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2018 Mustang Motorsport Roush RS3 automatic performance review

By Trent Giunco | Photos: Ellen Dewar, 17 Jul 2018 Reviews

2018 Mustang Motorsport Roush RS3 auto review

Self-shifter Roush still delivers on the excess

What’s not to like about excess? You know the drum; more is more and the bigger the better.

That’s certainly the vibe Mustang Motorsport (MM) was going for when selecting the Roush parts to be fitted to this tuned, but grand-touring-focused Mustang. And with a deep-red hue, polished, cast-aluminium wheels and a baritone-esque soundtrack, this version of Roush’s RS3 seems to hit the spot.

So much so that a curious onlooker wound down the window of his Range Rover at a set of lights to ask; “what’s that?”.

Well, your $107,009 (including the price of a six-speed auto Mustang GT, but excluding on-roads) gets you the Stage 3 supercharger kit in Phase 1 guise for your 5.0-litre V8. Which means the 2.3-litre R2300 TVS unit endows the RS3 with 500kW and 739Nm, which is sent to the rear wheels via the auto ’box and heavy-duty half shafts.

The package also includes one-way adjustable (height) coilovers, a passive performance exhaust and grippy Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tyres. It’s all ADR compliant (and complied) country-wide and even comes with a three-year/60,000km driveline warranty from MM.

What endears most about this package is the prodigiously powered bent eight and the deeply impressive acoustics. While it might always be ‘on’, the soundtrack mellows at lower revs before becoming animalistic in the higher reaches.

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It’s a sound that befits the performance, because when you wind up the supercharger, this ‘lesser’ kit on paper covers ground at an astonishing rate – and drinks fuel equally as fast.

What doesn’t work as well is the auto ’box, which never seems to find the right ratio to handle the 670 wild horses. Switch into manual mode (there’s steering wheel-mounted paddles) and it is better, but maybe wait for the upcoming 10-speed version found in the just-released Mustang if a clutch pedal isn’t to your liking.

MOTOR review: 542kW Roush RS3 manual

Back-road blasts do suit the RS3 and the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tyres offer plenty of instant bite. Dynamically the long-bonnet pony continues to surprise with its increased agility, but not its overt lack of steering feel.

The irony of it all is that the road-centric offering is actually harsher to ride in than the balls-out track warrior, with mid-corner bumps unsettling the ‘GT’ package far more.

Still, it’s certainly no back-breaker and, for the hit to the wallet, presents impressive touring ability and outright pace. It’s American muscle that feels altogether factory. If you like your burgers with the lot, this RS3 is a Mustang that panders to excess.

2018 MUSTANG MOTORSPORT ROUSH RS3 AUTO SPECS:
Engine: 4951cc V8, DOHC, 32v, supercharger

Power: 500kW @ 6850rpm 
Torque: 739Nm @ 5000rpm
0-100km/h: 4.3sec (estimated)
Weight: 1747kg
Price: $107,009 (excluding on-road costs)

Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars