Dale Amy
February 8, 2007
A Roush Mustang could never be accused of being visually introverted, but the '07 427R turns up the sonic side with a boisterous, but far from obnoxious, dealer-installed, "off-road" exhaust. You can get into a 427R coupe for as low as $43,680, though the options on our tester rang up the register to $48,691.

Horse Sense: Roush Performance [(800) 59-ROUSH; www.roushperformance.com] isn't just Mustangs. This division of Jack's empire also offers performance versions of the F-150 and Focus, as well as a vaunted line of crate engines.

A few issues ago, Editor Turner expounded on the joys of getting seat time in a Screaming Yellow Roush Stage 3 coupe ("Three Play," Oct. '06, p. 40). At the time, it was the most powerful variant in the Livonia, Michigan, company's well-known stable of modified Mustangs. Flywheel ratings for the Stage 3 are 415 hp and 385 lb-ft of torque

Proving that even lowly freelancers can occasionally go one-up on the boss, it was my turn to be set loose in Roush's new horsepower king-of-the-hill: the descriptively named 427R. Of course, it included 427 hp, along with 391 lb-ft of torque. Admittedly, it's not much more than the Stage 3, but the only powertrain difference is the addition of a dealer-installed "off-road" exhaust, so named because it can exceed the generally agreed-upon manufacturer's limit of 80 drive-by decibels. That's why the dealer does the deed post-sale instead of the Roush factory

Despite being the company's horsepower flagship, Roush's new 427R is cheaper than a Stage 3 because it is, in base form anyway, somewhat decontented in comparison. You might think of it as a Stage 2 with a blower, as the "R" lacks the Stage 3's trick leather seats, forged wheels, specific suspension calibration, and enormous 14-inch brakes-although many of these are optional and our tester had some of them. What it doesn't lack is visual impact and the visceral satisfaction of a Roots-style blown Three-Valve, operating through an exhaust that barks under acceleration and snaps, crackles, and pops under deceleration. It's sort of the way a musclecar from back in the day was, before catalytic converters. We're guessing that is the whole idea of the 427R, what with the rambunctious exhaust and those Boss-like side stripes.

If you're familiar with Roush's Stage 3, you'll be at home under the hood of the 427R, as there are no differences. It has the same torque-happy, Roots-based, intercooled Roushcharger, but about 12 more ponies and 6 more lb-ft than the Stage 3, thanks to the freer-flowing exhaust system.

Though we didn't ask, we're guessing the 427R moniker might stem from the fact that 40 years ago-yes, long before many of my editorial compatriots were even conceived-if you saw an R-code on a Ford's VIN, it meant the Revered 427 big-block was underhood. Then again, maybe it stands for Retro, or possibly Roush. It doesn't matter, because the simple change in exhaust components should be enough to satisfy Editor Turner's occasional rant that the new Mustang has become "too civilized"-a point I happen to disagree with, but who cares what old geezer freelancers think? Truthfully, I love the sound of the 427R, especially its trailing-throttle burble, and the mind-numbing highway drone of some high-flow exhausts is blissfully absent. At 80 mph, it is nearly as church-like in its quietude as a stock GT. It gives the best of both worlds, as it's boisterous when you want, but serene enough on a trip to discern all the subtle nuances of say, Avenged Sevenfold's tender musical renditions.

We mentioned the 427R is cheaper than a Stage 3-some $6,000 less expensive in base form, and less than four grand dearer than a nonsupercharged Stage 2. Available in either a coupe or convertible, the 427R carries a package price of $15,000, plus transportation fees and the relevant gas-guzzler extortion-uh, I mean taxes

Our Redfire tester also wore more than $5,300 worth of the 427R's available options, including white-face electroluminescent gauges, carbon-fiber-look dash trim kit, Roush short-throw chrome shifter with a black knob, quarter-window louvers, the famous Roush trunklid-mounted toolkit, Roush doorsill plates, and the aforementioned 14-inch front brakes with four-piston calipers. It didn't have the leather Roush sport seats found on the Stage 3, but was built on a GT with the factory leather seating option.

What does all this add up to? A car that gets noticed, accelerates with the torquey power band of a Roots-style blown Three-Valve, gets noticed, handles as a Roush Mustang should, gets noticed, and rides almost as well as a stock GT. Did we mention it gets noticed? Even in a car-jaded town such as Detroit, where we spent our autumn day with the 427R, this thing made heads turn as Paris Hilton would at a Masonic Lodge meeting. Thankfully for us, none of those heads wore trooper hats

In summary, if you like the idea of a blown Roush with even more power than the Stage 3-albeit not much more-then the '07 427R would make an entertaining and attention-grabbing choice. If you go easy on the option list, it won't cost much more than a naturally aspirated Stage 2. All in all, it's one more choice in Roush's ever-expanding lineup. Stay tuned for more Roush Mustang packages in the near future

Our tester was based on a leather-seat GT, but you can save money by starting with a cloth seat version. The aluminum pedals are standard 427R fare, as are the embroidered floor mats, but the short-throw chrome shifter, carbon-fiber-look dash trim, doorsill plates, and electroluminescent gauge package are options.

* Intercooled Roushcharger, based on an Eaton M90 Roots-style blower, with Roush-calibrated tune. It has 427 hp and 391 lb-ft at the flywheel.
* Roush four-piece body kit (front fascia, front chin spoiler, hoodscoop, and rear wing). Unlike Stages 2 and 3, there are no side skirts.
* Foglamps
* Roush 18-inch cast, chrome wheels with 275/40 Cooper tires
* Roush off-road exhaust, dealer installed
* Roush fender badges and decklid emblem
* Roush "427R"-embroidered floor mats
* Roush windshield banner
* Roush billet-aluminum shifter handle
* Roush CNC aluminum pedal covers with dead pedal
* Roush hood and side stripes
* Roush dampers, front and rear springs, antiroll bars, and pinion snubber
* Underhood plaque signed by engine builder
* Roush serialized engine-bay plaque