Killing Time with an Unlikely Race | GT350 Vs. EcoBoost | Torque Matters
Torque and acceleration, to me those are the sensations that define what a fun street car is. Sure, there are other things at work as well. However, there's not much a car can do to put a bigger smile on your face than slam you back in your seat from light to light. That's not to say that a tight suspension and the ability to out corner an F-16 aren't impressive. It's just that on a day to day basis, you're more likely to get the opportunity to lean a bit on the skinny pedal than peg the lateral G meter. That's why I believe the Shelby GT350 Mustang from Ford Performance leaves a little to be desired as fun street car. There's no denying it's supreme ability on a road course, but on the street it's not that much more exciting than a Performance Pack GT Mustang.
Even with street tires and a 2.3L EcoBoost under the hood, an S550 is a fun ride in the turns.
That brings me to the point of this editorial and idea behind it. Prodigious torque at available at low RPMs is just plain fun. Don't believe me? Go for a quick drive in a GT350 and a Terminator back-to-back. On paper, and in nearly every measurable sense, the GT350 is far superior to the now 15+ year old Cobra. However, that positive displacement blower mounted to the old-school iron blocked mill on a Terminator just cranks out the low-end twist that makes your pants tight. While discussing this topic with a GT350 owning friend of mine during a track day we decided to put together a little torque-based test.
If you haven't gotten some seat time in a GT350 on a track, you need to stop what you're doing right now and grab your helmet. It's just that good.
He got in his 2016 Shelby GT350 and I took the wheel of our 2015 EcoBoost Mustang project car. The GT350 had a 100% stock drivetrain (526 Horsepower & 429 lb. ft Torque), and the 2.3L EB did not. With an Airaid Intake, Livernois Tune, and Kooks Exhaust it was making 340RWHP and 440RWTQ. That is a huge horsepower difference, but the real story is the torque. The GT350 has to wind up to 4,750 RPM to produce max-torque, but the EcoBoost gets there at about 3,200 RPM. So what does that mean? I'll let this video explain:
We had some time to kill during the track worker's lunch break, so we decided to do a single-gear roll race. We go up to about 30MPH in 3rd and both went when we got to a painted line on VIR's back stretch. The results speak for themselves. The EcoBoost starts churning out prodigious amounts of torque almost immediately. The GT350, not so much. In a nutshell, that explains why a boosted car is so damn fun around town. While the Shelby GT350 is amazing on a road track where you can keep it in wound-up in its powerband, it leaves a bit to be desired just putzing around on the streets. I'm not saying everyone needs to run out and trade their GT350 in on a 4-banger Mustang, but if you miss being pinned to your seat from stoplight-to-stoplight you might want to keep an eye on the upcoming 2020 GT500 Mustang. I think it'll bring a smile to your face.