There’s absolutely no question that the 2018 Mustang is one seriously impressive car out of the box, especially compared to its 2015-2017 Mustang older brother. Making the jump, however, from the standard GT Performance Package to the GT Performance Package - Level 2 ups the ante to levels the run-of-the-mill Mustang GT has never seen before.
For the first time ever, Mustang GT owners now have the option for a package that has one thing in mind - the road course. This performance-oriented package includes upsized sway bars, unique track-inspired springs, unique stability control, EPAS and ABS tuning along with the recalibrated MagneRide Damping System special to the PP2. And who could forget those beautiful shoes: 19” x 10.5” (F) and 19” x 11” (R) wheels wrapped in 305/30R19 Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires borrowed from the Shelby GT350R.
Needless to say, regardless of the 66 horsepower difference between the GT and GT350, these suspension upgrades offer one heck of a package for some serious fun.
Breaking Down The Numbers
"Screaming with a 8,250 RPM red line"
Sometimes you just have to look at the cold, hard facts. The numbers speak wonders between these two variants of the Mustang. A top-of-the-line GT PP2 prices out in the low-mid $50k range in terms of pricing, so these two cars really aren’t far off from each other, especially if you’re looking at a lightly used GT350.
There are just a couple of things that you can’t get with the GT PP2 that allows the GT350 to run away with the win. First off, the engine. There aren’t many motors out there that have the signature exhaust note that derives from the GT350’s flat-plane crank 5.2L V8. Screaming with an 8,250 RPM red line, the 350’s Voodoo motor is hard to beat. However, with the updates to the Coyote in the mid-cycle refreshed Mustang, the GT is able to hold its own, especially with the superior Cup 2 tires and wider contact patch up front.
Yes, the tires. The GT350 comes equipped with Pilot Super Sport tires which fall into the Max Performance Summer tire category. These tires last a decent mileage while offering some of the best cornering grip in its class. However, the GT PP2 comes equipped with the Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires derived from the GT350R, which fall into a completely different class of tire. The Cup 2 tires are not really recommended for use in wet weather and what they sacrifice in longevity can be made up twice over in handling ability. Yes, they’re basically street legal slicks with a couple of shallow grooves if you happen to hit a puddle...
At first glance, these two variants of the Mustang seem to be in different ball fields, but after going over the numbers they seem closer than ever. Kind of makes you wonder how quick the GT PP2 would be if they offered it with the even faster 10R80 10-Speed Automatic Transmission! Regardless, the GT PP2 is one heck of a contender and it certainly bridges any gap that was left between the PP1 and the GT350!
|Specification||2018 Shelby GT350||2019 Mustang GT PP2|
|Vehicle Base Price (MSRP)
301A, GT PP2
||5.2L Flat Plane Crank V8
||5.0L Ti-VCT V-8 Engine
|Horsepower (SAE net @ RPM)
||526 @ 7,500 (93-octane fuel)
||460 @ 7,000 (93-octane fuel)
|Torque (lb.-ft. @ RPM)
||429 @ 4,750 (93-octane fuel)
||420 @ 4,600 (93-octane fuel)
|Bore and Stroke (mm)
||94 x 93
||93 x 92.7
||PFI system with twin-high flow pumps
||Dual-Direct Port Fuel Injection
||TREMEC 6-speed manual
||MT-82 6-speed manual
||14 city/21 hwy/16 combined (M/T)
||15 city / 25 hwy / 18 combined (M/T)
||394-mm (15.5 in.) vented cross-drilled
2-pc discs, Brembo six-piston
|GT Performance Package 1/2:
380-mm (15.0 in.) vented discs, Brembo six-piston fixed aluminum calipers
||380-mm (15.0 in.), vented cross-drilled
2-pc discs, Brembo four-piston calipers, integral parking brake
|330-mm (13.0 in.) vented discs, single-piston floating aluminum calipers, integral parking brake
||19" x 10.5" (F), 19" x 11" (R),
Ebony black painted aluminum
|19" x 9.5" (F), 19" x 10" (R),
Dark tarnish stainless-painted aluminum
||295/35ZR-19 (F), 305/35ZR-19 (R), Michelin Pilot Super Sport
||305/30R-19 (F/R), Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2
|Base Curb Weight (lbs)
|Fuel Capacity (gal.)
GT350 vs GT PP2 Exterior
To those out there that want the latest and greatest in terms of looks, you may be a bit out of luck when it comes to the Shelby GT350. This is due to the fact that the facelift that regular EcoBoost and GT Mustangs received for the 2018 model year did not bleed over to Ford Performance’s GT350. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the 350 has had a similar design since its debut in 2015. Sitting next to a refreshed 2018 or 2019 Mustang, it may look a little dated to some enthusiasts.
Aside from that, the GT350’s looks are unique to the car and really set it apart from the other Mustangs, or any other car for that matter. Its aggressive front end styling says “get out of my way” all while effectively diverting air around the car in an incredibly efficient way. Yes, function plays a large part in the styling of the GT350, which is great to hear for enthusiasts who value the performance value of a vehicle. The GT350 also receives a unique hood, bumper, and fenders featuring a functional vent to help divert air around the vehicle. Another aspect of the GT350 that stands out from the rest is its unique rear valance which features a quad-tip exhaust with built-in tips.
On the GT Performance Package 2 side of the court, the first thing that sets this car apart from any other Mustang, including the GT350, is the wheels. The wheels featured on the GT PP2 show a very aggressive offset and are most definitely the tightest fitting wheels ever offered on a standard Mustang GT. Additionally, you’ll see a unique front splitter and baby spoiler out back, both adding additional downforce over the front and rear tires to keep the car planted as you tear up the track.
GT350 vs GT PP2 Interior
"It just screams cool"
As you step inside the cockpit of each Mustang, both give you the idea that you’re stepping into something special, especially with the GT350. The Shelby’s interior is splattered with all different kinds of contrasting stitching, soft-touch Alcantara, and tight-fitting Shelby-logo’d Recaro seats, if equipped. Did I forget to mention the iconic snake sitting right in front of you on the steering wheel? It just screams cool.
Sitting in the driver seat of the PP2 can warrant two different experiences depending on how the car is optioned. If you opt for the 301A interior, then you’ll have cloth seats, the standard gauge cluster, and the SYNC 3 touchscreen. Not too shabby, especially if it’s paired with the cloth Recaros. Not as many creature comforts, but you didn’t buy the PP2 to hard park at the mall, did you? Now, if you do like those creature comforts, you can shell out a few more grand and step up to the 401A Equipment Group. This comes with the leather interior with optional Red Line coloring and most famously, the Digital Gauge Cluster. If there’s anything that the Mustang GT PP2 has over the Shelby, it’s that beautiful gauge cluster. Totally customizable and totally awesome.
Regardless of how you equip the car, both the GT350 and GT PP2 have interiors that you can easily throw around the track and stay planted in the seat (with the help of those Recaros) or take on a long road trip and stay rather comfortable - thanks to that MagneRide suspension!
Which Is For You?
Well, that question really comes down to a couple of main points. First, and most prominent, is price. Obviously, you’re going to shell out a couple more bucks for the Shelby. But, that makes sense: It’s the Shelby! You’re paying for the name, the Voodoo engine, the history, and all of the other great things that come with the GT350.
However, that doesn’t mean that the Performance Package 2 is a slouch - it makes the standard Mustang GT poised and ready for battle with whatever comes its way whether it’s on a road course or curvy backroad. Regardless of where you’re leaning with your choice, any Mustang enthusiast would be happy with either of these cars in their driveway.
Sources: 2018 Ford Mustang GT Performance Pack Level 2 First Test: The Best Mustang GT Available, MotorTrend | 2019 Ford Mustang GT Performance Pack Level 2 vs. 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350, Car and Driver | 2019 Ford Mustang Brochure, Ford