First Look: 2012 Shelby GTS Mustang

Barring the occasional foray into sport compacts and other interesting projects, Shelby American's primary focus has long centered upon building premium, high-performance muscle machines. That's fine and dandy, but corporate executives believe that in order to ensure the company has customers in the decades to come, it needs to develop a younger customer base.

Like the 2007-2008 Shelby GT Mustang, the new 2012 Shelby GTS essentially an affordable stepping stone into the Shelby way of life. Designed with budding enthusiasts in mind, the package, available on both Mustang V-6 and Mustang GT models, promises to bring in some younger shoppers.

As is the case with other Shelby Mustang models, GTS cars incorporate a number of visual revisions designed to set them apart from a standard Mustang. A custom grille and bumper fascia, cribbed from the company's mid-level GT350 offering, are installed, as is a bespoke ventilated hood. The famed twin racing stripes are standard, as are unique Shelby and Powered By Ford emblems.

Mechanically speaking, GTS models receive new springs, stabilizer bars, and a front strut tower brace from Ford Racing, along with upgraded Baer brakes. The only performance upgrade for either V-6 or V-8 cars is a cold air intake, although customers can opt for a supercharger for either the 3.7- or 5.0-liter engines, boosting power to 475 and 525-624 horsepower, respectively. Other performance options include 6-piston Baer Brakes, adjustable control arms, 18- and 20-inch wheel packages, a two-tone leather interior, and a Watts link rear suspension.

Refrain from dipping into that option list, and the GTS package will run you only $9995 more than a stock 2012 Mustang V-6, or $11,995 over a 2012 Mustang GT. Shelby American officials think many GTS buyers will abstain from those add-ons initially, but ultimately opt to retrofit them as their budgets allow.

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