2012 Ford Mustang Shelby GTS

What is it?

The 2012 Shelby GTS is an “entry-level” performance and appearance upgrade package for both V6- and V8-powered Ford Mustangs. We got a chance to drive the 305-hp, 3.7-liter V6 model right before Shelby packed it up and sent it off to New York for its world premiere.

The $9,995 GTS package includes upgraded springs, shocks and tuned stabilizer bars, Shelby/Baer upgraded front and rear brakes, a Shelby/Borla sport exhaust system, a unique “deep draw” hood, a black billet grille with “running pony” emblem, lower front fascia, racing stripes, assorted badges and a Shelby CSM serialized build plaque.

What is it like to drive?

We got to drive a silver V6 automatic coupe with black stripes and optional 18-inch wheels. The burly hood and lower fascia with gaping air intake impart the intended muscular look to distance it from the typical low-roller V6 Mustang. The husky grumble of the Borla exhaust further enhances the muscle-car image, but it does hit a sour note when an aggravating “boom” occurs while cruising at 1,500 rpm to 1,800 rpm.

We also were not too keen on the sluggish response of the stock automatic transmission unless you have the throttle pinned to the floor. Manually shifting or engaging the “hill descent” mode solves this problem.

The suspension mods are a noticeable improvement over the stock setup. The ride is firmer than stock, eliminating much of the wallowing and body lean. It’s not as stiff as the GT350, but it’s a nice balance between comfort and handling. Despite some understeer, the GTS feels much more responsive and nimble when cornering than the stock Mustang.

Do I want it?

If you’re a Shelby fan looking for an affordable but official Shelby entered in the company’s registry, this is your admission ticket. Rising gasoline prices make the V6 Shelby’s 31-mpg highway rating appealing to anyone looking for American muscle-car looks, reasonable performance and decent fuel economy.

If gasoline prices drop or you want more speed, Shelby has a ProCharger supercharger available that will get 475 hp from the V6.