest Mustang to wear the Shelby badge, and consider why it could be our 2016 Best Car To Buy.
The case for the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350
This isn't your father's Mustang, even if your father's Mustang was a 2000 SVT Cobra R. This is the most track capable Mustang of all time. It comes in two flavors, base GT350 and all-out race-ready GT350R. Both are motivated by a 526-horsepower 5.2-liter flat-plane-crank V-8 that sounds like a cross between a Ferrari and Brad Kesolowski's Miller Lite Ford. That's enough to make either car worth buying, but the GT350R has several features that make it more enticing. To save weight, Ford foregoes the air conditioning, stereo, rear seats, rearview camera, tire-inflator kit, exhaust resonators, and some carpeting and soundproofing. The alloy wheels also give way to carbon-fiber wheels that save 13 pounds each. The lighter wheels mean the engine has to do less work to launch the car.
2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang
The GT350R also has more aero components, including a massive carbon fiber rear wing, and it rides on wide and sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. All that translates to a 0 to 60 mph sprint of just 3.9 seconds, a quarter-mile time of 12.2 seconds, and more grip and agility on a race track than any production Mustang in history.
The GT350R is also fairly comfortable on the street, thanks to the standard MagneRide shocks and the lightweight wheels. You may want to add the A/C, radio, and rearseat back in to make it more livable on a daily basis, but that would chip away at its road course pedigree. In any configuration, this is our favorite Mustang of all time and it's sure to be a collectible. For a full review of the GT350, see our First Drive.
We'll announce our Best Car To Buy winner on January 4, along with the winners from our sister sites, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. We'll also reveal the winners in our Driver's Choice awards—as voted by you, our readers—at that time.
Be sure to tune in next week when we highlight the Lamborghini Aventador SV.