Yet another track day shootout has popped up on the old interweb, and this particular test is a good one. I bring you the BMW M2 vs. the mighty Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang.
It might seem like the BMW M4 is a better matchup against the GT350, but when you see the results of this shootout you’ll see why the it’s competing against the M2. Considering that the GT350 produces 161 more horsepower than the M2, it should be an absolute blowout. In most cases that would absolutely be true. However, this isn’t most cases. We are talking about a car from the world renowned BMW M division and a very good one at that.
- Estimated Price $63,344
- 3.0L Turbocharged Inline 6-Cylinder
- 365hp and 343lb-ft of torque
- Choice of 6-Speed Manual or 7-Speed Dual Clutch Automatic (DCT used in test)
- Est. 3,450lbs Curb Weight
The M2 is a car that is said to provide everything you could ever want in a high performing sports coupe. It has the snappy turbocharged inline 6 cylinder that’s a variation of the one used in older versions of the M3/M4, so we already know its a great motor. While the M2 doesn’t have all the fancy features as you’ll find in the M3/M4 it still gives you the sense that BMW’s motto of “The Ultimate Driving Machine” was an underlying goal when producing it. The electronically enhanced power steering somehow manages to give you an incredible connection to the road surface through your fingertips. The electronically enhanced Active Differential provides the same level of connectivity through your right foot too. All of which come together in the most spectacular way. It’s nimble, fast, and handles like a dream, everything you’d expect from an M division masterpiece.
Ford Mustang Shelby GT350
- Estimated Price $68,000
- 5.2L Naturally Aspirated Flat Plank Crank V8
- 526hp and 429lb-ft of torque
- 6-Speed Manual
- Est. 3,700lbs Curb Weight
The Shelby Mustang GT350 steps up to the plate once again to show the world how far American Muscle Cars have come. No longer are they the “straight line speed only” type of car that becomes absolutely pointless once the roads get bendy. No longer are they just loud and obnoxious without having the performance to back it up. That’s all thanks to the 5.2L naturally aspirated flat plank crank V8 and the 526hp it produces. Many muscle car aficionados will even go as far as to say that this 5.2L is one of the best V8s ever put into a Mustang, or any muscle car for that matter. It’s not always the fastest, as we saw in the shootout vs the ZL1 Camaro, but it’s usually not that far off either. It has a massive amount of torque on tap that comes in handy when exiting corners. The test driver in this shootout said he rarely felt the need to change out of third gear because of the epic throttle response. The GT350 is arguably the best all around muscle car on sale today which is making it difficult for Ford dealers to keep them on the lot.
This shootout consists of two parts; hot laps on the track and full throttle sprints down the drag strip. It took place at the Toronto Motorsports Park so that each part of the test could be done at the same time in the same conditions. The road course pushes each car to the limits of their overall performance. It tests each in the three main categories used to determine overall performance; acceleration, braking, and handling.
Since the drag strip races are technically a no brainer, it’s the road course results that really tell the story between these two cars. Even though the Mustang has a massive power advantage, the M2 was still able to make up enough ground to come out victorious, even it was by just four tenths of a second. But in racing, four-tenths is a pretty decent gap, at least a noticeable one. Granted these results could vary from track to track if there were more straightaways the Mustang would come out on top and if there were more turns, the M2 would’ve won by an even bigger margin.
The fact that a BMW M car is in a shootout with an American muscle car, and it isn’t a joke, is something that would’ve been unheard of a decade ago. Especially with the results being so close. Personal preference ends up being the deciding factor.