Past 30K Miles, Our 2017 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Drinks Heavily, Sings Heartily

David Beard
Photo credit: Michael Simari - Car and Driver
Photo credit: Michael Simari - Car and Driver

From Car and Driver

WHAT WE LIKE: The spine-tingling sensation that a full sweep of the tachometer needle delivers hasn't grown old. Few engines deliver enjoyment like the Shelby GT350's rev-happy 5.2-liter Voodoo V-8, and those that do come with substantially higher price tags. The shifter navigates through the gates with the precision found in German sports cars engineered in Stuttgart. A few comments in the logbook ask why a radio and navigation are even offered since the exhaust note delivers a melody better than any Top 40 hit, and who really cares where you're going? It's easy to get lost down some nowhere roads when a car's chassis dynamics are this superb and an engine this enjoyable.

For even deeper coverage of the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350, view our Buyer’s Guide in-depth review.

WHAT WE DON’T LIKE: The gripes in the Mustang logbook have stayed mostly the same over 15 months. The inability to travel 300 miles on a single tank of premium­­ fuel-even during cross-country highway slogs-is a grievance we've learned to live with. When the Ford is driven hard, a tank drains quicker than a keg in a frat house. Some staff members have complained that the supportive thigh and torso bolsters of the Recaro bucket seats are too aggressive for daily use, requiring contortionist maneuvers-or at least sliding the (nonpower) seat all the way back-to get in and out. The once warm and fuzzy microsuede steering wheel, soiled over time with hand-care products and sweat, now resembles a beat-up piece of old leather, confirming our suspicions that, when used as a steering-wheel wrap, the material isn't cut out for longevity.

Photo credit: Michael Simari - Car and Driver
Photo credit: Michael Simari - Car and Driver

WHAT WENT WRONG: Our 5.2-liter Voodoo's thirst for 5W-50 synthetic oil continues, amassing a combined total of 18 quarts over 36,000 miles. That's one every 2000 miles, far short of the oil-change interval. On the bright side, topping off the oil provides additional opportunities to pop the hood and admire that big, screaming V-8.

More worrisome was that we noticed a high-pitched, metallic clicking sound coming from the left-rear wheel when rolling forward or reverse. Our local dealer determined that the wheel bearing had expired-or so they thought. When the noise persisted after the repair, we returned for a second diagnosis, which identified excessive play in the splines that mate the axle shaft and the hub assembly. Both repairs were covered under warranty. Still, the clicking continued. We began to think this was something we'd have to endure for the remainder of the test, but when we once again replaced the rear Michelin Super Sport rubber after 16,000 miles of use, we decided to swap wheels from side to side. Voilà! The clicking vanished, which still has us scratching our heads. (And no, there wasn't anything stuck in the tire.)

Finally, the white-stripe gripes continued, when our car's decals began bubbling around the rear spoiler. While we waited for the back-ordered wheel bearing, the stripes were replaced free of charge.

Photo credit: Michael Simari - Car and Driver
Photo credit: Michael Simari - Car and Driver

WHERE WE WENT: Shortly after returning to C/D's headquarters after wintering in California, the Mustang hauled staffers to support our annual Lightning Lap event at Virginia International Raceway, where a GT350R performed impressively in 2016. The detours around construction along I-77 led us right to where this track-bred steed deserved an honest flogging-the tight and twisty roads of the Appalachians. Since then, the Mustang has stayed near home except for weekend getaways to Chicago and to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. With just a few thousand miles to go, our beloved Mustang is nearing completion. As sad as that makes us, we're also running low on oil.

Months in Fleet: 15 months Current Mileage: 36,551 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 18 mpg
Fuel Tank Size: 16.0 gal Observed Fuel Range: 280 miles
Service: $890 Normal Wear: $1900 Repair: $0
Damage and Destruction: $4656

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