The 1969 Mustang Boss 302 is perhaps one of the most sought after examples of American muscle or performance cars in collector car circles. Good news performance junkies – Ford put together a team of engineers, designers and stylists to recreate the iconic Boss Mustang by specifically modifying the GT model to what may well be its purest form. Every facet of the GT was examined and analyzed, then each system was strengthened, lightened and refined resulting in the production of the new, limited production 2012 Mustang Boss 302. For all intents and purposes this street-legal race car is destined to become a performance legend in its own right, just like the original, only better.
The mission statement of the new Mustang Boss 302 was to deliver outstanding performance capabilities across the board, including stellar acceleration, handling characteristics, braking power as well as top speed. All of this is of course in a thoroughly modern, technologically up-to-date, sport driving machine that is without compromise. It meets all public safety, noise and emissions regulations while also retaining an unprecedented level of unadulterated fun.
Power for the unique Boss 302 is served up by a version of the advanced, high performance, DOHC 32-valve Ti-VCT V8 with sequential mechanical returnless fuel injection that pumps out 444 horsepower at 7,400 rpm while also generating 380 pound feet of torque at the same rpm level. The base engine is the same that’s found in the Mustang GT. The engine delivers its driving force to the rear wheels through an MT82 six-speed manual gearbox that features a unique black ball shift knob. The melodious rumble of the exhaust exits via unique side and rear quad pipes.
The engine is specifically tuned by Mustang’s SVT performance team, featuring aggressive engine control calibration at all engine speeds, twin independent variable camshaft timing allowing for maximum high rpm horsepower without giving up low end torque. The camshafts have been revised, while unique pistons and crankshaft damper lower friction and reduce mass for quicker acceleration. A “Runners-in-the-box” intake plenum enhances airflow changing the redline.
In terms of its appearance, the Boss 302 pony car’s look is not simply an aftermarket trim package that’s available as a collection of parts, but is rather a balanced re-engineering of the Mustang GT that focuses on providing Mustang aficionados a track-ready package that can be driven home after the race. The Boss 302 is a truly unique creation from the front splitter to the black rear decklid spoiler. There are unique door scuff plates, unique cloth seats embroidered with the Boss logo (RECARO cloth sport seats along with a TORSEN helical differential are optionally available for $1,995.) An unusual hood stripe and reverse “C” side stripe with matching roof along with Black 10-spoke aluminum alloy wheels immediately distinguish the Boss 302 from other Mustang models.
Moving to the inside, a special Boss steering wheel, seat treatment and door panel trim readily identify the Boss 302 from an otherwise standard Mustang GT cabin.
Special mechanical features include: a fully defeatable traction control system and electronic stability control settings; comfort, normal and sport modes for the variable electric power-assisted steering; low-compressibility brake lines; manually adjustable suspension; 3.73 rear axle ratio; easy fuel capless filler; and a race-inspired clutch and the short-throw, close ratio six-speed gearbox. Safety gear includes: Advancetrac with Electronic Stability Control, dual front and side airbags, LATCH child safety system, Securilock pass anti theft, tire pressure monitor system, SOS post crash alert system, integrated spotter mirrors and MYKEY.
My test 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 came with a base sticker set at $40,145. While the Recaro seat/Torsen differential package and Destination and Delivery charges bumped the final total to $42,990. The exterior was sprayed Kona Blue metallic and featured the Boss 302 graphics in White (Black is alternately available depending upon the base exterior color?.
The 2012 Mustang Boss 302 is unquestionably the quickest, best-handling straight production Mustang ever offered by Ford. Every system was designed to make a good driver great and a great driver even better. The GT, on which the Boss 302 is based, cranked out a respectable 412 horsepower. The special attention and tweaking by the performance team was able to boost that to 444 horses. The Boss even sounds better up front, thanks to a retuned intake system – a retuned induction tube enhances that sound. The exhaust consists of a unique quad system, with two outlets exiting conventionally in the rear, with the other two exiting to either side of the exhaust crossover, sending the spent gasses through a set of metal discs that serve as tuning elements before the pipes terminate ahead of the rear wheel opening.
Addressing the ride and handling qualities, the Boss mandate was to improve the worthy GT’s suspension and steering to a higher level. Brakes and tires were another area of focus with 19-inch staggered Pirelli P-Zeros wrapping the lightweight 10-spoke alloy wheels (9-inches wide up front and 9.5-inches aft).
I wasn’t able to pilot my test Boss 302 on a track, so it was difficult, though necessary to exercise discretion while driving on the street. Romp on the throttle, and the Boss 302 accelerates off the line with abandon. Defeating the Traction Control system makes for more fun, but smoking the tires in town is generally frowned upon by Officer Friendly, and I didn’t feel comfortable wearing out the expensive Pirellis prematurely either.
Performance-wise, the Boss 302 is awesome – a joy to drive, bolstering one’s driving ability, or at least giving that impression. The graphics though distinctive, bordered on ostentatious from my perspective, but they did draw attention. The exhaust rumble was beyond impressive – it’s in fact incredible.
The 2012 Mustang Boss 302 is a winner as it is, but should you find it lacking in any way, there will be a limited number of Boss 302 Laguna Seca models available aimed more at on-track racers, and commemorating Parnelli Jones’ win of the1970 Trans-Am season opener at the legendary track in a Boss 302. The Laguna Seca model will be stiffer, firmer and will feature an aerodynamics package carried over almost in its entirety from the Ford Racing Boss 302R.