October 27, 2014
Photos By: Kevin DiOssi

With the current Coyote and the vast aftermarket, Mustang owners truly have it all.

Want 500, 600, or 700 hp? No problem—dial up your favorite boost maker, add headers and a tune, and floor it! Want your Pony to pounce like a scalded cat on the strip, street, or open road course? Swap on sticky tires, grab your helmet, and away you go. Today, finding amazing packages designed to make your car fast is easy. Proof can be found in the lineup of Q-Series Steeda Ford Mustangs.

We recently put over 2,000 miles on this '14 650hp supercharged beast and had a blast covering every mile. The stunning looks and tire-frying power kept us grinning, the Steeda suspension kept us glued to the tarmac. We even knocked down 22.9 mpg on the highway on our adventure to Mustang Week in South Carolina, and we weren't even trying.

Steeda's 20-plus years of racing and developing parts shines through on the Q650, the top-level Stang package. "The Q650 can take on any challenge. The exclusive G-Trac suspension system, with fully adjustable dampening and specially tuned components, provides an exhilarating driving experience with outstanding driving dynamics," said Glen Vitale of Steeda.

According to Steeda, this is a 10-second– capable quarter-miler that can eat up the street, road course, autocross, or hill climb. After picking up our tester and driving across Florida from Pompano Beach to Tampa, we hit a Cars & Coffee event at our local Tampa GP go-kart track. Petrolheads flocked to the red and black rocket, admiring the Vortech blower and its nifty finish. After smoking those Honda and Camaro guys on the go-kart track, we slipped away and prepared for Mustang Week.

Popping the hood, the 650 looks smart with a carbon look to the engine cover, black finish on the Vortech V-3 mounted up front, and Steeda Cold-Air Inlet. Power and sound is enhanced with the Steeda axle-back exhaust. Boost peaks at 9.5 psi, and the combo is designed to run on 91-octane fuel.

Astute Steeda fans will catch the switch from the Whippled Q600 to the Vortech blower on the Q650. There is quite a difference between how a centrifugal and Positive Displacement blowers feel on the street and on the track. Each has pros and cons. Steeda opted for the centrifugal on this model—what it offers is tame feel at lower rpm, but crack the throttle wide open and the Coyote ramps up in rpm and all 650 ponies come on to drive you home.

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This package is perfect for all types of Mustang madness. Drag racers will love the powerband, and with drag radials, hooking is not a chore. Simply roll on the power and slide the clutch out of the way. When done smoothly, you are rewarded with a wicked-fast launch that gets the Steeda cranking. Track Dawgs (read: open track drivers) will also revel in the sweet power curve and the tested Steeda Suspension. The linear-power allows you to be aggressive coming off a corner with little drama.

Said Vitale, "We equipped the car with 275/40 front tires to facilitate better ride quality for the long trip [to Mustang Week]. In most cases we would equip the Q650 with 275/35 tires, which is more of a performance configuration." This would also give the Stang a slightly lower and more racy look.

Taking the Q650 from stock to road rocket is a slathering of Steeda's G-Trac suspension goodness, including Steeda's X11 ball joints, bumpsteer kit, adjustable front sway bar, adjustable rear sway bar, billet sway bar endlinks, billet lower control arms, lower control arm relocation brackets, adjustable upper third link, and Sport Springs Pro-Action struts and shocks.

Naturally, all this go requires extra stopping power to shorten braking distances and to prevent dreaded fade on track. Steeda gets it done with a 14-inch four-piston brake kit up front and a 13-inch kit in the rear. The brakes had a great feel, and we noticed minimal nosedive under braking, which helps the tires stay glued for increased control.

This system of parts provided great all-around handling and ride quality. There was no drone from the exhaust or excessive road noise from the tires. It was pleasurable not raising my voice when conversing with my copilot, Steph Davies. And while comfortable on the mundane parts of our 2,000-mile journey, the Steeda Q650 thrilled us with quick steering response, impressive feel, flat handling in the corners, and a neutral overall balance. Hey, we didn't take all highways. Would you with a car like this?

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We didn't track-test this model, but we have driven this suspension at Sebring International Raceway on a different Steeda-prepped Stang and it inspired confidence and gave us great speed and control. The extra 50 hp would certainly improve our lap times. Steeda strikes a wonderful balance between improved handling and performance over stock, but without the harshness that can be associated with a lowered Mustang.

As previously stated, rolling stock is comprised of Steeda ST-R 20x9.5 wheels up front with 275/40/20 Nitto NT-05 tires and Steeda ST-R 20x11 wheels with Nitto 315/35/20 NT-05s in the rear. This equates to beefy, grippy, and great-looking rubber at all four corners. The setup even performed well in the rain.

Other components include a Tri-Ax shifter with a billet shift knob, Steeda badging, and Steeda-embroidered floor mats for a subtle spice-up in the interior. My only gripe was with the metal knob, which gets rather toasty after the sun beats it up. I'd prefer a nice stitched leather version.

In addition to the wheels, the visual impact of the Q650 is driven home with a Ford Racing front splitter, a Steeda rear wing, a Steeda Sidewinder stripe, and a blackout treatment on the hood. The red and black combo fires off a bold statement, but it isn't overstated. It's racy and classy. Steeda explained there is actual aerodynamic benefit to the wing, which was formerly used on Mustangs in production-car racing. Steeda Mustangs (and parts) can be had through Steeda Autosports or from any authorized Ford Dealer, and packages generally range between $8,000 and $15,000 (over vehicle price). Considering the supercharged, that's a strong performance value.

Sadly, our time in the Q650 had to end, we drove back and dropped the machine at Steeda headquarters. The good news is performance is always in the making at Steeda, so we'll wait for the Q700 or whatever the company thinks of next.