Steeda Autosports Founder and President Dario Orlando comes from a road-racing background, which explains the stance and visual character of the Q335 Steeda Mustang that recently passed through our offices. For nearly 20 years, Dario and his crew in Pompano Beach, Florida, have been churning out performance parts for late-model Mustangs; many of the parts are designed to improve handling. Along the way, Steeda has campaigned a number of successful road-racing Mustangs, including the winningest '95 Cobra R. The company has also developed a unique partnership with Ford and proudly states that it's the only aftermarket company participating in Ford's Technology Transfer program.
The Q335 is the number two car in Steeda's Q series of Mustangs, sitting a rung up the ladder from the base Q with cold-air induction and additional suspension improvements. Above the naturally aspirated Q335 is the supercharged arsenal, consisting of the Q400 and stroked Q525 (see the "Q Is for Quicker" sidebar). While the MagnaCharger supercharger undoubtedly adds punch and excitement to the Steeda Q, it also adds considerably to the price tag. The Q400 tacks $25,000 on top of the cost of a Mustang GT, nearly double that of the Q335's more reasonable $13,000 price tag.
For most, the Q335's 350 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque will serve adequately on the street and for occasional open-track outings. It consists of the factory's 300hp Three-Valve 4.6L with cold-air induction, a 90mm throttle body, underdrive pulleys, and Steeda's performance tuning. Also included is Steeda's axle-back exhaust system, which provides a throaty bark on the outside and a tolerable level of tone on the inside. Ford Racing's 3.73 gears make the engine feel even stronger through the gears, which are controlled with Steeda's precise but notchy Tri-Ax shifter. We still haven't found a smooth, quiet shifter for the '05-'07 GT.
The company's bread and butter is handling, and the Q335 delivers in usual Steeda form. Similar to earlier Steeda Mustangs, the ride is firm but it doesn't rattle your dental fillings, and somehow the suspension enhancements make the car feel lighter and more nimble. The company's Sport Springs lower the body for a muscular stance, yet even with the front splitter, there was plenty of clearance on our press model for most curb-stops. The Q335 package also firms the chassis with a double strut-tower and G-Trac braces.
Grabber Orange is an eye-grabbing color to begin with, but when decked out with Steeda's front splitter, 18-inch Ultralite wheels with Nitto Invo radials, Sidewinder graphics, a pedestal-mounted wing, and optional black-out hood and rear panel, the Q335 is a virtual eye-magnet. We had a white-with-blue-stripes '07 Shelby GT500 at the same time; comparatively, it was invisible.
From the driver seat, it was obvious what we were driving. We spotted the Steeda name in eight different places-on both white-face gauges, the shifter knob, both floor mats, the ID plate and gel emblem on the dash, and the windshield banner, which we assume isn't part of the package unless requested.
Our press car was optioned to the max, including the aforementioned black-out treatment and Steeda's wonderful Competition 14-inch front and 13-inch rear brakes. Also on our car was Steeda's brake-duct kit, which adds small billet scoops and ducting to the inner-front fascia openings to funnel air to the front brake rotors.
For Mustang Monthly readers, the Steeda Q335 is the ideal image vehicle. It's great for weekend cruises and open-track, as well as an attention-getter at shows. We recommend Grabber Orange.