Street-performance pickups are a Jekyll and Hyde proposition. From the outset, several factors work against them, most important height and weight distribution. Roush, however, makes a living dealing with just this type of split personality.

Its latest undertaking, a standard-cab 2007 F 150 4x2 dubbed Nitemare, taps into the proven performance formula of cubic inches, driveline enhancements, and a menacing monochromatic visual treatment. The Nitemare package centers around Ford's 5.4 liter V 8 powertrain prepped with a Roush-spec supercharger, intake manifold, intercooler and radiator, air-induction system, and ECM. At the back end of the combustion process is Roush's dual rear-exit hi-po exhaust system. The invigorated 5.4 liter is said to pump out 445 horses and a healthy 500 pound-feet of torque. It retains Ford's stock electronic four-speed overdrive automatic trans and feeds an upgraded Ford 3.73:1 limited-slip rear axle.

It's a truck of subtle beauty. Black looks mean and sends off a vibe like no other color, which isn't lost on Roush (or Harley-Davidson or GMC, for all that). Its monochromatic tone-on-tone scheme is classy yet hard-nosed. The front chin spoiler is the only body-panel enhancement and, with the black billet grille and black bumpers, forms the basis of the Nitemare's look. The flat-black hood stripe, Roush windshield banner, and rear fender and tailgate graphics are subdued, but eye-catching. Other expressive add-ons include a hood scoop and rear wing.

The ebony tones continue inside the cab. The black dash-trim package is set off by shades of medium gray throughout. The angular, bolstered leather seats are aggressive looking but comfortable for extended driving. The seatbacks and floormats carry the Nitemare monogram. Accenting the dark tones are billet-aluminum pedals with a clear finish. Nighttime lighting is an eye-saving green with hot-red gauge arms. Inside storage is tight, but there's easy access through the standard cab's half-doors.

Our Nitemare came equipped with three options--one cosmetic, one security, and one sporting. The first, a hood scoop, complements the raw visual appeal but is nonfunctional. The second, locking lug nuts, protects part of your investment. Last, and most important, is the sport suspension package, made up of Roush calibrated front coilovers, rear leafs, a massive front anti-roll bar, and specially valved Bilstein shocks. This setup drops the F 150 two inches up front and three in the rear. As you might imagine, ride stiffness increases and body roll is reduced.

The extra power is almost transparent. Power delivery is linear and easily modulated. There are no neck-snapping lunges, and aurally, only the slightest supercharger whine slips out from under the hood, complementing the socially responsible though throaty exhaust note. This Roush setup is more organic than you might expect from its intimidating moniker. Still, the power is there. Passing is a blast and with a top speed of 105, it's easy to lose track of the speedo while highway cruising. Over smooth pavement the Nitemare moves like a panther. Over rough roads, it exhibits more kangaroo-like tendencies, and in tight switchbacks it can be a handful. It's worth noting our test unit came equipped with Goodyear Eagle LS 2 mud and snow tires. Clearly, these aren't optimal for holding a 2 -ton truck tight in the corners, and most likely the first thing we'd change, given the chance.