Kristian Grimsland
Associate Editor, Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
October 14, 2013
Photos By: Evan J. Smith, Marc Christ

Just 30 minutes after we left Bradenton Motorsports' 2013 NMRA season kick-off event, Roush tossed us the keys to its latest and most captivating piece yet.

Behold Roush's newest tire-eater, the '14 Phase 3 Mustang show car. Eloquently stylish, Roush's show car aims to highlight its new Phase powertrain upgrades that offer enthusiasts an extra step in performance, and we got a first-hand look.

Our test car was built on the Stage 3 platform, but Roush offers Phase 1, 2, and 3 options for most late-model Mustangs, Roush-built or not. At the heart of the Stage 3 Mustang is the Phase 1 Roushcharged powertrain. Utilizing a 2.3L TVS (twin-vortices system) supercharger, along with a RouchCharger intake manifold, intercooler, and radiator; air induction system; and Roush-calibrated ECM, the Phase 1 starts the lineup with 575 hp and 505 lb-ft of torque, but as on our test car, it can be upgraded all the way to 675 pounding ponies.

Outside, the Stage 3 features an all-new R6 aero-body kit. A unique graphic package is available, offering enthusiasts over 250 decal-color combination choices and an optional custom Planet Color paint finish by Sherwin-Williams.

A race-inspired suspension accommodates the larger, stiffer front stabilizer bar, as well as an anti-wheelhop kit, twin-tube shocks, and increased spring rates. With Cooper RS3 tires, the Stage 3 is capable of pulling over 1g of lateral acceleration on the skidpad.

For enthusiasts wanting more power, the Phase 2 or 3 upgrade may be the better choice. Roush teamed up with Ford Racing to offer the Aluminator engine as an option for the '14 Stage 3, which gives increased durability for future upgrades. The Aluminator features an 11.0:1 compression ratio thanks to Mahle forged pistons, Manley forged H-beam connecting rods, and Boss 302 connecting rod bearings and valvesprings.

According to Jay Velthoven, marketing director of Roush Performance: "We've had the Stage 3 Roush for multiple years. It's been our halo car, but we wanted to increase our customer options. We've expanded our parts catalog and customization for our customers through the Phase program. The addition of the Aluminator engine as an option for the Stage 3 lineup is huge. Of course you don't need it, but it's good peace of mind for those wanting to make big power down the road. For that we offer our Phase 2 or 3 upgrade kits, in which customers not only get increased horsepower, but Roush's engineering and the reliability behind it."

With the Phase 2, power output is boosted to 625 hp. However, step into the premium elite status of the Phase 3 like the one shown here and you are behind the wheel of a 675hp fighting machine. Power is improved thanks to hefty tuning calibrations from Roush. Also included with the Phase 2 and 3 are two interior options, including either Roush-embroidered GT charcoal leather seating, or suede door-panel and seat inserts.

Outside, the Phase 3 tester features a custom three-tone paint scheme sporting Sin City Silver and Luminesent Lime with a black stripe. Roush 20-inch, five-spoke custom black wheels accent the exterior, along with painted-to-match, six-piston brake calipers. This color combo is not currently offered but could become available depending on customer request. Inside, suede accents can be found throughout, as well as an ESCORT radar system and rear-seat-delete with Ford Racing X-brace.

Now that you're acquainted with the car, let's get down to business.

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Mean and Green

As mentioned earlier, our test subject was packing heat. To test Roush's claims, we first strapped the Phase 3 onto our in-house DynoJet chassis dyno, and then hit the local dragstrip.

On the dyno, Associate Editor Christ rolled into the throttle making his way to Fourth gear. With the drivetrain and fluid up to operating temperature, Christ mashed the pedal and the rpm climbed steadily to 7,000. The car belted out 593 rwhp and 504 lb-ft of torque. We were impressed—the numbers were spot-on with the claims of 675 flywheel horsepower. Now, there was only one thing left to do—hit the strip.

If you want something unique with massive amounts of power, take a look into Roush's product line.

The MM&FF crew headed to Bradenton Motorsports Park (Bradenton, Florida) on a Thursday evening for test-and-tune. The track was grippy, and the weather was cool in the low 50s—a perfect setting for testing. Editor Smith manned the wheel.

Rather than using the Cooper tires that our tester came with, we threw on 18-inch Bullitt-style wheels fitted with Nitto 555R 285/40ZR18 drag radials on the back. On the first pass, Smith heated the tires and revved the 5.0L to 3,200, and waited for the light to drop. He hurled forward and a few seconds later the scoreboards lit up with a 11.731 at 118 mph. The next pass yielded a better 11.624 at 121 mph. A few 11.5 passes were gathered in-between (at as fast as 124 mph), but it wasn't until our last pass of the night after a 45-minute cool-down period that Smith ripped an 11.425 at 118 mph, cutting a 1.767 60-foot time.

"The power was there to run low 11s," said Smith, "but Roush equipped the Mustang with 4.56 gears, so I was unable to make it to the finish line in Fourth gear. I was forced to hit Fifth right before the traps. That slowed us down a bit, killing a little e.t. and speed. I tried running it through in Fourth, but it lost about 6 mph despite running 11.50s. If we even had 4.30s, the RS3 would have run 11.20s or better, probably at 124 to 127 mph."

You may be wondering about the price tag on the stylish Roush Phase 3. It starts at $48,750; the Phase 2 upgrade is $800; Phase 3 adds $1,500. Depending on the options, prices can vary but customization is endless. For something unique with massive power, look at Roush's product line. There's surely something to fit your needs.