Mustang brings back The Boss for 2012

Coming in the Spring of 2012

The Boss Mustang is hitting the streets once again in the form of the track-oriented Boss 302 unveiled at the Rolex Historic Races at Laguna Seca. According to the company, the 2012 Mustang Boss 302 is the “quickest, best-handling straight-production Mustang ever offered by Ford.” It pays homage to its track-star forebears by lightening and strengthening key components, juicing up the engine, and wrapping it all in the vintage color schemes that Boss Mustangs are known for still today.

Aerodynamic changes include a deeper front air dam and a rear spoiler. Not accidentally, the changes stylistically connect the new car to its predecessor, right down to the livery, including Competition Orange, Performance White, Kona Blue, Yellow Blaze, or Race Red. These are offset by white or black C-stripes and a matching roof.

Inside, however, the 2012 Boss 302 couldn’t be less like the original—today’s UPS trucks come with more creature comforts than most track-oriented muscle cars from the late 1960s.

The new Boss models receive an Alcantara-covered steering wheel, dark metallic dash and door panels, a black shift knob, and cloth seats with “suede-like” center inserts.

 The GT500’s Recaro front bucket seats are optional. Eleven pounds of sound-deadening material are missing, to allow more of the engine’s uniquely tuned exhaust sound to fill the cabin.

What a Difference Four Decades can Make!

While the ’69 Boss 302 may be the stuff of legends, by modern standards, its (claimed) 290 hp at 5800 and 290 lb-ft of torque at 4300 rpm is less power and only marginally more torque than the 2011 Mustang’s V-6, never mind the brawny V-8 powering the GT. In the Boss, the GT’s 5.0-liter is upgraded with new intake runners, revised camshafts, and more aggressive engine controls, raising output from the 412 hp to 440. Torque drops slightly, from 390 lb-ft to 380.

The power gets to the wheels via a short-throw six-speed manual transmission with a beefed-up clutch, while the rear end packs a 3.73:1 axle ratio and carbon-fiber plates within the limited-slip differential.

One of the most interesting features of the 2012 Boss 302 is its quad exhaust system, developed to give the car a unique sound.

The two primary pipes exiting the rear handle most of the exhaust gases, while two smaller pipes branch off from the exhaust crossover and exit discreetly along the lower body sides, just in front of the rear wheels, sending gases through a set of metal discs that generate unique sounds. Should the owner live somewhere with more lax noise regulations, the plates can easily be removed in favor of aftermarket dump valves.

In its quest to turn the Boss 302 into what it calls “a race car with a license plate,” Ford upgraded the GT’s suspension with stiffer springs and bushings, adjustable shocks, and a thicker rear anti-roll bar. Ride height drops 11 mm up front and 1 in the rear. As with the original Boss 302, shock adjustment is done manually—in this case via a screw atop each shock tower—among five stiffness settings.

The Mustang’s electric steering system has also been reworked, giving the driver a choice of three feedback settings—Comfort, Normal, and Sport. Traction and stability-control systems are reprogrammed to offer a choice of full engagement, no engagement at all, or an intermediate sport mode.

The 302’s black-painted wheels measure 19 by 9 inches in front and 19 by 9.5 in back; wrapped by 255/40 front and 285/35 rear Pirelli PZeros. The GT’s optional Brembo brakes are upgraded with high-performance pads and unique ABS calibration.

Ford’s performance claims for the 2012 Boss 302 include cornering capability in excess of 1.0 g, shorter stopping distances than provided by the GT—even with its available brake upgrade—and a 155-mph top speed. Ford declined to provide acceleration figures, but the 302 should handily beat the 2011 Mustang GT’s marks of 4.6 seconds from standstill to 60 mph and 13.2 seconds through the quarter-mile at 109 mph. Whatever the time, it will certainly best the ’69 Boss 302’s 6.5 seconds to 60 and 14.9-second quarter-mile at 93 mph. (That seemed much faster back then.)

Lighter and Tighter: Laguna Seca Edition

Additionally, Ford is launching an even more exclusive “Boss 302 Laguna Seca” model for the harder-core buyer. It ditches the rear seat and some creature comforts while additionally stiffening the body and suspension, and carrying over the aerodynamics package from the Ford Racing Boss 302R almost unchanged.

The 2012 Mustang Boss 302 and 302 Laguna Seca hit dealerships sometime in 2011 at a price yet to be determined. Figure around $36,000 for the base 302 and upwards of $40,000 for the Laguna Seca. Considering that Ford isn’t having any trouble finding homes for its $50,000 Shelby GT500s, we expect the limited-edition Bosses to likewise go very quickly.

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