► Steeda's modded Mustang
► Q500 Enforcer gets power hike
► Plus key handling upgrades
Modified Ford Mustangs have been around almost as long as the car itself. Ford usually likes tweaking the formula regularly, but plenty of performance tuners regularly get their tools out and play around, too.
With the Mustang arriving in the UK in 2016, growth in performance tuners offering parts for the pony car here has skyrocketed. Mountune, the Brentwood-based tuner that regularly goes to town on the Focus RS, offers a range of parts for the Mustang, too.
Steeda, meanwhile, is a dab hand at this, so has turned its hand to right-hand drive Mustangs in the UK with the Q500 Enforcer we’re driving here.
Who and/or what is Steeda?
‘The world’s largest aftermarket manufacturer of Ford performance equipment’, according to Steeda itself. Founder Dario Orlando set it up in 1988 to provide a whole range of upgrades to Fords in the US to start with, including the Mustang, Focus and Fiesta currently. In the UK, Steeda provides performance upgrades for those three over here, too, plus the Mondeo.
The Steeda Q500 Enforcer we’re driving here is the mid-range version of three modded ‘Stangs on offer, with the Q350 Sport tweaking the EcoBoost version and the also brilliantly-named Q750 StreetFighter whacking in a chuffing-great supercharger to the V8 powertrain for 777bhp of shove.
So what’s so special about the Q500 Enforcer?
Other than sounding like an extra from RoboCop? Well, the 5.0-litre V8 makes 70bhp and 84b ft more than before by combining a cold air intake with an engine remap and a bespoke exhaust system. A suspension overhaul includes new, thicker anti-roll bars and new progressive rate springs and Steeda has sprinkled a little fairy dust on the looks, with new front and rear splitters and a fatter ducktail spoiler.
Steeda’s demo car had a few more options, including height-adjustable coilovers, a catback exhaust, larger satin black Velgen VMB7 alloys and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber.
And how does that translate on the road?
It’s a surprise. I wanted to dislike this thing; the Mustang isn’t exactly the last word in refinement or poised dynamism, so dialling the car’s natural attitude up a couple of notches seemed like an unappealing recipe change.
The main thing I took away from it was just how much grip was available. Even on the driest, hottest day of the year a standard V8 Mustang would be twitching its hips the moment you breathed on the accelerator, but the Enforcer’s wider tyres and stiffer suspension layout allows a bit more mid-corner confidence. Squirts of power on a corner’s exit catapult you purposefully in the right direction and suprisingly not straight into the nearest hedge. The neighbour-annoying exhaust sounds great from over 2500rpm, too.
Well it is still a Mustang, so it’s long and wide enough to not quite fit into some parking spaces, and Steeda’s bespoke clutch spring makes the pedal absurdly heavy for comfortable in-town use. Want a Q550? Don’t skip leg day.
The ride is a little fidgety and the rear suspension on the demo car creaked, but the setup’s adjustability should make that an easy fix. Plus, while the catback exhaust sounds fierce when pushing hard, the in-car resonance at a steady cruise is almost unbearable, making motorway schleps particularly irritating.
Steeda Q500 Enforcer: verdict
If you think the Steeda will convince you to buy a Mustang over something more refined, you’re sadly mistaken. It’s more for the Mustang owner to exploit more from their own car, or for those who are dead set on buying a Mustang but want some restrained tweaks.
Steeda told us it wants to be considered in the same buying process as the M4, but even with tweaks, the Mustang offers a fundamentally different experience. But that's not a bad thing.
If the M4 is a beef stronganoff, the regular Mustang is a Big Mac, and the Q500 is one of those brioche-bunned, medium-rare affairs people end up wanting to queue for. It’s still a burger, so it won’t win you any favours with Michelin-star chefs, but it tastes that little bit better.
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