540 HP = No Waiting!
I road test a number of vehicles, and some are simply more inspiring than others. There are hybrids, econocars, family sedans, European luxury boats, and then there are cars like the 2012 Roush Stage 3 Mustang convertible.
Ford’s Mustang is a nice ride, but when Jack Roush of Roush-Fenway Racing fame and one of the world’s leading automotive authorities tweaks it, you get something positively evil, wicked, mean and nasty. The front engine/rear wheel drive configuration uses Ford’s 5.0L 4-valve DOHC TiVCT 412 HP Coyote engine. To that, Roush adds its R2300 supercharger with 10 PSI of boost to yield 540 horses. Roush also includes a 3-year/36,000 mile powertrain warranty for those prone to excessive applications of the go pedal.
A 6-speed manual transmission places 510 ft./lbs. of torque where its needed, allowing for smoky burnouts at will or the initiation of awe inspiring in-traffic maneuvers with a few short throws of the shifter. The sound of the RS3 is a dead giveaway, as the ROUSH exhaust with its hollow-chamber muffler design growls at idle and low speeds.
The suspension system, which consists of ROUSH front struts, rear shocks, front and rear springs, stabilizer bars, jounce bumpers, and an anti-wheel hop kit, lowers the RS3 and gets the power to the ground. Its 4-piston, 14-inch brake rotor system can be had with red or black brake calipers, and its 20-inch Hyper-Black wheels were shod with Cooper UHP RS3 tires on this example.
Among the exterior upgrades are the ROUSH front fascia with driving lights, chin spoiler, side rocker splitters, rear valence, rear deck-lid spoiler, and square exhaust tips that get the valet parking attendants at even the toniest of L.A. eateries to park the RS3 right up front. Interior enhancements include leather seats with an embroidered RS3 logo, illuminated sill plates, a black or white shifter ball, and an engraved Stage 3 badge with the car’s serial number. You wouldn’t think of putting two teenagers in what passes for an upholstered package tray, yet young women in beach communities think nothing of contorting themselves to ride in that same back seat with the top down.
Roush’s color options package allows for personalization of three elements: 8 vehicle, 6 graphic, and 6 graphic accent colors, for a staggering 288 color combinations. To view the paint colors, graphics and other options, visit the ROUSH Online Vehicle Configurator at www.roushperformance.com.
Want to own a Roush? They have a well-established dealer network of Ford dealers and independent specialists, one the latter being Hillbank Motors (www.hillbankmotorsports.com) in Irvine, California, who also happen to build turnkey Superormance Cobras utilizing Roush powerplants. This Kona Blue RS3 convertible had an MSRP of $62K, although with taxes, title, destination and other assorted fees you’re probably closer to $65,000. Thanks to Roush Performance and Hillbank Motors for their assistance with the road test – even idling in rush hour traffic is more bearable in a car of this caliber.