We previewed the Roush Performance lineup of 2015 Mustangs last fall, specifically focusing on the RS3 during our SEMA show coverage. Back then we struck up a deal with Roush to convert our own 2015 Mustang project car to Roush RS status. In January, we brought home Project 5-Liter Eater, our 2015 Mustang EcoBoost. We had spec’d the car with Roush, however, at the time of our delivery it was the dead of winter, and our schedules weren’t lining up with Roush’s for the conversion to take place prior to its delivery. This is a rare circumstance, and our request was a special case because we wanted to not only shoot photos of the car’s transformation for this story, but we also needed to do testing on our stock Mustang EcoBoost. With the arrival of spring, we were able to get our car to Roush for upfitting.
We offer packages for nearly every level of enthusiast, from the RS in the V6 Mustang to the upcoming 670 horsepower RS3, there’s something here at nearly every level of performance. – Jay Velthoven, Roush performance
By the time you read this, Roush will have finished upgrading their Plymouth, Michigan vehicle assembly facility to four operational assembly lines.Velthoven tells us, “We’ll be able to produce 300-400 vehicles per month to keep up with the demand the 2015 RS lineup has created.”
Each vehicle enters the build line after being thoroughly washed by the clean up crew. From there, the car passes through at least five more stations before going to final quality checks. Each station is manned by a technician, and much like a vehicle assembly line. Each technician has a specific job or jobs to do. Each tech also has all the tools, parts, and supplies to complete his assigned tasks.
Each technician is a pro, and make no mistake about it, they’re car guys, not just an assembly line crew. Each team member can jump in and help out or even take over for one of his coworkers. No task is simple, but Roush has taken steps to ensure that each step along the way is consistent. Templates, guides, quality parts, and a well trained staff ensure that fit, finish, and the final product is
consistent for every car that comes through the line. Prior to departure from the facility, every car is inspected and checked for quality. The entire process gives every Roush Mustang an OEM level of fit and finish, and is a product that stands out as unique, while looking like it came off not only the Roush assembly line, but the Ford line this way.
We take what Ford gives us and look at ways to improve it with our signature upgrades like the hood and side scoops, as well as improving the car’s aerodynamics.
Roush takes the lines of the 2015 Mustang, and in our opinion, sharpens them. It’s as though some of the the rounded edges have been filed clean, and given a new look that is knife sharp. While the styling dramatically changes (and we think improves) the appearance of the Mustang, it doesn’t alter the car in a way that it’s unrecognizable. “We take what Ford gives us and look at ways to improve it with our signature upgrades like the hood and side scoops, as well as improving the car’s aerodynamics” says Velthoven. The final product is decidedly Roush’s signature of building upon the foundation that Ford rolled off the assembly line.
The upgrades are also designed to be functional. There’s more here than just good looks in the styling department. Roush engineers worked to make these components functional, improving many aspects of the Mustang’s body. Ford’s Aerodynamicist was actually brought in to analyze the changes that Roush was making to the car. “The aerodynamicist concluded that the changes didn’t negatively impact the car in any way, and the spoiler does actually add some downforce without a significant increase in drag” says Velthoven. The front grille is another example of this. Airflow to the radiator, (and the heat exchanger on RS3 applications) is dramatically improved by utilizing a larger opening in the lower portion of the fascia.This also increases airflow to the EcoBoost intercooler in our case, and according to Velthoven, the lower portion of the radiator is the hottest, so this should improve vehicle cooling.
It’s easy to get carried away when restyling a car. “We don’t want it to look over the top or poorly done,” says Velthoven. The parts look like they could have been planned in the original design by Ford. The fit is excellent. The finish on the painted parts also matches the OEM color.
Roush has its own manufacturing facility for its parts. We took a tour of the facility, and were able to check out these parts being built. Everything from the fascias, to the smallest parts of the body kit are built here, some parts requiring as much as 3,000 tons of pressure to mold. Building their own parts like this, allows Roush to maintain strict quality control, and consistency with their manufacturing. It also allows them to develop parts more rapidly, and to handle any manufacturing concerns prior to them causing a production problem.
V8 powered Mustangs can get an upgrade to 20×9.5-inch wheels with Cooper Xenon tires, 255/35 front and 275/35 rear.
We also got our hands on one of the first sets of Roush gauges. The build crew replaced our stock gauge faces with Roush logo and font faces. Other options we added were the Roush hood scoop, side scoops, and window scoops.
We opted for Roush’s new stainless steel axle-back exhaust system that is prepped to accept its
upcoming active exhaust. This is a set of dual tip mufflers, giving the rear of the car an even more aggressive flavor. “The mufflers come with a block off plate installed on the open passage, which keeps them quiet to meet federal sound levels for new vehicle drive by. The plates are easily removed by owners, giving the exhaust a sound that is closer to Roush’s race mufflers,” says Velthoven. The plates are also easily reinstalled, and when Roush releases their new active exhaust system with the RS3, we’ll be able to upgrade and go from quiet to rowdy with the flip of a switch, or by using a profile in the Roush app paired to an iOS phone.
There are more options available than just those we selected, and some options even vary depending on which stage the car is.
Since we didn’t alter the suspension at this time, the driving experience isn’t that different from our standard EcoBoost. Cruising down the road, even with the exhaust plates removed, the interior of the car isn’t noisy, and the exhaust doesn’t drone. “We spent a substantial amount of time developing a muffler that would give enthusiasts the sound they were looking for, without any of the unwanted in-cabin noise that can cause stress and fatigue while driving.” Stand on the throttle and you can definitely tell this car has an exhaust note. With our EcoBoost, the turbo spool noise sounds great through these mufflers, and you can definitely tell there’s reduced back pressure and some better turbo response.
We had some concerns about how visibility would be impacted by the new hoodscoop, and the total loss of the quarter windows. However, we never used the quarter windows while driving, as it required too much twisting, and there wasn’t much visible there anyway. Visibility intrusion by the hoodscoop is minimal to nonexistent, its integration to the hood is just the right height, and doesn’t make a difference at all driving down the road.
Although we’ve lost some sidewall in the tires with our wheel and tire upgrade, the Hankook tires ride very well. They also provide plenty of grip and bite at all four corners. Road noise from these tires may actually be less than the OEM Pirelli PZeros on our Performance Pack equipped car.
Everywhere we’ve taken the car so far it turns heads. We get thumbs up in traffic, and plenty of questions wherever the car is stopped. Quite simply, this car looks like nothing else on the road, and like no other Mustang. Roush has done a phenomenal job with this package, and we can’t wait to get it out on the autocross and track to see how it looks in motion through the camera lens