Vital Stats

Engine:
SC 5.0L V8
Power:
575 HP / 505 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Manual
0-60 Time:
4.0 Seconds (est.)
Drivetrain:
Rear-Wheel Drive
Seating:
2
Base Price:
$55,040
As Tested Price:
$67,000 (est.)
Up until now, it's been some years since I managed to get behind the wheel of the hot Mustangs tuned by the folks at Roush Performance. My memories of those vehicles are fond, as the Roush up-fits usually make for better-driving examples of the iconic Ford pony, with better-tuned suspensions, excellent short-shift kits and, of course, huge additions of power. The wake-your-neighbors aural characteristics of these cars have been nothing short of outstanding, too.

But in the years since my last experience with the Roush formula, Ford's own development team has churned out some pretty potent 'Stangs. We currently live in a world where the Blue Oval will sell you a Mustang with 662 horsepower from the factory, and the recently departed Boss 302 remains one of the best Mustangs – and best sports coupes – the Autoblog crew has ever driven.

So with great-driving and hugely powerful Mustangs coming straight off the line at Ford's Flat Rock Assembly Plant, does the Roush package still offer that extra special something to make it stand out? I spent a week with a Stage 3 coupe to find out.

Driving Notes
  • Within the Stage 3 model range, there are three different "phases" of engine tune that can be had. Our test car, in Phase 1 spec, adds a supercharger to the Mustang GT's 5.0-liter V8, the end result being 575 horsepower and 505 pound-feet of torque. Plenty powerful, for sure, but if that's not enough to get your motor running (pun totally intended), the Phase 2 kit will net you 625 horsepower and the Phase 3 option packs 675 horsepower. Take that, GT500.
  • One of the most notable characteristics of any Roush package is the exhaust treatment, and as you'd expect, it's loud. Sorry – loud. Like, tough-to-hold-a-conversation-with-your-copilot loud. There's a huge roar on startup, and the harder you mash the throttle in every gear, the more robust the noise. We love a tough-sounding Mustang, and in terms of getting noticed and letting folks know that this isn't your ordinary factory Ford, the Roush treatment is a hilarious thrill. The sound does have a tendency to drone at highway speeds, but it's a sweet note. Besides, the Mustang's stock Shaker stereo is pretty horrible at higher volumes, anyway.
  • The big disappointment with the Roush package is the interior, where it feels like a few steps were missed in the customization process. The optional leather Roush-specific seats are nice and decently comfortable, but seriously lack lateral bolstering. Considering you can now get Recaro chairs on every engine configuration of the stock Mustang, these are a must-have for the more hardcore Roush tune. Our car featured the optional rear seat delete, replaced by a functional cross-brace, but that aside, it's base Mustang GT spec in here. No upgraded stereo and no fussy MyFord Touch, though both can be had for an additional cost. We just miss any big feeling of exclusivity from the cabin.
  • Outside, it's a different story. The Roush looks fantastic. We dig the visual enhancements like the hood scoop and vents, as well as the revised lower front fascia with pronounced foglamp housings. The added trim along the rocker panels is a nice touch, and while the side window louvers wreck visibility, they look nifty. The upgraded 20-inch wheels look good, too, wrapped in sticky Cooper RS3 275/35R20 tires.
  • With 575 hp and 505 lb-ft of twist on hand, there's no denying that this Stage 3 Mustang is quick. Roush estimates that hitting 60 miles per hour will take just four seconds, and from behind the wheel, it feels every bit of that. However, even with supercharged thrust, power delivery is very linear, and the Roush is pretty easy to drive at slower speeds around town.
  • Roush has given the Stage 3 a full suite of suspension tuning, and the end result is something that's far better able to put down all that power than, say, a GT500. But here, too, the car feels many steps away from being an all-out monster. The steering is still sort of vague, and the action of the six-speed manual shifter is rough when trying to quickly row between the gears. The cue ball shifter is cool, yes, but having a proper short-shift kit here would help things tremendously.
  • Larger StopTech brakes with red-painted calipers provide plenty of stopping power, and again, the upgraded suspension is welcome with the added thrust from the 5.0-liter V8, but in a sort of old-school fast-Mustang way – the on-road action still has all the precision of trying to cut tissue paper with a chainsaw. It's vicious and fun, but it's not even close to matching what the Boss can throw down.
  • And really, that's how the Stage 3 Mustang left me feeling after my week behind the wheel: not as good as the Boss 302. The latter remains one of Ford's best performance creations, and it will indeed be missed. But that's not all bad for the Roush. Fact is, it's better to drive than a GT500, even with a reduction of nearly 100 horsepower. (When do you actually need 662 hp, let alone 575, anyway?)
  • As-tested, however, the Stage 3 sits just above the $65,000 mark, which is over $10,000 more than the aforementioned GT500. (That's $17,000 for the Roush package, over $10,000 in optional extras, and the $38,000 Mustang GT Premium donor car.) If you aren't just power-hungry, the added cost can be justified by the added exclusivity of the Roush treatment, with a more ferocious exhaust note and unique styling, and the better suspension geometry that results in a more composed on-road demeanor, as well. Of course, there's the added value of Roush being a full-on OEM, not just an aftermarket tuner bolting accessories onto Mustangs – everything found on this car was specifically designed for it. Really, the Stage 3 kit is just as awesome as it ever was. But these days, it's just tough to beat what's coming out of Ford's own factory.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 62 Comments
      nicola ciaccio
      • 1 Year Ago
      as an Italain, I can say that I love exotic American cars such as muscle cars...... ....but i don't like mustang. because you see, muscle cars are supposed to be HUGE body on frame 2 door cars with v8 engines........something like 2 door version of my lincoln town car(which i imported to italy). I know the next mustang is coming out soon.........they need to make it BIG....at least 1800 kilos(i think 4000 pounds).......they also need to make it body on frame construction.......they should make the engines bigger to........ 7 or 8 liter v8.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @nicola ciaccio
        [blocked]
        EXP Jawa
        • 1 Year Ago
        @nicola ciaccio
        Well, it's like this - the Mustang isn't a muscle car. It never was. It is a "Pony" car, that is an Americanized version of a sports car. They were compact chassis in their roots with enough optionability to make them fun for everyone. But even if it was a muscle car, the muscle car formula basically is midsize body + full size engine. That's how the segment was born, that's how it developed. Your Lincoln isn't a midsized, it also was never, ever a muscle car. So, no, nothing you said is correct.
          nicola ciaccio
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EXP Jawa
          to EXP Jawa............I'm confused........if a "pony car" is an American sports car, shouldn't the Corvette or Viper be a pony car? also, have you seen how big the old American cars were? the midsize cars were as big as the fullsize cars today......why couldn't they go back to the original size? my father had a midsize american car in the 1970s which was bigger than any american car out there, a 1974 Buick Apollo my lincoln wasn't the first American car I imported here.........my first car was a used 1972 Fiat 850, but a few years later i imported my first american car............1984 Buick Lesabre, and since then i have only had American cars........1994 Cadillac Fleetwood.......2001 Ford Excursion.........and finally my current lincoln. I know much more about American cars than most americans do.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EXP Jawa
          [blocked]
          clquake
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EXP Jawa
          From your list, you clearly don't know anything about cars, at all, not even a little bit. But you do know big, marshmallowy, old, fake luxury, built for retirees, junk.
          nicola ciaccio
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EXP Jawa
          to Aaron N............my Lincoln which is based off the crown victoria is not an old man's car..................i'm not old at all, only 55. i admire the crown victoria and the mercury marauder a lot...........americans should make more cars just like it.
        dearest rat
        • 1 Year Ago
        @nicola ciaccio
        I can't tell if you're serious or not...you essentially want Ford to turn the Mustang into a 1967 Galaxie?
        Chris
        • 1 Year Ago
        @nicola ciaccio
        It's not going to happen. The Mustang has never been that big of a car. Even when people were complaining in the late 60s and early 70s that the Mustang had gotten too big, it still wasn't as big as any of the muscle cars of the day. It would look like a little Tonka toy when parked next to something along the lines of a 66' GTO or 68' Charger. That's the reason the Mustang has always been referred to as a pony car.
          nicola ciaccio
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Chris
          who says it can't be any bigger, lol.............that's what's so great about american cars.
        Mathew
        • 1 Year Ago
        @nicola ciaccio
        LOL
        Mike
        • 1 Year Ago
        @nicola ciaccio
        no
        • 1 Year Ago
        @nicola ciaccio
        [blocked]
        nicola ciaccio
        • 1 Year Ago
        @nicola ciaccio
        spelling mistake........I meant to say italian instead of italain.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @nicola ciaccio
          [blocked]
          • 1 Year Ago
          @nicola ciaccio
          [blocked]
        Scooter
        • 1 Year Ago
        @nicola ciaccio
        It should only be power to weight, something under 12 pounds or less per hp. Has nothing to do with retro big bodies.
      Hector Iglesias
      • 1 Year Ago
      All that dough for engine and suspension mods and it still has the wheel gap of a monster truck... Roush: 404 Value Not Found
        Ben Mathis
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hector Iglesias
        If it bothers you that much, and you can afford to buy the car, then I really bet you can get it lowered for less than $500 parts and labor. Besides, what the others here said, check the other pictures out, because that is a bad angle and lighting.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hector Iglesias
        [blocked]
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hector Iglesias
        [blocked]
        ryanandrewmartin
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hector Iglesias
        It's not shadowing. Look at the pictures of the Lime Rock Park edition M3 then back at these pictures. Its riding rather high.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @ryanandrewmartin
          [blocked]
          Chris
          • 1 Year Ago
          @ryanandrewmartin
          "Helps to look at more than just the main picture. Look at the pictures. Compare. Learn. Cease to post incoherent BS.' That's what we've been trying to tell you trolls all along.
          ryanandrewmartin
          • 1 Year Ago
          @ryanandrewmartin
          http://o.aolcdn.com/dims-global/dims3/GLOB/resize/620x412/quality/85/http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2013/07/04-2013-bmw-m3-lre-review.jpg vs http://o.aolcdn.com/dims-global/dims3/GLOB/resize/620x412/quality/85/http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2013/07/04-2014-roush-rs3-qs.jpg So yeah. I guess that sh.it Bimmer probably handles like complete garbage.
          Chris
          • 1 Year Ago
          @ryanandrewmartin
          Aaron N. Trolls rarely are capable of an original thought.
          ryanandrewmartin
          • 1 Year Ago
          @ryanandrewmartin
          I mean, the angles are dead-on in the two photos I pasted urls for. I guess you're just ignoring them. It's fine. They illustrate mine and Hector Iglesias' point quite well. No amount of calling us trolls makes us wrong and you right. You really like the Mustang. Great! I do too but, regardless or whether or not handling is affected, the rear fender gaps are substantial.
      Scooter
      • 1 Year Ago
      Another 'Stang iteration?... I'm still waiting for "Barbies Dream 'Stang".
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scooter
        [blocked]
      Beancounter
      • 1 Year Ago
      Disclaimer: I don't like American cars with the exception of the model s. In the mustang world anything other than the 302 is a way for people to compensate for something that they feel indequate about; psychological or physical. Look at me and my giant motor that wastes all of its power roasting the rear tires and forcing me to drive very slowly around a gental bend in the road. Why do cars like this even exist? Go ahead and light my fire.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Beancounter
        [blocked]
          Beancounter
          • 1 Year Ago
          Here is one of the morons who subscribes to the marketing BS that sells these horse carriage. I love how specific you are in your argument regarding the "Germans". And Ferrari and Pagani, right, these cars are exactly what Ford had in mind as the competition for the mustang. Why don't you go and do some burnouts and yell "yeee hawww" as loud as possible.
        Brandon Lee Crow
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Beancounter
        listen here beancounter have you ever drove this car if not just shut up you dont know anything about this car. if u feel its garbage tell that to jack roush he will make u look like a fool what do you own let me guess a rice burner?
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        • 1 Year Ago
        [blocked]
        • 1 Year Ago
        [blocked]
      wickedsc300
      • 1 Year Ago
      Something I find funny is this car has a non function hood scoop and louvers to cover up the quarter windows and graphics on the side, yet if this was done to an import everyone and their mother would call it a ricer. Also the Zl1 would probably stomp this thing for less money, with a nicer more equipped interior.
      Mike
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sorry Autoblog but fake hood scopes and window side covers don't look fantastic. If they wanted to do the side windows right there is a setup that actually replaces the window and is flush mount to the body and see through. http://www.silverhorseracing.com/SHR-Flush-Mount-Quarter-Vent-Louver-2010-pair-PAINTED.html
      k_m94
      • 1 Year Ago
      Seems every Mustang variant and aftermarket tuner car nowadays is "great, but not as good as a Boss 302". Clearly seems to be the pinnacle of modern day Mustangs, even if it's down on power compared to those with a supercharger. Of course, a Camaro 1LE is faster for $7k less, but it's less special, less of a comprehensive package, and that vinyl black hood looks better on a mid-90s Honda ricer. I really hope Ford brings the Boss or something very similar in nature and execution back in the new model, and hopefully well south of the $50k mark.
      Termin8
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hate to say it but these tuners are a waste of money IMO. Before Ford (and Chevy for that matter) upped the ante in their muscle cars, the tuners were still an iffy proposition. Now, it's ridiculous to even consider them.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Termin8
        [blocked]
          Termin8
          • 1 Year Ago
          But it's also $20K more than the Boss 302 which this automotive journalist has just stated was a better car. If you want to spend more money for less car just to get a badge....
          ngiotta
          • 1 Year Ago
          This is *not* going to keep up with a GT500 in the straights. I say that because as a GT500 owner myself, I can tell you that almost no one keeps these things stock. Almost every owner has at least spent the few hundred bucks required to make an extra 100hp+. It really doesn't require much.. There's no doubt this is a great performer, but in the Mustang world it will never seen as anything other than a tuner car because it didn't come directly from Ford. Same goes for Saleen... Justified or not, that's just the way it's always been. As such, they don't hold their value anywhere close to what a Shelby does.
          ngiotta
          • 1 Year Ago
          Not sure what "other" cars you're referring to. Like the SVT Cobras, Ford makes the Shelby GT500 directly on their "niche" line-- says so right on the car. The engines are hand-built by Ford as well. The only part Shelby plays in the cars construction is a licensing deal to put his name and various snake trademarks all over the car. The GT350, Saleen, Roush and Steeda Mustangs are all tuner that started as stock GT's that they bolt aftermarket parts and stickers on. When shopping for a Mustang last time around, I looked at used and new and found the tuner variants to have lost a ton of resale value (can't speak for the GT350 as I didn't see any of those for sale used). The GT500's lost little to no value.
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      Very nice.
      Skean
      • 1 Year Ago
      I built out my 2014 Aluminator stage 3/phase 3, with Kooks long tube headers, 4" aluminum driveshaft, Kenny Brown K member/A arms/rear shock cross brace, and the Ford track pack. That'll put a grin on my face for years to come.
      Jon Harbour
      • 1 Year Ago
      Roush does not exist as a brand according to KBB. So as soon as you drive the car of the lot, it instantly becomes an overpriced GT worth exactly $38,000, nevermind what Roush has done with it. Good luck selling it for even half the MSRP a year later. The only way to recoup is to trade it in back to the same dealership that knows the brand and be given a slight bump over resale but that's it, 60% MSRP if you're lucky. Meanwhile, the Boss 302 and Shelby GT500 sit at right around 80% or more. That is why I would stick with a car that is recognized as a real brand, not just a badge job. And, this pains me because I'm a fan and own one.
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