Twister Sister

by Petrol Mum

More power, more noise, more decals is what the limited edition Ford Mustang R-SPEC is all about. Created in collaboration with Melbourne’s Herrod Performance and restricted to just 500 units, the final examples of which are now available in dealerships, the R-SPEC gives Mustang owners a supercharged engine experience with the reassurance of a Factory Warranty; and what an experience that is!

The Mustang R-SPEC is powered by a 5.0L V8 engine with a Ford Performance Roush 2650 Supercharger Kit strapped to it. A supercharger is an air compressor driven by the crankshaft that increases the pressure of air supplied to the engine, more air mixed with fuel equals more power, but how much more Ford Australia has kept tight lipped about. The official combined fuel consumption is 14.0L/100km of 98RON fuel and for my week I used 18.5L/100km. The internet will tell you to expect in excess of 500kW and more than 800Nm of torque. The supercharged V8 engine is bold and brash, not as refined as the European offerings, and I would have liked to hear some more whine from the supercharger in the cabin.

I can tell you that there is more than enough power to enjoy this rear-wheel drive beast on public roads. Under hard acceleration I experienced a loss of traction from the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres in first and second gears, in the dry. And this would have most likely continued into third gear if I had the nerve to keep my foot down. I found that the lowered Ford Performance suspension with MagneRide damping was firm, but not bone crunching.

No complaints though about the noises emitted from the Herrod Performance Active Cat Back Exhaust from me at least, but your neighbours may not agree when you arrive home late at night. The exhaust mode can be individually adjusted though My Mode by pressing the button on the steering wheel with the Mustang on it and your exhaust selections include Quiet, Normal, Sport, Race and Race Track, with the latter being my go to selection.

The six-speed manual gearbox allows you to rev the engine all the way to the 7,400rpm red line before you engage the heavy clutch and change up to the next gear. I found it hard to shift fast through the gearbox and would have preferred a shorter throw between the gears. You also have the option to turn on and off the automatic throttle blip when you downshift, if you prefer to heel and toe yourself.

The Drive Modes are the same as those in a standard Mustang with Normal, Sport+, Track, Drag Strip and Snow/Wet available and I spent the majority of my time driving in Sport+ mode. You can select these using one of the toggle switches below the climate controls on the centre console.

Owners can expect to see this message regularly.

The 12” digital instrument cluster changes depending on the drive mode selected and you can customise the cluster further using My Colour under My Mode. But my favourite feature under the Mustang My Mode options was the Track Apps, which include an Acceleration Timer, Brake Performance, Lap Timer and variable start options. Under the start options you can select from Automatic, Drag Strip Race countdown or Race Track countdown.

Under the Drag Strip countdown a Christmas Tree comes up on your dash and when you press OK on the steering wheel the lights go to Stage and press OK again and your Christmas Tree lights up and you take off like a child heading towards their presents on Christmas morning. Race Track countdown is a little more boring with five red lights that come on and then turn to green, your signal to go.

You really know you are driving the R-SPEC though with its heavy steering and poor turning circle, I wouldn’t recommend taking it into a tight parking station to try out the acoustics! In addition to the Mustang button on the leather steering wheel you also have a voice control button with the masculine silhouette on it like many other car manufacturers. The voice control function worked well for me to make phone calls and to set a destination on the sat nav.

Interior R-SPEC additions include a numbered Panel Badge; I drove #500 of 500, Ford Performance Shift knob, and Ford Performance Scuff Plates. My Twister Orange Mustang had the optional Recaro leather front sports seats with power adjustment for forward/back and height and manual recline and the driver gets additional power lumbar adjustment as well. The Recaro seats do not have heating and cooling, but this does come with the standard seats fitted.

Other than that the Mustang cabin remains the same with 8” touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration and a B&O PLAY 1,000W 12 speaker sound system if you want to rock. Under the arm rest there is one USB port and one 12V outlet and in front of the gear shifter is a small ledge for your phone with another USB port and an actual cigarette lighter.   

To access the rear seats you have to manually lay the front seat down and then slide the whole seat forward. The rear seats are not suitable for adults, but my children were OK back there, I just had to drive in a slightly more forward position to allow them enough leg room. My children said the seats were comfortable enough to sit in, but the seats have no head rests and my children were under the rear windscreen, so it was hot for them particularly considering there are no rear air vents.

There are two ISOFIX/two rear tether child seat restraint points and I recall from the last time I drove the Mustang that the sloping nature of the roofline and the shape of the bucket seats made it difficult to place a car seat in. Should you actually be using the R-SPEC as your family car you will be happy to know that the boot is quite large and you would fit a stroller and the weekly shop in with ease. Plus under the boot floor there us a tyre repair kit.

The R-SPEC Mustang is only available is four colours being Grabber Lime, Twister Orange, Velocity Blue and Oxford White, the latter being the only one not considered an optional prestige paint colour. These colours are paired with a unique black exterior treatment, Ford Performance 19-inch alloy wheels, one-off boot lid spoiler and R-SPEC puddle lamps to visually distinguish this limited edition Mustang.

The Ford Mustang has only a 3-star ANCAP safety rating and this safety rating applies to right-hand-drive Ford Mustang built from December 2017 onwards. The Adult Occupant Protection score is 27.66 points out of 38 (72%) and the Child Occupant Protection score is only 15.79 points out of 49 (32%). The Mustang has eight airbags with dual frontal, side chest-protecting and side head-protecting (curtain) airbags and knee airbags for the driver and front passenger.   

Driver safety aids include lane keep assist, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking (AEB) that operates at highways speeds. In ANCAP tests of the AEB functionality, the system performed well with collisions avoided or mitigated in almost every test speed and scenario. The overall ANCAP score for Safety Assist Systems on the Mustang is 61%. The Mustang is also fitted with a standard rear view camera with rear sensors only.

All new Ford vehicles have a five years’ unlimited kilometre warranty and until your vehicle reaches seven years of age, each time a standard service is completed by a participating Ford Dealer, you’ll receive State Auto Club Roadside Assistance and Membership for up to 12 months from the date of the service. Service intervals for the R-SPEC Mustang are every 6 months or 10,000km, whichever comes first, and using the Ford website I calculated the first six standard services would cost a total of $1,966. Valid until 31st March 2021 Ford has now introduced a complimentary vehicle pick up and drop off service and will provide you with a Ford Service Loan car (if available). Upon return, your vehicle will be disinfected for peace of mind.

The Ford Mustang R-SPEC was initially offered for $99,980 excluding dealer delivery and on-road costs. But this selling price is at the discretion of the selling Dealer and considering there are so few examples remaining you may pay more than this if you want one in your garage. Contact your preferred Ford dealer for more information.

The supercharged V8 engineTyres struggle to transfer all that engine power to the road
The Track AppsThe clutch is heavy
Factory warranty and capped price servicing3-star ANCAP safety rating

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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