The 2019 Shelby GT350 doesn’t look much different than its predecessor. Ford says its customers were happy with the car’s muscly flanks and cascading hood, so the exterior remains largely unchanged. But Ford’s engineers couldn’t keep their hands off the ‘Stang, calibrating the car’s suspension and aero bits for improved performance, and even better handling.
“Our end goal was to make the car better on the racetrack,” says Carl Widmann, the GT350’s chief engineer. “We want the car to flatter novice drivers, and reward professionals.”
To that end, the GT350 has new rubber–perhaps the most noticeable change for 2019. The tires are Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s, like the GT350R and Mustang Performance Pack 2, but made specifically for the car. The unique tread pattern and updated compound are meant to significantly improve the GT350’s acceleration, lateral grip, and braking, Ford says. The new tires – 295/35 up front an 305/35 rears – are wrapped around faceted, gorgeous, 19-inch aluminum wheels, that are also new for 2019.
Ford’s engineers set to work on the suspension to get the best out of the tires. The springs and dampers have been recalibrated, aided by three years of continuous development and data collection on the GT350’s MagneRide active suspension. Ford says its electronic power steering system has also been adjusted, alongside the suspension, to deliver enhanced feel.
The GT350’s brakes remain the same (those lovely six-piston Brembos up front and four-piston units in the rear), but the ABS and brake booster have been recalibrated. The aim was to smooth out all phases of braking for the GT350, improving driver confidence, and the car’s predictability.
Exterior tweaks are minor, but essential. The grille of the GT350 has been optimized, reducing the amount of air passing into the engine bay that’s needed for cooling. This decreases the drag on the Mustang’s front end. When paired with new front and rear spoilers (and a Gurney flap option, available after the car’s launch), the aero tweaks deliver significantly greater aerodynamic efficiency, Ford says. These tweaks are also a product of what the Mustang team learned developing the upcoming GT500.
The 2019 GT350’s engine remains unchanged, and its interior remains mostly the same, save the adoption of Ford’s latest 8-inch SYNC 3 touch screen, among smaller tweaks.