Michael Johnson Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
June 3, 2010
Photos By: Steve Turner

Rated at 540 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque, the 540RH packs a Three-Valve engine with forged bottom-end components and a boost-friendly, 8.6:1 compression ratio. The 540RH's engine is the same design that debuted in the '09 Roush P-51 Mustang. The supercharger sitting atop the Three-Valve is what Roush calls its Next-Generation R2300 Roushcharger. This supercharger's TVS technology utilizes four-lobe rotors with a high-flow inlet and outlet to enhance efficiency and broaden its power range. Simply put, the TVS helps the Roush get moving in a hurry without losing big steam at the top of the tach. To keep the monster fed, Roush upgraded the 540RH's fuel system, and added 52-lb/hr injectors and unique fuel rails.

Naturally, the 540RH receives Roush's own suspension, with front and rear springs; front and rear stabilizer bars; and jounce bumpers as standard. Our test car wore Roush's optional front strut and rear shock upgrade. Thankfully, its leaves Roush's headquarters with its anti-wheelhop kit, as well. As such, we never experienced wheelhop with the 540RH, and trust me, it had plenty of chances. The '10 Mustang is such a great platform to begin with, and Roush's suspension enhancements only add to the driving experience. We didn't have a chance to put it through its paces on a road course, but on the street, the 540RH is a royal blast to drive, and it doesn't beat you up.

So how much does all this excitement cost? Well, that's the 540RH's only sticky point. The sticker on our tester, which had several options, came in at $57,082. For a Mustang-any Mustang-that's pretty steep, but the base price minus the wheel, brake, and other options is around $46,000.

I was contemplating that very thing one day while driving the 540RH in traffic when I looked over at the owner of a new BMW. I can't remember the model, but it had to cost around the same as the 540RH. All I could think was, "That guy can't be having as much fun driving that car as I am the 540RH." I was the one enjoying the ultimate driving machine.

Waking The Demons
Roush's intention was to create a sleeper with the 540RH. Although I woke it up every time I drove the car, Editor Turner and I took the car up to Gainesville Raceway [(352) 377-0046; www.gainesvilleraceway.com] to see what the car would officially run. I didn't know what the 540RH was good for, as I have never regularly driven and raced a car like it. I was just going to let her eat, and let the e.t.'s fall where they may.

We arrived at Gainesville in time to let the car cool, but Blow-By Racing's Chris Jones also clued us in that the Roush featured an intercooler pump function with key-on. After letting the car cool for more than an hour, I lined up the car in the burnout box. I performed a cover-worthy burnout, and pulled the 540RH up to the line. The track was freshly prepped, but with the power on hand I didn't really know how the car would react out of the hole. I "launched" the Roush just above idle and hammered down. Shockingly, the Roush only spun a tad on the 1-2 shift. Other than that, it was a drama-free run.

I was unable to look at the timeslip before pulling back around to the staging lanes where everyone was waiting. Someone yelled out, "12.7." I thought to myself that was a good start. Turns out, it was actually an 11.74 at 122 mph. My mood instantly improved. "Wow," is what I thought. I thought they were really pulling my leg until I actually saw the timeslip. The 60-foot time was a 1.92, and our eighth-mile time a 7.71 at 97 mph. Right off the bat we already had a solid run under our belt.

With such a solid baseline, Editor Turner and I took turns trying to beat that first run, but to no avail. The track was so good on that first run, and there were several other cars at the track that day so starting line grip was harder and harder to come by.