I know what you’re thinking. PJ, why in the hell are you writing a buyers guide on a mustang? Believe me, I get it. I didn’t think I would ever see the day either, but when a car is a hack, it has to be acknowledged and whilst a lot of American cars are NOT hacks, this particular trim model of the mustang lineage is.
The Ford Mustang GT350R is relatively newer in the long line of Mustangs, so bare this in mind. It is in the 3rd Generation of Shelby tried Mustangs ie Ford Performance models.
In 2015 at the North American International Auto Show the GT350R was introduced to be the more track-focused, hardcore, and LIMITED PRODUCTION (that is the key here to the packability) version of the Mustang GT350. The cars performance stats would level it against the Chevy Camaro Z28 and the Porsche 911 GT3, which was a point that even shocked me.
Now, I know that this is EXOTIC car hacks, but again, I can’t deny when a car is hackable, regardless of it is EXOTIC, JDM, American, foreign, luxury, whatever. So, if you are the type of person who is interested in a heavy, loud, manual, and heritage centric drive, then keep reading because the GT350R may just be for you.
These days we know that manual cars are being phased out, hell even gasoline powered cars are being phased out slowly but surely. So automatically, the supply and demand for manual cars is being called into question, which of course gives the manual cars an advantage in terms of appreciating value. But that is not to say that all manual cars will appreciate or be safe from depreciation.
The fact the GT350R is a limited production, high trim level, manual car is what gives it its hack ability over other cars. With a 5.2 liter flat plane crank V8 engine, producing 526 horsepower and 429 pounds of torque, taking the car from 0-60 in 3.9 seconds and down a quarter mile track in 12.1 seconds.
What may shock you is the engine of the GT350 and the GT350R are exactly the same, however other mechanical differences are responsible for the greater speed and superior track handling of the GT350R. The R offers heavy duty springs which offer a stiffer suspension, while this may not be ideal for daily driving, this is a track focused car, so keep that in mind. The R’s engine also offers coolers to help cool the engine and the fluids inside of it, offering a smoother and slicker internal combustion sequence, enabling the car to perform better.
The GT350R also boasts carbon fiber wheels, helping to decrease the overall weight of the car where it matters most. Making rational intertia overall improved due to less weight needing to be moved. The car then spends less energy moving he wheels and is able to distribute power elsewhere. The carbon fiber wheels also demand a more fitting tire. Stock the GT350R was given Sport Cup 2 Summer Only Tires from Michelin, which are street legal slicks, which should also essentially deter you from trying to take this beast down a rainy road to go pick up groceries.
Of course there are other additions to the GT350R to make it more of a speed demon, aerodynamic features such as the small rear wing, larger front vents and grill, etc. So there should be no wondering of where this car is best to perform, the answer is a resounding: on the track.
Ford Mustang GT350R Common Problems
One of the biggest problems that people have reported with their GT350R is that they have a hard time keeping a level oil pressure. This is said to have been address with a recall back in 2017, however newer models are still being produced with issues similar to this, and all are linked towards the oil cooler, a hose that connects the tube has a tendency to fail, causing an oil leak and leading to said issue. This is something that a PPI may not catch as it is a highly internal part of the engine and unless the leak is HIGHLY significant, it may not be visible to the shop doing the inspection at the time. However it is something you should keep an eye on.
If you want to review the aforementioned recall and others that have been called for the Ford Mustang GT350R visit the link HERE
Ford Mustang GT350R Cost of Ownership/Maintenance
One of the most amazing and depending on who you ask, sad, things about the GT350R is that is is a Ford. This means that the cost of ownership for these cars are honestly relatively low in comparison to many of the other exotic and luxury models we talk about inside of this community. The car is made in America, as are the parts, making them cheaper. The car itself has a relatively simple construction which means most mechanics can and will work on these cars without hesitation.
One snag you may run into is that if you do intend to use the car for the track, you will be spending more in terms of tires and brakes as you will blow through them. The tires on the GT350R are specific Michelins that are street legal slicks that must be adorned on the car for the best drive as well as for the speed rating, keeping the driver safe. These tires aren’t as mass produced as others so they tend to be on the more expensive side.
The wheels on the Ford GT350R are also worth mentioning as they are carbon fiber. They are $4,000 A PIECE, which means if you aren’t paying attention and curb a wheel, not only can you not do a quick fix, but you’ll be out a good chunk of change to get a replacement.
When dealing with higher level trims on performance cars, there is always going to be more dollar involved. Since these are cars that are track centric, it would be incredibly smart of you to get your car PPI’d, this will enable you to know the condition of the tires/brakes/overall car and be sure to ask the shop to get an ECU reading to see how the tracking went, as some like to redline more than others. And whilst track days are fun, they can be costly over time, so keep this in mind when choosing your GT350R.
Ford Mustang GT350R Trim Differences
There are no additional trim levels to the GT350R as it itself is the highest trim level of the GT350 Mustang.
Ford Mustang GT350R Options
There aren’t really any particular options for the GT350R as the R is a trim level that make the car come standard with more carbon fiber, carbon fiber wheels, the rear wing, ect. The only real differences the car can have are the interior and exterior color combinations, however they are also limited as this is a limited production car, so there is no real BAD color combination for the GT350R, some may opt for the white exterior with blue stripe for the nod to Ford’s racing heritage (much like the Ford GT), but there is no better or worse between the already handful of options.
Best Ford Mustang GT350R To Buy
The GT350R was produced from 2015-2020 and in terms of hack ability and also specs/miles to value, the 2019 models are the ones that you are going to want to go for over the earlier years.
I know there are always going to be people who have a draw to American made cars. While I personally don’t, I know I can’t speak for everyone. There are very few American cars that I would even dare to whisper about in this group, but the Mustang GT350R is one I am almost sort of proud to talk about. Many members inside this community are current owners of this car and also many members are past owners, with dozens of others looking to be potential members, so I wanted to give you some information from my non-biased standpoint.
If you want American, with a racing heritage, track centric focus, manual transmission, to me there is no better car to tick all those boxes for the value than the Ford Mustang GT350R.