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Review: The 775-HP Roush Mustang is More Powerful Than a Shelby GT500, But Is It Better?

When we last drove a Roush Mustang 10 years ago, Roush Performance extracted 435 horsepower from the Mustang GT’s stock 315-hp 4.6-liter V-8. Today, the company offers a new limited-edition Jack Roush Edition (JRE) package that, among other upgrades, supercharges the Mustang’s third-generation Coyote DOHC 5.0-liter V-8 to the tune of 775 horsepower and 670 lb-ft of torque. If you’re keeping track, the just-released 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500’s supercharged 5.2L V-8 is rated at “only” 760-hp/625 lb-ft.

Read our 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 review here.

Signature Package

In addition to the original cost of a 2020 Mustang GT (6M) with the optional MagneRide suspension that requires the GT Performance package ($44,415-$48,615), the $50,995 Jack Roush Edition includes suspension tuning, Shelby GT350 brakes, upgraded wheels, tires, Roush exhaust, aerodynamics, interior, under hood, and exterior appearances, and enhancements to the powertrain cooling system and heat extraction with the “R9” body kit with functional vents in the body and hood. That’s a long list, and for an additional $11,995 customers can further add the Competition package that consists of even lighter, forged aluminum wheels and specially made “racing slick” tires. The car you see here, the car we drove, had both packages. Including Rapid Red metallic clear coat, the total cost was $112,000 even. You can also order one with the 10-speed automatic.

Nice Fit

As it was headed to Las Vegas to be displayed at Roush’s booth at the SEMA show, our drive was limited to a brief lead-follow lapping session behind a mere 710-hp Roush JackHammer Mustang. I grabbed the customized suede-wrapped steering wheel and slipped into the bespoke leather/suede seats. They were a snug and confident fit, but my eyes went to the cue ball-white shift knob. Nice. Yes, it’s the same manual transmission from a stock Mustang GT, however, Roush got into the electronic brain of the car, and enabled automated matched-rev downshifts. They’ve also re-mapped the MagneRide dampers to make “Comfort more comfortable and Sport/Track sportier.” For our purposes, we were relegated to Sport mode with all electronic nannies at the ready lest one of the assembled journalists ran out of track and/or talent in their one and only Vegas-bound show car. We were also instructed to avoid curbing and, of course, dropping a wheel in the dirt. And because I’m not a fan of syrupy, heavy steering, I manually toggled it to Comfort.

Hitting the Track

As the slicks were coming up to temperature, the first thing I noticed was how loud the Jack Roush Edition Mustang was at part throttle and how quiet the active exhaust system with an H-pipe crossover became at wide-open throttle. Apparently, the car must pass some strict drive-by noise regulations. That’s really too bad, especially since the GT500 I drove the next morning was acoustically its opposite: quiet under part throttle, and unapologetically, gloriously, feloniously loud at wide-open throttle. Perhaps purposely, the supercharger’s characteristic whine was more evident from outside the car than it was from within. If you want whiniest supercharger on the block, the SRT Hellcats are still the loudest.

Grip and Grimace

Once that out lap was completed, the lead driver really let ‘er rip. The familiar firm brake pedal gripping the GT350 brakes was reassuring, and the JRE’s optional slick tires provided so much grip that the seat’s deep bolsters were critical to keep me in place. However, at the exit of the first corner and essentially for the remaining two hot laps, the traction control was in such a hyper-vigilant state that I could scarcely roll on to the throttle without power being cut. Seven-hundred seventy-five horsepower? I never felt it. Despite having a 65 horsepower advantage over the car I was chasing, he easily walked a away from me; occasionally backing off to allow me to almost catch up, then walking away. For the remainder of the session, try as I might to chuck the car around, it remained flat and I didn’t detect a bit of stability control intervention. Was I near the car’s handling limit? I have no idea because I never exceeded the tires’ limits. Does it “push,” is it neutral, does it allow friendly rotation into or out of a corner? I wish I could tell you. Given the driving constraints and the track tires, there’s no way to report it. Is this supercharged Mustang from a long-time and well-respected company better than a $73,995 Shelby GT500 ($92,495 with the Carbon Fiber Track package)? Certainly not. That car is in a completely different league, to be perfectly honest.

Get ‘em While You Can

Due to their limited run, 2020 Jack Roush Edition Mustangs will certainly be rarer than GT500s. There will be only 60 here and 10 headed to international customers. They will be scarce, so find your nearest Roush-connected dealer and get your order in.

The post Review: The 775-HP Roush Mustang is More Powerful Than a Shelby GT500, But Is It Better? appeared first on MotorTrend.

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