The most powerful Roush Mustang ever is here for the 2020 model year, and it’s impressive in ways that you might not expect. The car was built with the race track in mind, rather than the drag strip. This means MagneRide variable damping suspension, active aero, big Brembo brakes, and of course, more power. If you’re familiar with the Roush products, you’ll know that the 2019 Roush Stage 3 Mustang (RS3) model offers 710 horsepower. That wasn’t enough for Roush’s most special car, though. The new 2020 Jack Roush Edition Mustang puts out 775 horsepower at the crank. That’s right, more power than the new 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. Not by much, but here’s what might really interest you in the car if all of that wasn’t enough: it’s available with three pedals!
My first question for the people from Roush was, “How do you extract the extra power out of the car?” The Stage 3 package already seems like it squeezes every ounce of 50-state legal power out of the third-gen Coyote motor, so what else can you possibly do from there? I had imagined that a smaller pulley or even a bigger supercharger might have been used; but the answer was simple, yet surprising: more fuel, different spark plugs, and calibration.
Roush is still able to take that extra 65 horses out of a nearly identical hardware setup from the Stage 3 car with fine tuning, still running 91 octane fuel; and it actually can take a beating without going into limp mode. How do I know that? I beat on it quite a bit at Willow Springs International Raceway. It never once showed a sign of being hurt, and that’s something I can’t say about just any Mustang with an aftermarket power adder. There’s really something to be appreciated about that, considering it still has a warranty.
Power without finesse isn’t special anymore. We live in a world where it’s unacceptable to only be fast in a straight line and a death trap in the corners. The previous generation GT500 showed us that Mustangs needed a new recipe, because having a car try to kill you isn’t necessarily everyone’s idea of fun.
The Jack Roush Edition remedies the power-to-finesse ratio better than any Mustang I have driven to date. Although the car was on race compound tires, it was still impressive how effortlessly the car put down the power. Even with properly-warmed slicks and coming out of the last turn at Streets of Willow, I wouldn’t expect to be able to go flat in second gear without any drama, but the car was very forgiving and put all 775 horsepower down effectively.
The MagneRide suspension is custom calibrated by Roush specifically for this car, so don’t get the impression that they just slapped the OEM shocks from the 460 horsepower Mustang GT and called it a day. The suspension and wheel/tire combo, along with the Brembo brakes from the GT350 made the car feel like it could take on the track at speeds that my neck couldn’t handle.
In fact, my neck was slightly sore after riding with Roush’s factory driver for some hot laps. Give me a break; the car pulled 1.14 lateral G’s on a skidpad during testing. Yup, that’s more than a Porsche 918. They both have something in common, too: an active rear wing. Let’s keep in mind that the testing was performed on full race slicks, though.
There is one major hardware piece on the Jack Roush Edition that I was not a fan of: the MT-82 gearbox. Despite the cool-looking shifter ball and light (but not too light) clutch, the transmission felt just like every other non-GT350 Mustang I have driven lately. Ultimately, the car would feel 10 times better with the Tremec gearbox. Although the cheap, notchy-feeling MT-82 is bad, it actually doesn’t ruin the experience of the car.
The car pulls great from just about any RPM, so you can probably leave it in 3rd gear and not have to feel the gearbox when driving smaller tracks and canyon roads. Also, the 10-speed automatic is available for this car, so consider it if you really don’t want to deal with having the MT-82. If you aren’t a manual gearbox elitist, you may find yourself a pleasant surprise with how good the 10-speed is.
If you’re seriously considering buying this car based on the performance and looks but aren’t sure whether to get this or a GT500, there is one thing that will keep you on the side of the Roush: exclusivity. Roush is only building 60 Jack Roush Editions.
In addition to the price of the Mustang GT that the car is built on, the Jack Roush Edition Mustang retail pricing is $50,995 for the base package and an additional $11,995 for the Competition Package. Therefore, total price will be around $100k, which is hovering around a well-specced GT500.
Ultimately, this car is for hardcore Roush fans. But if you really just want a manual GT500, you should also seriously be looking at this car.
At the end of the day, the 2020 Jack Roush Edition Mustang is a relative bargain in the high-performance Mustang world. Hopefully the 60 owners actually drive these cars as they’re intended to be driven – they’re incredibly capable and don’t deserve to be caged up.
Primary Author’s Biography
Michael Gallardo found interest in cars at around 6 years old. Going to the drag strip to watch NHRA races and riding in his Dad’s VW Beetle were the earliest memories that he can credit his passion to. A year after high school, Michael bought his first car, a 1986 Porsche 944. Ever since then, he has been switching it up and trying to experience all of the cars that he possibly can. Interests include watching Formula 1, going to the shooting range, collecting watches, trying new places to eat, and an occasional round of golf.