Some three-and-a-half years after the return of the GT350, Ford is ready to give its high-performance coupe its first real update.
Yes, the car you see here is the 2019 Shelby GT350. While it soldiers on with the same basic styling, it does get a couple of important upgrades. Ford Performance has incorporated into the new GT350 what it has learned from the Mustang’s road course racing programs and the development of the all-new GT500. Billy Johnson, an FIA World Endurance Ford GT and IMSA Mustang GT4 race car driver, helped Ford's engineers fine-tune the new GT350.
The most obvious exterior change is the new rear spoiler which can be ordered with an optional Gurney Flap to further improve rear downforce. Less obvious changes are its GT350R-style front grille, which features a smaller opening for enhanced aerodynamics, and the restyled 10-spoke 19-inch aluminum wheels.
On the handling department, it gets an updated MagneRide active suspension with revised springs and dampers. It receives new Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires with a GT350-specific tread pattern and compound. The stickier set of rubber should give it better acceleration, lateral acceleration, and braking.
The six-piston front and four-piston rear Brembo brakes are retained, but it does get a recalibrated ABS. Its electric power steering and three-mode electronic stability control have also been retuned.
Under the hood, it packs the same 526hp 5.2-liter naturally aspirated flat-plane crank V8. While it may not have gained more horsepower, the host of improvements given to the car allows it to have quicker lap times.
Inside, it gets upgraded tech and an extra dose of style. The SYNC 3 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system and the dual-zone automatic climate control are now standard. A 12-speaker B&O Play premium audio system is now available. The instrument panel appliqué can be had with either the standard machined aluminum or the optional exposed carbon fiber. And it gets new door panels trimmed with dark slate Miko suede with accent stitching. Recaro race seats are still standard, but customers can now opt for new power-adjustable seats with Miko suede inserts.
Velocity Blue and Ford Performance Blue are the new paint colors for 2019. The optional factory-painted racing stripes consist of high-gloss Shadow Black, Oxford White, and Kona Blue.
The updated Shelby GT350 will hit US showrooms in early 2019. We still wish Ford Philippines would officially bring this magnificent high-revving beast to our shores. It would look great parked next to the Ranger Raptor on the showroom floor.