The Boss 302 Mustang is Back. Was 440hp Worth the Wait?
The phrase, “I’m going to get the new Boss 302 next year.” hasn’t been said since 1969. 1970 was the last year the Ford Mustang Boss 302 was sold. It was a lightweight, high-powered car made to compete in Trans Am racing. It was built to take on the Camaro, which had won the series for two years running. The Boss 302 changed that, winning the championship in 1970.
And now it’s back. Ford has announced the 2012 Mustang Boss 302. 40 years ago the Boss had its sites trained on the Camaro and the Trans-Am Championship and it conquered both. This time its sights are set a little higher than the latest Camaro. Make the jump to check out the specs, and watch teaser videos.
Before we get to the new 302’s target, let’s talk about the goods. Regarding the 40 year wait for a new 302, Chief Mustang Engineer Dave Pericak put it best, “We were either going to do it right or not do it at all-no one on the team was going to let Boss become a sticker and wheel package.” Mr. Pericak, we salute you. Too many companies rush out “special editions” that are called King Arthur, but are as deadly as a NERF sword. Not so with the new 302. Ford is claiming it’s their best track-ready Mustang ever.
The 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 will be fitted with everyone’s new favorite engine; the 5.0 Liter “Coyote”, currently found in the Mustang GT. But being a special edition, you know it’s not exactly the same. New cams and a refined intake bump horsepower from 412 to a ruckus 440hp, with torque unchanged at 390lb ft. The 302 also gets an upgraded clutch, a short-shifter, thicker sway bars, adjustable suspension and big 14″ Brembo brakes. Hardly all “show” and no “go.” The interior is similar to the GT’s, but with new black panels and optional Recaro seats.
There will also be a special “Boss 302 Laguna Seca Model” that gets a stiffer body and chassis, and a special 302 R Aerodynamics Pack.
Now sometimes car companies will take lots of great pieces (brakes, suspension, etc) slap them on the car, and the result is as capable as Ashely Simpson. Not so with Ford and the 302. How’s this for success? 1.0g on the skid pad. Not only is the 302 not just a sticker/wheel combo, it’s also more than a muscle car. Handling like that elevates it to the status of proper sports car.
It’s this kind of performance that has Ford looking to take down an unexpected target: The BMW M3. Ford had one on-hand at Laguna Seca Raceway during testing, and at the end of the day the 302 had beaten the M3’s lap-time. The M3 may be about 30hp down from the 302, but with an MSRP of $60,000 it’s price certainly has the win. In the past, cross-shopping an M3 and a Mustang was as likely as debating between buying the Louis Vitton set or a Jansport backpack.
Ford hasn’t released an official price for any of the 302 models yet, but hopefully it won’t be too far above the GT. As they proved in 1970, when Ford sets their mind to something, watch out. Ford set out to take the already-awesome Mustang GT and make it faster, nimbler and more track capable, and so far as we can tell they have. So a cautionary word to all those M3 drivers out there; watch out. The 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 may elevate the intensity of your next track day.
2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Teaser
2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca Model
2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302