2005 Saleen S281 Mustang
Its signature long hood and short rear deck emphasize the Saleen muscle under the bonnet and its traditional rear-wheel drive. Those proportions also give the Saleen a ready-to-launch-itself-down-the-road appearance even when the S281 is standing still.
Saleen has its own “design language” and you’ll notice a family resemblance between the S281 and the Saleen mid-engine exotic S7 supercar in the shaping of the lower front grille opening, the rear spoiler and the rear diffuser. These features are designed for optimal aerodynamics and top-speed performance, objectives the S281 achieves because of lessons previously learned from extensive wind tunnel testing and racing of the S7.
Up front are integrated turn signals along with available HID (High Intensity Discharge) headlights. And one finds it hard not to notice the Saleen alloy rims. They are big, wide and clothed in equally aggressive rubber that completely fills the prominent wheel wells. They shout “speed” and “style” with a capital S.
Under the hood of every S281 is a high-performance 4.6-liter V8 engine. In the 3-Valve model this engine produces 325 horsepower. In, the supercharged S281 SC the horsepower leaps to 400. And for the S281 E, which will be introduced next spring, the engine produces a mind-boggling 500 horsepower. Now you know why the E in the name stands for Extreme.
Out of sight, but not out of mind are the components that endow every S281 with handling, steering and braking performance that beg comparison with Corvettes, Porsches and BMWs. Features like Saleen Racecraft springs, shocks and anti-roll bars. And available 14-inch brakes, the same size as on the Ford GT, a car that Saleen helps assemble with Ford in Saleen’s Michigan manufacturing facility.
Inside the S281 you’ll find a focused driving environment that is as much as part of every Saleen as its Saleen engine, suspension and its race-proven aerodynamics. The seats are specially bolstered for greater support when cornering. The Saleen high-grip racing-inspired brake and throttle pedals, ideally positioned for easy heel-and-toe downshifting, and a Saleen short-throw shift lever are the makings of a world-class driving experience.
The interior also features unique Saleen gauges, trim and S281 floor mats and a special Saleen numbering plaque on the dash. S281 SC and E models also include a Saleen twin gauge pod with readouts for supercharger boost and air temperature.
Pricing for the 2005 Saleen S281 starts at around $38,000 for the 3-Valve and just under $45,000 for the supercharged model.