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Ford Mustang R-Spec: supercharged new hero for Blue Oval

The Advertiser 2019-10-09 15:22:00

The Holden versus Ford battle is back on — sort of.

As the rival race teams descend on Mount Panorama for the Bathurst 1000 this week, Ford has released details of a potent supercharged V8 Mustang that trumps the Chevrolet Camaro locally converted by HSV.

Ford doesn’t have exact performance figures for the new limited edition Mustang, but the same performance package in the United States puts out 522kW, shading the 477kW of Chevrolet’s ZL1 Camaro.

The Ford will also have an edge in the showroom as it comes in at a whisker under $100,000, compared to $159,990 for the ZL1.

The new Mustang will be available in a limited run of 500 cars and will debut two new eye-catching colours, Grabber Lime and Twisted Orange. Other visual cues include traditional Boss Mustang stripes, a gloss black rear spoiler and bonnet vents.

The Mustang R-Spec will be sold through Ford dealerships and carry the company’s 5-year, unlimited kilometre warranty. It will be sold exclusively as a six-speed manual.

The R-Spec has engine components developed by Ford Performance in the United States as well as upgraded suspension and an active muffler.

The car has been developed in collaboration with Melbourne-based Herrod Motorsport, which is the largest Ford Performance parts supplier in the southern hemisphere.

It will reach Ford dealerships early next year, but customers will be able to pre-order cars from today.

Ford boss Kay Hart says the limited edition will build on the runaway success of the Mustang in Australia, where it has been the number one selling sports car for 45 consecutive months.

“This is our answer in terms of providing our Australian customers with what they want. Mustang has had phenomenal success since we launched here and we’ve had people asking for a supercharger,” she says.

Hart says the project involved extensive collaboration with engineers from Ford Performance Racing in the US, local Ford engineers and Herrod Motorsport. The package was then tested at Ford’s You Yangs proving ground near Geelong.

And she hinted that the limited run could be the forerunner to other performance versions of popular Fords, perhaps including the Ranger.

“I think we’ve learned a lot in terms of doing this. I don’t believe it will be the last, but we haven’t got anything else we’re working on right now,” she says.

“We always listen to what customers tell us and I think we’ll get a lot of feedback in terms of the package … and the overall experience that we’ve created. We’ll continue to learn from that and then apply that to any new projects moving forward,” she says.

The R-SPEC uses a Ford Performance 2.65-litre roots supercharger with 12 PSI of boost, which Ford claims provides the best balance between potent performance and driveability.

An aluminium intercooler and full-face radiator are fed by a larger front air intake.

The active exhaust gives a throatier note and better breathing. It can be set to Quiet, Normal, Sport and Race Track modes.

“We’ve worked together to ensure that we have a consistent product that delivers a driving experience that meets the expectations of a factory-delivered product,” says Rob Herrod.

To harness the extra power, the ride has been lowered by 20mm and new firmer Ford Performance springs have been fitted. Adjustable stabiliser bars improve cornering ability, while Michelin Pilot Sport tyres — 9.5 inches at the front and 10 inches at the rear — complete the package.

Herrod said his business had regular inquiries from Mustang owners wanting to fit a supercharger to their V8.

“The public demand coming to us is phenomenal,” he says.

Originally published as Ford releases bonkers supercharged Mustang