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2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Heritage Edition first drive review: A slick nod to the past

Limited-edition styling packages are a common practice among automakers. Most include a special paint or color combination with minor internal changes. But some people matter too much, taking inspiration from the past of a model store that makes an existing car so special. This is the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Legacy Edition in a nutshell.

With the Heritage Edition package, customers can get the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 or GT350R coated in a special Wimbledon white paint with Gurdsman blue suede and over-the-top racing strips. The Lear withdrew Carroll Shelby’s 1965 GT350 fastback which was victorious at the start of his race with driver Ken Miles behind the wheel. Is it a good thing to base a limited edition? Absolutely. Is there a color combo to look wicked to boot? Oh yes.

Outside of the paint and stripes, the heritage version changes are minor. The front and rear of the GT350 badge are finished in Guardsman Blue, along with a special dash badge inside. Those opting for the Heritage Edition package on the GT350R get fully black seats instead of the standard with red bolts.

So, why the special edition? Well, sorry to say, GT350 is ending production. Ford confirmed in a statement, “With 760-horsepower Shelby GT500 Now fully, we will end production of the Shelby GT350 and GT350R as planned. This paves the way for new additions to excite our passionate Mustang fans for the 2021 model year – including limited-edition Mach 1. “Put one out.

One last voodoo dance

Knowing that the GT350 is not long for the world, the Heritage Edition makes bittersweet driving. The 5.2-liter, naturally aspirated, flat-plane-crank V8 is superb. Internally known as the Voodoo at Ford, it spans 526 horsepower and 429 pound-torque for strong, linear power delivery all the way to the 8,250-rpm redline. Throw in a brilliant, roaring soundtrack under a wide-open throttle and it will definitely speed up the heartbeat of any driver.

Ford’s 5.2-liter Voodoo V8 is a genuine sweetheart.

John Wong / Roadshow

Attached to the 350’s engine is a Tremec six-speed manual transmission that offers precise action and a well-weighted, easy-to-operate clutch. Comb that with the engine’s rapid throttle response and well-stretched paddles for heel and toe shifting, and dropping a gear or two before turning is super easy. The only drivetrain element that I would replace is installing a shifter with slightly lower throws.

Facing my go-to-stretching teddy rhodes in the Heritage Edition is a complete riot. With some heat in the staggered, 19-inch Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, the 3,800-pound coupe does everything you ask of it. The trackers mode lifts up the dampers and steering, is quick to turn, with great weight and high levels of responsiveness, and body movements are controlled with a large amount of grip. If you think the rear end dance is done in a controlled way, it is easily done with a generous dub of the throttle. The six-piston front and four-piston rear Brembo clampers slow down effortlessly, providing the confidence to go deeper into the braking zone if you wish.

The highlight of the GT350 is its raw but acceptable performance personality. It is forgiving to drive right up to the limit with usable power and a good ol ‘manual gearbox. In many ways it is a Comeback sports car, which is free of new performance technologies in the best possible ways.

The interior is standard Mustang luggage, with Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment tech onboard.

John Wong / Roadshow

Daily tolerance

Just because this Shelby Mustang has a lot to like about old-school makeup, however, does not mean that some modern elements are not. Case in point: adaptive damping, adjustable steering and active exhaust. Engaging with the Normal Drive mode eliminates bump tightness, makes the steering lighter and leaves a quieter exhaust note for more comfortable, low-key motoring. This does not mean that effects are eradicated by big bumps, but they smooth out sufficiently for a very tolerable ride around the city.

The middle ground between the normal and track drive modes is the Sport, which is ideal for more enthusiastic daily driving, while possessing enough damping properties to keep things jerking. Yes, it makes the Shelby marginally stronger, but is fully habitable with a more cornering compartment and slightly heftier steering.

The GT350 is not the right daily driver, however. Remember those aggressive 295 / 35R19 front and 305 / 35R19 rear tires, which are good for oh-handling? They are prone to trampling on bumpy roadways, which makes it difficult to track directly. But the biggest strike against this Shelby is its low-stellar fuel economy, which the city has an EPA estimate of 14 miles per gallon and 21 mpg highway. Those numbers caused the coupe to be hit with a $ 1,300 gas-geyser tax. Then, if you are really concerned about fuel efficiency, Shelby is probably not for you.

John Wong / Roadshow

Inside, the Heritage version is a typical Mustang. The door panels have suede inserts, and the standard Recaro front race seats are extremely comfortable and supportive. Outside of that, the rear seat is still tight and is best used for young children, the build quality is good, but not great, and the trunk has the ability to carry cargo with 13.5 cubic feet of space.

On the technology front, the GT350 uses Ford’s try-and-true Sync 3 interface, which is mounted on an 8-inch touchscreen. Nine speaker audio system, satellite radio, Wi-Fi hotspot and both Apple carplay And Android Auto Come standard. Navigation with real-time traffic and a 12-speaker B&O sound setup are optional. For security, a rear-view camera is standard, while available features are limited to blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts.

We’ll really miss it when it’s gone.

John Wong / Roadshow

it’s hard to say goodbye

The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 and GT350R are on sale at dealers with base prices of $ 61,635 and $ 74,630 respectively. Both figures include $ 1,195 for the destination and a gas geeseler tax of $ 1,300. The Heritage Edition package is in the lower row of each at an additional limit of $ 1,965.

I would definitely put a check mark next to the Heritage Edition package option on my GT350 build sheet, which says something, because I’m not usually one to get sucked into a limited-edition broha. But the fact is that it is a great looking package that has overshadowed the best driver’s Mustang in history so far. For someone considering the Shelby GT350, you are officially on the watch. The end is near, but it is a lovely sender nonetheless.

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