The Ford Mustang GT goes quite well out of the box but most buyers like to add a few bits to make it faster or louder. Here’s one that does both.
Ford’s Mustang has a few fame claims; dubiously it’s the most liked car on Facebook, it’s currently the best selling sports car in the world, and it is often touted as the world’s most modified ride. Guess we can thank all those young and impressionable sorts in Trumpland who can pick up old bangers for chip money and spend a few more bucks on tuning the V8 to go drag racing. But the degree to which the latest generation can be fettled shows there’s still a passion for the old nag. The range of bits you can bolt on to the Mustang seems endless from the numerous outfits stateside, while here many buyers of the new Mustang (and there’s a few of them, Ford having sold 1489 since it launched December 2015) have opted for plenty of extras too, most of which can be added at the time of purchase via the dealer.
We quite like the Mustang – even Louisson had to agree it was alright – but it’s not perfect. The V8 makes good numbers but needs revs, the six-speed auto in the GT isn’t as polished as the ZF-sourced unit in the old Falcon V8 (RIP), and the sound is just too subtle, especially considering how rousingly the Holden SS rumbles from the factory. While there’s nothing much you can do about the auto, at least not until the facelift arrives with the new ten-speeder, there are good options for adding sound and power. We’ve looked at what can be achieved when you go all-out with the Stage 3 tuning option involving $25k and a dirty great blower to really boost power and fatten up the low-end torque. It’s rather wild though.
Fortunately, there are less extreme options. The GT’s 5.0-litre double overhead cam unit can liberate a few more ponies by letting it breathe more freely, and remapping the electronics to make the most of the extra air. This GT has been treated to a ‘Roush R2’ package which sees it gain a cold air induction set-up, a new set of mufflers, and flash tune for the ECU. This will set you back $4400, and it’s said to gain a further 21kW, though it requires a diet of 98 octane.
The most significant gain however is the one sensed by the ears. Prod the starter button and the noise that greets you will instantly satisfy and justify that extra outlay. A standard 5.0 has a subdued burble when you first crank it over in the morning, but it quickly settles into a muted idle. This particular exhaust mod is fairly minor, altered only from the axle back with the factory items removed and two new mufflers bolted straight on. With exhausts it’s a case of the smaller the can the louder the roar and under load these sing nicely, yet there’s no droning on a constant throttle, and there’s more of that signature burbling at idle.
The air intake is a pod design, and it’s sealed off under the hood for the ‘cold air’ effect. There’s no whoosing, sucky air noises involved but it helps get more air into the engine which improves the response to throttle inputs. While the changes aren’t wild, this R2 GT proved to be quicker than stock with a 0-100km/h sprint time of 5.02sec, which we probably could have got into the fours had it not started raining, while the 80 to 120km/h overtaking time clocked in at 2.95sec, both a few tenths faster than factory.
The V8 revs freely but still likes speeds above 3500rpm before it breaks into a gallop and then will bolt past 6500rpm nicely. The auto works better given a hand via the paddles and fettling the electronics to speed-up the shifts would help things along.
This Mustang sits a little lower than usual due to the fitment of Ford Performance Racing track lowering springs. These are $1600 fitted, and if you’ve tried the GT and thought it a little soft in the suspension these will sort that. They add a bit of vigor to the everyday ride quality, call it sporty rather than racey, but they help the GT get set for cornering action quicker by removing its tendency to roll slightly on entry. The steering of the stock GT is good, not overly sharp but it gets the front end tucking in nicely. With the sportier springs, this GT reacts more quickly to steering inputs, getting set earlier and so feels more composed heading into the bend. The springs may transfer more of the bumps but the general compliance remains; it’s not crashy and you’re not in danger of running out of clearance.
So for $6000, this package gives the GT’s performance a tickle up while the sonics get a big boost and the handling improves some too. And as if that’s not enough, the Roush catalogue is full of body work add-ons too. This one has the quarter side panels ($855) and a rear lip spoiler ($1285) but you can add more; a whole new front fascia, heat extractors, hood scoops, wheels, spoilers and side scoops too. If you do want to go the blown route, Roush has two options; Phase 1 takes it to 670bhp, and Phase 2 will make 727bhp.
What about warranty issues you ask? This is always a prickly subject on these specials and so our advice is to talk with the dealer to find out just what is covered and what is not. And get it in writing.