The suit, which applies to owners of 2016 model year versions of the GT350, alleges Ford’s decision not to include as standard equipment oil coolers for the car’s engine, transmission, and differential oil limits the car’s performance in the kind of track driving for which Ford claims it was designed.
Central to the suit are complaints from GT350 owners that their cars go into a fail-safe “limp” mode during track driving – or even aggressive street driving – when not equipped with optional oil coolers for the engine, transmission, and differential. The car will enter limp mode with temperature sensors indicating the engine or driveline components are at risk of damage due to overheating.
It bears mentioning the GT350 is no ordinary Mustang. It alone in that muscle car’s lineup uses a 5.2-litre V8 that, with 526 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque, makes the car it’s installed in the most powerful naturally aspirated Mustang ever. Ford calls the GT350 a “world-class performance vehicle” and “an all-day track car that’s also street-legal.”
An optional Track Package included the transmission and engine oil coolers, but not, apparently, the differential cooler, which appears to have been an option only on all GT350s sold during the 2016 model year.
The lawsuit, being brought by law firm Hagens Berman (which calls itself one of the most successful auto litigation firms in the U.S.), alleges that Ford did not properly warn GT350 buyers that leaving that Track Package off of their cars would limit the cars’ performance at, well, the track.
The suit goes on to suggest that “consumers have the right to reimbursement for the premium price they paid for what they thought was a functional street-legal track car capable of reaching and sustaining high speeds without failure.”
If we may editorialize, we’d suggest Ford’s offering engine and transmission oil coolers in a Track Package was a strong enough statement that the base car was not properly equipped for intensive track use. In a similar vein, pickup trucks are ostensibly built for towing stuff, but most must first be equipped with a trailer tow package that often includes an auxiliary transmission oil cooler.
But that’s beside the point for the disgruntled GT350 owners and Hagens Berman, whose suit says Ford “knew about the limp mode defect present” in the 2016 GT350 and continued to market the car as fully functional track cars.