2015 Roush Stage three Mustang first drive: the anti-Hellcat


670-hp RS3 modified Mustang places heavier sizzling rods on discover

What’s it?

The 2015 Roush Stage three Mustang is Ford fanboys’ reply to their Mopar buddies with Challenger Hellcats of their garages. Positive, the uncooked horsepower within the Hellcat is a little more substantial, however when discuss turns to energy-to-weight ratios, to not point out highway course racing, the benefit goes to the Ford workforce.

Roush Performance in Plymouth, Mich., provided up one among its prime-of-the-line Stage three Mustangs for a highway take a look at — not only for sheer efficiency but in addition to point out off its new Lively Exhaust setup, which permits house owners to tune the automobile’s exhaust sound by a smartphone app. Which may seem to be overkill, however I discovered a bunch of the way to make it helpful, together with tuning out drone at my chosen pace of eighty four mph.

However first, the fundamentals: The corporate will flip any inventory Mustang right into a Roush with one in all 4 packages. The RS is essentially the most fundamental, including a handful of physique items to the V6 mannequin. Stage 1 provides a Roush exhaust system (prepped for Energetic Exhaust), physique components and some inside bits to the EcoBoost Mustang. Stage 2 provides 20-inch wheels to the Stage 1 upgrades.

2015 Roush Stage 3 Mustang i1

The Stage three improve provides a 2.three-liter TVS supercharger. Picture by Roush


Roush Stage three injects steroids into the 5.zero Coyote with a 2.three-liter TVS supercharger. That bumps output from 435 hp to 670 hp and torque from four hundred lb-ft to 545. The Roush exhaust, prepped for Lively, is included, together with a one-means coilover suspension system with adjustable peak. Stage three additionally will get excessive-obligation halfshafts to deal with all the additional energy. Like the remainder, the Stage three will get a dozen or so upgraded physique items. Our tester had a pair further choices, together with the tunable exhaust, Roush leather-based seats and a 3-method coilover suspension that works with the Mustang’s completely different drive modes.

Roush says that’s the important thing. All of its elements play properly with Ford’s as a result of the 2 firms are “companions in efficiency.” Roush considers itself a steward to the Ford identify. The corporate isn’t owned by the Blue Oval, but it surely does get entry to the brand new Mustangs as quickly as potential. This enables Roush to have its personal vehicles able to go because the inventory ‘Stangs hit the dealership. These full automobiles, in addition to elements, will be bought from any Roush certified dealer.

The 2015 Roush Stage three Mustangs are at present on the market in non-CARB states; CARB certification is coming quickly, Roush says.

2016 Ford Mustang GT350R

What’s it wish to drive?

The Stage three Mustang seems like a light-weight in comparison with sure 707-hp opponents. It ideas the scales at three,892 kilos — 547 kilos lighter than the Challenger Hellcat and 228 kilos lighter than the Camaro ZL1. Add Ford’s new impartial suspension and Roush’s three-approach adjustable setup, and the Mustang channels Muhammad Ali’s well-known “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” mantra.

Roush’s chassis setups are about one notch stiffer than Ford’s. Consolation is like sport, sport is observe and observe is additional laborious. I saved it in sport for many of my drive, and that was compliant sufficient for our usually crappy roads.

Directional adjustments are fast with none rocking forwards and backwards, and laborious launches are the identical. No huge nostril lifts and a really minimal quantity of dive on braking. Roush’s upgrades additionally work with the launch-management system. As with the inventory Mustang, the steering weight may be adjusted with rocker switches on the sprint. Effort is nice, however street really feel could possibly be a bit of higher — that’s extra on Ford. It’s far more composed than the earlier-gen Mustang over damaged pavement, principally absorbing the street shocks and protecting them from getting into the cabin.

The six-velocity shifter encompasses a shiny Roush ball on high. Shifting motion is sweet, although there’s a bit notchiness within the center. Clutch effort is excellent, and the pedals are shut sufficient for good heel-toe downshifts.

The 5.zero-liter appears positively psychotic with the extra 235 thoroughbreds underneath the hood. Energy comes on sturdy early, overpowering the traction management if the wheel is cranked, and doesn’t actually cease till it will get close to the redline. Gear modifications are greeted with a backfire from the pipes and a little bit little bit of wheelspin whenever you’re arduous into the fuel. If the steering wheel is straight, and your foot is to the ground, it’ll wiggle a bit, sending energy forwards and backwards between the rear wheels. I did crank the wheel and hit the gasoline in second gear at one level, which despatched the tail out greater than forty five levels earlier than the computer systems might get it again in line. So be careful for that; it’ll entice a number of (principally) undesirable consideration.

Roush Active Exhaust

Roush’s Energetic Exhaust will be tuned by means of an app in your iPhone. Use the spreadsheet, choose a pace and throttle place, maintain till pink. The exhaust now opens up at that time.


And also you’ll already be swimming in it — consideration, that’s — in the event you select the Lively Exhaust. The usual setup has a dial for consolation, sport and monitor. These are three customized tunes for what most folks like of their tailpipe sound. However if you wish to get a bit extra inventive, the Lively Exhaust is correct up your alley. The system could be tuned by way of a smartphone app that’s wirelessly related to the automotive by way of a small dongle on the OBDII port. As soon as linked, house owners can set the exhaust loudness at any pace or throttle place. It does this with two flaps within the pipes, which might open or shut relying on want. You possibly can tune it simply to rumble at idle, or at full throttle. You may have it quiet as much as expressway pace, after which open it up at 70 mph. We tuned it to be loud as much as 70 mph after which quiet after that. The probabilities are infinite. In contrast to the candy-sounding Jaguar F-Type, the Roush, when in quiet mode, stays quiet.

Proper now the system solely works with Apple’s iPhone, however Android help is coming. Roush execs had been additionally speaking a few geofencing perform that may come sooner or later. That will sense while you’re getting close to your own home and quiet the automobile down routinely — good for offended neighbors.

Cruising down the expressway in monitor exhaust mode, the automobile sounds so much like a Harley-Davidson at full bore. Passing automobiles will discover, cops on the overpass will discover, everybody will discover. It largely drowns out the pleasurable whine of the supercharger till you get excessive into the rev vary and let off the throttle.

The Lively Exhaust system will be bought a la carte for $1,875 and will be retrofitted to any Mustang with a Roush exhaust. It’s truly a very simple house set up with only some components. The management unit sits within the trunk and doesn’t take up a lot area.

The inside is usually Ford stuff with just a few badges and plaques thrown in for good measure. Roush reskins the seats with its personal leather-based — a pleasant contact, however most likely a $1,795 choice we’d skip. It does work properly with Ford’s cooling seats, that are practically instantaneous of their operation. Visibility is a bit of worse than the inventory Mustang because of the quarter home windows which might be coated by ornamental scoops.

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Do I would like it?

If you happen to’re a Ford man and desire a Mustang that’ll put the competitors on discover, then completely sure. The Stage three package deal tacks $21,995 onto the worth of a Mustang GT Premium, which is about $38K. That implies that for about $60,000, earlier than choices, you will have a road- and monitor-prepared Mustang that can blow the doorways off nearly something on the road. The one downside? It appears to be like too quick.

A number of individuals stopped me on the road and requested me in regards to the automotive and whether or not or not it was manufacturing unit constructed. The hood scoop, the hockey sticks on the facet and people customized wheels will definitely alert anybody trying that that is one thing particular. And in the event that they don’t see it, they’ll positively hear it coming, particularly when the exhaust is turned as much as eleven.

Now, if you will get these Hellcats to satisfy you at a racetrack …


Three-approach coilover suspension with adjustable top ($1,899); Energetic Exhaust ($1,875); Roush leather-based seats ($1,750); trunk-mounted toolkit ($440); physique facet scoops ($370); quarter window scoops ($370); hood warmth extractors ($325); engine coil covers ($285); billet efficiency pedals ($245); Roush door sill plates ($225); shift ball with white accent ($ninety five); locking lug nuts ($60)



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