The Mustang has long been a Ford fans’s favourite, and dare I say it’s probably considered the most iconic Blue Oval of them all. But for Brits we were never able to order a proper UK-spec car until 2015 when the S550 Mustang was first offered at UKL dealerships.
The order books were initially filled with customers wanting the whopping 5.0-litre V8 version, and with a thunderous soundtrack and immense grunt we can see why (read our Driven feature on the 5.0-litre Mustang GT in the March 2017 issue, or online at www.fastfordmag.co.uk). But Ford reckon that by the time S550 production comes to an end, the 2.3-litre EcoBoost version will account for 50% of all UK Mustangs sold. The four-pot may have a 98bhp deficit over the V8 monster, but in the real world the 310bhp on offer from the, cheaper (£5k less than the V8!) more frugal (35mpg compared to 23mpg from the 5.0-litre) EcoBoost engine is a more practical choice for day-to-day use. Plus, of course, it’s turbocharged – and that means it responds very well to performance upgrades…
At the forefront of Mustang tuning, both EcoBoost an V8 versions, is Steeda UK. They offer a selection of Steeda Serialized Vehicles, available from Haynes of Maidstone, which are ready-modified cars that are delivered to the customer as complete turn-key upgrades with a full warranty.
Steeda offers three different levels for the Mustang, ranging right up to the frankly insane Q750 Streetfighter – a 770bhp/650 lb/ft supercharged V8 animal! But today, I’m at Haynes to test out the entry-level Mustang SSV – the Q350 Sport.
Based on the 2.3litre EcoBoost version the Q350 Sport uses hardware upgrades alone to increase the stock power by over 30bhp to 342bhp. The OE software is retained, meaning no issues with any warranty claims and retaining the everyday drivability of the standard car. The power gains simple come from a well-designed intake system and free-flowing cat-back exhaust system.
This extra shove is enough to liven things up behind the wheel, but without compromising on any of the standard car’s excellent road manners. Think of it as an OEM+ upgrade, like someone’s flicked it into Sport mode – hence the name I suppose.
But the Q350 Sport is much more than just a few extra bhp from an air filter and exhaust, the real transformation compared to the standard Mustang comes when the road gets twisty. You see the Q350 comes kitted out with a selection of Steeda’s suspension and chassis upgrades as standard. These include a set of progressive lowering springs, uprated IRS bushes, G-Trac brace,, IRS alignment bushes, IRS subframe bushing support system, and a full performance wheel alignment to make the most of it all. It all adds up to provide a sharper, more precise handling car. For any doubters who say Mustangs don’t handle, I urge you to drive one of these. For a big car the Q350 manages to feel nimble and well-balanced. The front turns in sharply, and while I couldn’t exactly get it broadside on the public roads of Maidstone with both Steeda and Haynes representatives in the car alongside me, you do get the impression that a healthy does of power on the exit would invoke some grin-inducing oversteer. But it all feels totally controllable; it really is a very well-balanced machine.
As with other Steeda upgrades such as the Mondeo Sport we recently tested, the Q350 comes with styling upgrades already fitted too. Inside there’s a Steeda Serialized plate and illuminated door sills, while the outside is enhanced with Steeda’s graphics package.
There’s plenty more options to choice from too. For example, the demo car I drive was fitted with Steeda’s 20in ST-R alloys (9.5x20in front and 11x20in rear) which really work well with the lower ride of the Q350 to give a menacing stance. These would be on my personal ‘options’ list of I had one for sure!
To be fair, so would the Q Series duck tail spoiler, the Steeda short shifter, and Alcantara steering wheel from the GT350R Mustang that this demo cars was fitted with too!
Steeda has a massive selection of handling, styling and tuning parts in its catalogue, and the Q350 is just the first step on an epic journey of unleashing more performance from the Mustang. If you want a Mustang just to wheel out at weekends and wake the neighbours with a V8 roar then you’ll want the GT version. But if you want a Mustang you can use everyday, you want Q350 Sport…
Steeda SSV Q50 Sport package (comprising Steeda high flow cold air intake system, Steeda cat-back performance exhaust, Steeda G-Trac suspension upgrade, Steeda progressive lowering springs, Steeda IRS bushes, Steeda IRS subframe bushing support system, Steeda IRS alignment bushes, Steeda performance wheel alignment, Steeda Serialized interior plate, illuminated door sill plates), Steeda ST-R alloy wheels (9.5x20in front, 11x20in rear), Steeda strut tower, Steeda bonnet struts, Diode Dynamics smoked rear side markers, Steeda ‘Q Series” duck tail rear spoiler, Steeda Tri-Ax short shifter, Steeda ‘cue ball’ gearknob, Ford Racing GT350R Alcantara steering wheel.
Power: 342bhp, 332lb.ft (estimate)
The Steeda Mustang Q350 Sport is available in the UK from Haynes of Maidstone
Steeda UK have a selection of Mustang tuning and styling parts on offer