In case you didn’t notice, Ford has been dominating the high-performance muscle car game. No, the Corvette is not a competitor to the GT350, they are in completely different leagues. The Camaro is currently being absolutely crushed on and off track by the GT350. Lots of people dream about owning a GT350 or GT350R, but what’s the difference? Well, they are extremely similar, but there are a few key differences.
GT350 vs GT350R: Powertrain
As cool as it would be for the R version to have an even more insane engine, it doesn’t. The GT350 and GT350R share the same insane 5.2L flat plane crank V8 that outputs 526 horsepower. Engine, transmission, and everything associated with the power train is 100% identical between these two. Pretty hard to beat that engine, especially for the price of the GT350 and GT350R.
GT350 vs GT350R: Wheels/Suspension
The GT350 is a track focused Mustang model, and as such has far stiffer suspension than the standard Mustang models. The GT350 and the GT350R share the same exact Magneride suspension setup. There is absolutely no difference in the suspension setup, although many journalists say the GT350R feels stiffer, we’ll get to that in just a minute.
The GT350R is the first ever vehicle to come with “production” carbon fiber wheels. This is why some journalists think the GT350R feels stiffer overall. I put production in quotations, because other cars have carbon fiber wheels, but aren’t considered production e.g. Koenigsegg. The wheels on the GT350R are mass produced which has never been done before. This gives hopes for future high-performance cars that don’t cost $250k+ to have carbon fiber wheels.
GT350 vs GT350R: Interior
I hope you weren’t really concerned about the interior differences between these two. After all, they are both track focused cars, and the interior is the least important part. If you must really know, the GT350R doesn’t come with A/C or back seats. These can be added with an optional package when buying the GT350R. Other than that, they are identical to each other on the inside.
GT350 vs GT350R: Track Performance
If you are even looking at purchasing one of these, this better be one of the main reasons why. These cars are designed to be as fast as possible on a race track. They are stiffer than the stand Mustang, have way more aerodynamic parts, massive brakes, and beefier tires.
The GT350R’s carbon fiber wheels show how awesome they are on the race track. Since they are lighter, there is less rotating mass. Less rotating mass means braking performance is improved and so is handling. The GT350R’s more aggressive aero also helps it out-corner the standard GT350 at high speeds. Further more, the GT350R comes with stickier, barely road legal tires to further enhance its track performance.
GT350 vs GT350R: Price
So why can you get one of these insane track cars for? Well, they are actually an extreme bargain for the amount of performance you are getting. I know at the beginning I said that the Corvette is in a different league, but on the track, they are nearly as quick as each other. The GT350 starts at $50k, and the GT350R starts at $63k.
Unfortunately, none of them are actually near that price. Most dealerships are marking them up to increase their profits. People are willing to pay for the markup price so they continue to overcharge. Ford discourages their dealers from doing this, but can’t stop them. GT350s can be as much as $115k thanks to the dealer mark up.
Overall the GT350 and GT350R are extremely similar in many ways. The main differences are carbon fiber wheels, back seat delete, A/C delete, and more aggressive aero. The GT350R is also rarer, making it more of a collector’s item.