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Plymouth — In the Detroit horsepower wars, the 2015 Dodge Hellcat was the first to unbridle 700 ponies, followed by Chevy's 755-horsepower Corvette ZR1 this year. Ford is expected to join the club with its earth-pawing, 700-plus horsepower Mustang GT500 early next year.

Call it the Meg. But for those who can’t wait, Ford mod shop Roush has dropped a 710-horse Snake on dealerships for 2018: the supercharged JackHammer Mustang.

Based on the GT model, the new JackHammer makes 710 horsepower and 610 pound-feet of torque thanks to a massive supercharger mounted on top of the already capable 5.0-liter V-8.

A rocket ship on wheels, I tested the beast in its native Plymouth habitat. Armed with a 6-speed manual transmission, smoky burnouts are easily induced out of stoplights (a 10-speed automatic is also available). The added horsepower overwhelms the rear tires even with the nanny systems turned on. Merge with authority onto I-96 and the Jackhammer gulps traffic like a whale ingests krill.

The steroid injection increases horsepower over the normally aspirated V-8's 460 horses. It also eclipses other powerful factory Mustangs like the 2019, 526-horsepower Shelby GT350 and 662-horsepower GT500 made from 2013-2014. 

The JackHammer, named after the mad doctor Jack Roush himself, is the latest Frankenstein's monster to emerge from the legendary mod shop here. Roush has a special partnership with Ford that allows customers to order a Roush-modified Mustang for dealer delivery with other trims like the turbocharged 4-cylinder Ecoboost or movie-inspired Bullitt. 

Customers can choose a Stage 1 kit that modifies the suspension and exterior of an turbocharged-4 cylinder Ecoboost — or a Stage 2 kit that does the same to a Mustang GT. But the JackHammer is the only package that comes with the Full Monty: body mods, suspension tuning and supercharged mill.

The upgrade stickers for $14,765 on top of whatever the customer has paid for their factory GT, which starts at $36,090. Roush then adds its goodies before the 'Hammer is shipped to the customer's dealership for supercharger installation. Thanks to the certified Ford installation, says Roush, the customer still gets a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty just like a factory 'Stang.

Both Suburban Ford of Ferndale and Hines Park Ford in New Hudson are certified Roush dealers in the Metro Detroit area.

The JackHammer is not the first time Mustangs have eclipsed 700 horsepower. Roush entered 700-horsepower territory with its 727-horse P-51 special edition last year. The package cost over $42,000 and only 51 were built. In even rarer air is the $113,445 Super Snake from Shelby's Vegas tuner shop which buys you 710 horsepower with an upgrade option to a claimed 800 horsepower.

Roush will make 200 Jackhammers for 2018. But if they run out, don't panic because the company begins manufacture of a 2019 model Stage 3 Mustang this October. It will carry similar specs right down to the 710-horse engine, adjustable shocks and sticky Continental ExtremeContact Sport tires.

Though the Corvette ZR1 is king of the 700 horsepower club, the Roush ponies are clearly aimed at the 717-horse Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. 

The Hellcat is already legend, but its aging chassis weighs in at a porky 4,439 pounds. Even when outfitted with supercharger and additional cooling equipment, the JackHammer should weigh less than 3,800 pounds on Mustang's new sixth-generation architecture.

Pushing the Jackhammer around interstate cloverleafs, that lighter weight is noticeable as the rear-drive Mustang rotates beautifully under throttle. Beware full throttle, however, as 710 horses easily induce wheelspin.

Roush claims the JackHammer is capable of 1.07 Gs in cornering loads, which puts it in good handling company with the track-tuned factory Mustang GT350 and Chevy Camaro ZL1. Based on the same, nimble platform as the sensational Cadillac ATS sedan, the Camaro is in another league in handling, rivaling luxury performance weapons like the BMW M4.

But there is nothing as distinct as a Mustang V-8 soundtrack, and the JackHammer roars under throttle like a T. rex after Jeff Goldblum. Roush offers an Active Exhaust tuning option that allows drivers to turn up the sound to Touring, Sport, Track and Custom modes. 

That ought to keep us occupied until the Meg arrives.

Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at hpayne@detroitnews.com or Twitter @HenryEPayne. Catch “Car Radio with Henry Payne” from noon-2 p.m. Saturdays on 910 AM Superstation.

 

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