Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
September 1, 2009
Photos By: Kevin DiOssi, Pete Epple

It was in the office parking lot, vibrantly red and gleaming. Even through our tinted-glass reception area, it sat roasting like an atomic fireball in the guest parking spot. It, of course, is the 2010 Roush 427R Mustang that we recently drove, and in the next few pages, we'll show you just what the minds at Roush Performance Products have done with the latest incarnation of Ford's ponycar.

Since it's inception, the 427R model has been striking in appearance, and the '10, with its Torch Red Paint and bright white graphics, continues to stand out in a sea of mundane transportation devices. The graphics package received only minor updates, like changes to the font and subtle fading of the color on the rear trunk badge.

Body-wise, Roush reworked the front and rear fascias, the side rocker panels, and added the company's own rear spoiler and quarter-window louvers. While Roush styling has always been understated and elegant, the '10 427R is aggressive in appearance without being outwardly bold.

The front fascia incorporates Roush's lower foglamps along with a front splitter. That splitter design cue is carried around the sides of the car and along the rocker panels until it meets the rear fascia. There it blends into a blacked-out, diffuser-style rear bumper cover. The Roush three-piece rear spoiler offers the perfect accent at the back of the Mustang, and Roush's C-pillar window louvers are optional.

The Roushcharged 4.6L engine offers 435 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. For 2010, Roush revised the air entry and rerouted it to the right side of the engine for a cleaner look, and to take advantage of the factory ram-air setup in the grille.

Our test vehicle was equipped with the optional 20x9.5-inch, chrome-plated, five-spoke, cast-aluminum wheels and Dunlop 275/35/20 rubber. Our source at Roush tells us the casting has been refined so that the 20-inch wheel is extremely close in weight to the 18-inch standard hoop. The company is also working closely with Cooper Tire to finalize a Roush-spec, 20-inch Cooper RS3 tire, which will replace the Dunlops later this year. Both wheels fit the optional big brake upgrade, which includes four-piston, aluminum front calipers with 14-inch rotors.

With the '10 Mustang GT, Ford engineers really overhauled the suspension, and the Roush staff made their own changes as well. The entire suspension system has been retuned for the 427R, and includes all-new shocks, struts, springs, and antiroll bars.

Lift the bulging factory Mustang hood and you'll find the Eaton M90-based Roushcharger, which is now manufactured in-house by Roush. The combination and tuning has largely been left unchanged, with the 4.6L engine turning out 435 hp at 6,450 rpm and 400 lb-ft of torque at 3,750 rpm. Roush engineers rerouted the air-induction system to the driver's side for a cleaner look than previous versions. It also allows the use of the factory ram-air setup in the front grille, though it doesn't offer any increased performance.

We think this is the way the standard Mustang should look-but if that was the case, it might take away from GT500 sales. The 427R is poised to do just that. Around Gainesville Raceway's road course, the 427R gave a comfortable ride, yet offered flat cornering when pushed hard.

Though the power ratings have not changed, Roush has taken some lengths to make sure that the engine is more efficient, and offers those numbers more often. The front heat exchanger is now a larger, single-core unit, mounted higher in the front fascia to protect it from road debris. The Roushcharger offers 5 lb/in of air pressure in the intake manifold, and we know of an aftermarket tuner that is already engineering higher-boost pulleys for the car. Keep in mind that if you change things up, the Roush 3-year/36,000-mile warranty is likely to fly out the window.

Though we didn't have much time behind the wheel of the 427R, we can tell you that the general ride seems very close to the base Mustang GT. It's in the turns that you'll probably notice the biggest difference, but we didn't have a chance to time the R on a closed course. We were, however, able to hit the local test-and-tune night at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Florida, for a little drag-racing time.