With a 526-horsepower, 5.2-liter V8 that roars to 8,250 rpm, it’s really hard to consider the 2016 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350R an underdog in any fight. However, the Shelby held the lowest as-tested price and was only middle of the pack in terms of power in Road & Track‘s 2016 Performance Car of the Year challenge. The ‘Stang’s numbers clearly didn’t tell the whole story about the potent coupe because Ford’s muscle car grabbed the title in this year’s test.
A model needs to be new or significantly updated to be eligible for the honor, and R&T found an impressive slate of eight candidates this year. The challengers included the Bentley Continental GT3-R, Cadillac ATS-V Coupe, Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Dodge Viper ACR, Mercedes-AMG GT S, and Porsche Cayman GT4. The Ferrari 488 GTB was the most expensive of the bunch with an as-tested price of $347,942, which is five times more than the Shelby.
Once the group was together, R&T hustled them over curving roads and on the National CorvetteMuseum Motorsports Park. There was a lot to love about the Shelby, even in this impressive crew. “With a flat-plane crank and Sport Cup 2 tires, the GT350R is a Mustang turned up to 11,” editor-in-chief Larry Webster said in the announcement of the results.
The GT350R joins some great company. Past winners include the Porsche 911 GT3 last year and the Corvette in 2013. For some fantastic photography and the complete appraisal of these performance machines check out R&T‘s website for the full story.