Tue. Aug 3rd, 2021
2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R First Track Drive

Few things in this world are better than the 5.2-liter flat-plane-crank V8 in the 2020 Ford Mustang GT350R. Yeah, that’s right, literally. If you doubt it, you just haven’t experienced revving it to the 8,250-rpm redline shifted through a six-speed manual. The noise, the response, the power … did we mention the noise? It’s shockingly been around for nearly five years now, yet the buzz has yet to wear off. It probably never will.

Of course, that V8 glory is found in the regular GT350 as well. The R variant stands taller with its lighter weight and greatly improved track capability and durability. Ford adds separate coolers for the engine oil, transmission fluid and differential fluid. The suspension is tuned to be slightly stiffer with heavy-duty springs. And then there are the wheels. All GT350Rs come with painted carbon fiber wheels as standard, a performance addition typically saved for supercars — don’t curb them.

Of course, Ford didn’t exactly reinvent the wheel here for the 2020 GT350R, making only minor improvements to the car. Upgrading from a previous model year is hardly necessary. Those from outside looking in, however, should by all means snap one up. Cars and engines like this don’t last forever. We hope Ford can continue to justify and build the 5.2-liter flat-plane-crank engine, especially as it exists solely in this low-volume Mustang variant. Icing on the cake is the new-for-2020 option of ultra-bright Grabber Lime and Twister Orange paint colors. For those who want even more color, there’s a new red stripe you can tack on, too.

We don’t blame them. The flat-plane-crank V8 is like a drug, tempting us for one more hit of luscious noise and acceleration right after we come down from the last. It’s best experienced on a track, and we recommend it just as highly for 2020 as we did when it originally hit the streets.