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TG TV: everything you need to know about the Mustang GT350 R

Matt's choice of V8 for this week's episode is a modified Ford Mustang

  1. What is it?

    It’s a Ford Mustang that thinks it’s a Ferrari. A Mustang that’s be tuned and trimmed to the point where it can monster public road and race track alike and all the while sound like a NASCAR that’s been sent to an Italian finishing school.

    Key to this car’s brilliance is its rather special V8 engine (more on that in a bit), but also its brutal spec. Compared to the milder GT350, the back seats, air-con, stereo, boot carpet, spare wheel and most soundproofing have been ditched, shaving a total of 59kg.

    A special mention to the R’s carbon-fibre wheels, saving over 7kg per corner. That’s all unsprung mass, too, which does wonders for ride and handling, but it’s a pricey fix if carbon meets kerb.

  2. What engine is in the Ford Mustang GT350 R?

    A flat-plane crank 5.2-litre V8 codenamed Voodoo. It develops 526bhp and 429lb ft of torque, making this Ford’s most powerful naturally aspirated engine ever. But that’s only half the story because it’s the way this engine revs, all the way to a ear-shredding 8,250rpm, that sets it apart from the muscle car pack.

    Of course, not everyone believes natural aspiration is sacred. John Hennessey, for example - who offers the slightly absurd HPE800 upgrade - is a firm believer that more is more. A 2.9-litre supercharger, upgraded fuel injectors, a carbon-fibre induction kit, a light engine remap and a handful of other tweaks take the HPE800 to 808bhp and 657lb ft of torque. It’s a philosophy Matt LeBlanc is very much on board with – picking the HPE800 as his V8 weapon in the Utah road trip that features in opening episode of series 25.

  3. How fast is the Ford Mustang GT350 R?

    Very fast. Although Ford hasn’t released a set of official acceleration figures – presumably to encourage us to get out there and time it ourselves – a conservative estimate is 0-62mph in 4.0 seconds, and a 175mph top speed.

    Of course, that pales in comparison to the HPE800. Hennessey claims 0-60mph in 3.3 seconds and the quarter mile in 10.8 seconds at 133mph. We realise this last part may mean nothing to you if you’re not familiar with drag racing, or not American.

  4. Tell me about the Ford Mustang GT350 R

    Driving the ‘regular’ GT350 R car is a bit of a revelation, considering it started life as what Americans call ‘a sports car’ and European’s call ‘a big old bus’. When we first got behind the wheel in the summer of 2015, this is what we had to say: “Within 10 metres of pulling away you can feel it’s going to be a riot and it doesn’t disappoint. Everything is on high alert. It’s a little bit louder, a little bit crisper, lighter and much, much faster. And there’s no mystery where that extra speed is coming from – you can get out of corners so much earlier and quicker and brake so much later because you feel so confident in the car. If the GT350 is a six or seven on the confidence scale, the R is a solid nine out of 10. That’s largely down to the amazing – it’s really the right word for them – wheels and tyres, but also the zillion detail tuning adjustments to all the engine and chassis systems, too.”

  5. How much is the Ford Mustang GT350 R?

    A relative bargain at $63,495 (£45,340), although if you want one in the UK you’ll have to factor in shipping and import duties. To be fair, getting hold of one in the US is hard enough; production is limited by the pace at which Ford’s Australian supplier can manufacture the carbon-fibre wheels – the same company that makes the carbon rims for the Ford GT.

  6. Tell me something interesting about it

    Did we mention it sounds great? Several times, probably, but it only properly sings when you’ve opened the exhaust valves via the dash-mounted switch. Keep this on and the car sounds like a strangled six. Flick it open and you – plus anyone within a mile radius – really start to get your money’s worth.

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