From the moment we laid eyes...
From the moment we laid eyes on the new Roush Mustang, we appreciated the clean subtle approach of the car's new bodywork. The front fascia in particular is the perfect blend of factory quality and Roush style, complete with Cobra-like round foglights and a new front splitter. The only real critique of the car's front end is the retention of the factory fogs, which are non-functional. The front end could be even cleaner with a unique grille to complement the fascia, but perhaps that motif is being saved for a future Roush.
Roush and fast go hand in hand, but usually when it comes to the race track. In this case, that speed and a close working relationship with Ford delivered the first tuner '10 Mustang to dealer lots right on top of the arrival of the '10 Mustang GTs.
The speedster in question is a 427R. The name has plenty of historical significance, but this time around it bears no relation to the horsepower underhood. Nope, this 427R packs a 435hp, 400 lb-ft wallop in a clean, understated package.
Eagerly jumping behind the wheel, the first thing that jumps out about the Roush is not any flashy bling. Instead, it is the brightly inserted seats, but not because of their visage, but because of the pleasant, recliner plush that still provides plenty of side support. The many-logo'd Roush adornments aren't overboard, and the seat inserts were a big hit with those that came over to check the car out. From a functional perspective, the tall, retro Roush shifter makes the car easy to power shift and more fun to drive by delivering more feel in the relatively isolated '10 interior.
Once I dialed in the seating position, pushed in the easy-going stock clutch, and turned the key, the 427R ripped to life with a metallic snarl. This car looks and sounds the part-even sitting still. Finding a clear piece of road and standing on the throttle, I quickly learned the 427R runs like a self-respecting performance Mustang should. Torque comes on early and often, swelling into a fat midrange pull. Halfway up the tach, the pull is less urgent, but it keeps on thundering all the way to redline. In fact, the latest execution of Roushcharging seems more elastic on the '10 Mustang, making this car a blast to stretch all the way to the redline whenever you get the chance.
With a Roots-blown 400 lb-ft...
With a Roots-blown 400 lb-ft of torque on tap, starting a smoke show is just a matter of switching off the AdvanceTrac traction control and getting down to business. Our friends at Bradenton Motorsports Park were kind enough to let me burn rubber while our web producer, Greg Clark, snapped a shot. Unfortunately, the weather precluded us from running at this session. I was able to sneak in a couple passes before a Saturday bracket race, but I didn't really pull off an ideal pass-though I did manage to run potential-revealing 107 mph. You can read more of my excuses in our On the Dyno sidebar, but I did learn that with low rear-tire pressure the car refuses to go into AdvanceTrac Sport Mode. It was either On or Off.
The more consistent power delivery is likely due to 30 percent more intercooler coolant capacity and a heat exchanger with twice the surface area of its predecessor, which helps stabilize air-charge temps. Combined with the grille-fed intake system on the '10 Mustang, the new Roush does its best work moving down the road even on a hot summer day. "Both the air induction and the intercooler water changes are most noticeable in real-world driving situations that aren't captured in an SAE net-power run, where all temps are controlled to targets specified by SAE," explains Craig Barker, Roush powertrain development manager. "If SAE had a Phoenix-traffic-jam simulation, I would estimate these two improvements are worth 15 hp at redline and 20 lb-ft of torque in the midrange," So while the tuning on the new car is similar to the '09, there is more power on tap.
Getting the show on the road where it excels, the car emotes an aggressive tone to the outside world at low speeds, but in the cabin it's a dull roar. As you work your way up to cruising speed, the Roush exhaust drifts into the background. Rolling down the interstate, it's the Torch Red color, not the exhaust, that announces this 427R from a distance. This stealth bomber approach means you are quickly exceeding the speed limit without realizing it. When you finally realize where the needle is on the speedo, you regret reeling things back in, as the 427R seems built for speed.
Working with the comfy seats is a suspension that is taut and neutral, but doesn't beat you up. A great combo, and one that's tuned to work with all of the Roush wheel packages. Gone are the days of multiple Roush suspension packages. Now there's just one, and it's a good one. "We used a digressive-dampening tuning approach with the new 2010 Roush Mustang. What this means is that there is aggressive low-speed damping to get good body control and response, and then allowed the wheels to move over higher velocity events such as pot holes and bumps," says Terry Hendricks, Roush chassis manager. "Additionally, we carried over the stiffer Roush Stage 3 antiroll bars from the previous model to provide good roll control and handling balance."