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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Beyond the Mustang: Roush, Saleen and Hennessey tune Ford's new pony


2015 Roush Mustang
                         2015 Roush Mustang
With the hot 2015 Ford Mustang finally set to gallop into the market, everyone is trying to get their paws on one, especially those who make a business out of making fast, good-looking sports cars even faster and better looking. Of all the Mustang tuners out there, three names can be considered the preeminent players: Saleen, Roush, and Hennessey.

Perhaps not coincidentally, all three companies have made news this week, (just a month before meeting on the floor of the zany SEMA show in Las Vegas) each showing off their newest Mustang-based creations.

Each of these super-‘Stangs attempt to improve upon perfection in their own specific styling elements, and two of them elect to add heaps of horsepower as well. And who are we to argue with that, especially since all three outfits warrant their modifications for three years or 36,000 miles?

So in case you missed any of their announcements, we have compiled all relevant information and images together in one story. But a warning: once you’ve learned about them all, you may not be able to leave your next Mustang stock.

2015 ROUSH RS Mustang

The tamest of this trio of tuner Mustangs are the 2015 Roush RS Mustangs. The RS (for “Roush Sport”) modifications are mostly cosmetic and can be applied to the base, 300-hp V-6 Mustang (RS), the new 310-hp turbocharged four-cylinder model (RS Stage 1), and the hairy-chested, 435-hp GT (RS Stage 2).

 Engine output figures do not change by a single pony—which is not to say that Roush doesn’t have a more powerful Mustang in the works (wink, wink). Watch this space for news of such a thing if and when that car shows up.

In the meantime, feast your eyes on these ones: all three RS models get new front and rear fascias, high-flow grilles, driving lamps, side sill extensions, a rear spoiler, embroidered floor mats and an array of “Roush” or “RS” branding on the fenders, grille, tailgate (now blacked out), windshield, dashboard and engine bay, the latter two in the form of plaques.

 The RS Stage 1 Mustangs also receive a performance exhaust system with quad pipes (one for each cylinder!) and Stage 2 cars get all of the above plus a set of gorgeous five-spoke 20-inch “Quicksilver” wheels and Cooper RS3 performance tires.

 Those wheels can also be ordered on the RS and RS Stage 1 cars, and all models can add a body-color hood scoop, blackout window scoops, billet aluminum pedals, a Roush ball shifter, Roush gauges and Roush plates in the door sills.

 Finally, Stage 1 and Stage 2 models can also be upgraded with a reverse sensing system integrated into the bumper, an adjustable coil-over suspension, as well as an “Activ8” active exhaust system.
Otherwise, there’s not much to the Roush Mustangs.

 This helps keep the pricing of the modifications in the attainable range, with RS upgrades starting at $4,495, the RS2 modifications adding $5,895 to the tally, and RS2 models setting you back $8,495, on top of the price of the Mustang coupe or convertible, of course.

They are available through an extensive network of Ford dealers nationwide, or, for more information, check out Roush’s website by clicking here.

2015 Saleen 302
2015 Saleen S302 Mustang

Perhaps no name is more synonmous with superlative Mustangs than Saleen. And the iconic muscle car builder is on the cusp of introducing its latest and greatest Mustang, the S302. So new is it that it still hasn’t been shown in photos (we only have two renderings at this point), but you can bet that will change during the run-up to SEMA.

What we do know, however, are the S302’s vital stats. The base S302 “White label” is powered by the Mustang GT’s naturally aspirated 302-cubic-inch V-8, massaged to produce 450 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque, up from 435 hp and 400 lb-ft.

 The S302 will also be offered in “Yellow Label” and “Black Label” guise, both of which add a supercharger that raises output to 640 hp and 565 lb-ft of torque. Two transmissions will be offered: a six-speed manual paried to a choice of 3.31:1, 3.55, or 3.73 rear ends or a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters and either 3.15:1 or 3.55 final drives.

 Standard on all models will be a limited-slip differential. Regardless of color label, every engine will be given a Saleen serial number and of course, a commemorative plaque.

Saleen is dropping all S302s down on its “Series S4” high-performance suspension that includes specific front and rear springs, and as with the Roush, a fully adjustable coil-over suspension is optional.

 Also optional are slotted and cross-drilled brake rotors measuring 15.0 in up front (up from 13.9 and 13.0 on the Mustang GT) clamped by six-and four-piston calipers, respectively. Interestingly, 20-inch wheels are standard, while 19-in Minilite-inspired wheels are optional, all measuring 10-inches wide in back, and 9.0 inches wide in front.

And of course, the S302 looks the part of a Saleen Mustang. The profile rendering shows the Black Label wearing Saleen’s trademark hashmark graphics on the front fender, as well as huge five-spoke wheels, deep side skirts with rear brake cooling intakes, and a tray-like spoiler.

 The Black Label model also gets its own front and rear fascias and a hood that features a “red butterfly” air intake. Inside, the S302 gets embroidered headrests (White and Yellow Label models) or leather and alcantara performance seats (Black Label), white-faced gauges, boost and vacuum gauges (Yellow and Black Label models), embroidered floor mats, Saleen door sill plates, steering wheel badging, and a serialized dash plaque.

 And if you order the Black Label model, Steve Saleen will personally sign the dashboard.

The S302 will be offered in both coupe and convertible varieties, at prices that are to be announced a later date. Regardless of how much it costs, however, we’d save a few bucks to order the optional integrated Escort radar detector. You may need it. More info at

2015 Ford Mustang GT Hennessey
2015 Ford Mustang GT Hennessey HPE700

So we admit we saved the most powerful for last. Also shown only in renderings at this point, the HPE700 Mustang GT by Hennessey Performance of Sealy, Texas, is a menacing monste that uses a Roots-style supercharger, an upgraded throttle body, new fuel injectors, a new fuel pump, and revised exhaust system to wring 717 hp and 632 lb-ft of torque out of the Mustang’s 302-ci Coyote V-8.

 Thus endowed, Hennessey claims that the HPE700 Mustang can hit 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and blast past the quarter mile mark in 11.2 seconds at 131 mph.

The stock HPE700’s exterior gets dressed up with a slew of HPE badges and can be upgraded with a suite of carbon fiber extras, including a ground-scraping front splitter, ducktail spoiler, and sculpted side sills.

 Also available are a set of sexy 20-inch 10-spoke Hennessey H10 wheels mounted by with Michelin Pilot Super Sport 2 tires, as well as a brake package by Brembo.

 Company founder and president John Hennessey told us that two suspension upgrades are currently in the works—one for street cars, and one track-oriented, both including adjustable coil-over shocks and springs—and “may include a trip to the Ring at some point.” Hey, if you need any help, John, call us.

Prices for the HPE700 start at $59,500 for the HPE700, which includes the base Mustang GT, plus any of the aforementioned upgrades one may elect to add. This car won’t debut at SEMA, but could as soon as the Barrett Jackson auction weekend in Arizona in January.

 Deliveries should start during the second quarter of 2015, with production capped at 500 vehicles total, both in coupe and convertible body styles. For more info, check out the HPE700’s webpage on Hennessey’s website by clicking here.