2012 Boss 302 Mustang Named One Of Automobile Magazine’s All-Stars

For the second year in a row the Ford Mustang has been honored with a spot in the Automobile Magazine All-Stars. Last year Automobile chose the 2011 Mustang GT due in part to its new 5.0L V8, calling it the year’s “knock out blow” that kept a “big, fat grin off your face when you’re behind the wheel”. While it’s not that hard for us Mustang loyalists to believe it’s probably a hard pill to swallow for the Mustang’s competitors that it was chosen yet again. This year Automobile chose the 2012 Mustang Boss 302 naming it the best Mustang ever!

The Boss 302 is the best Mustang ever, but that’s merely a footnote to the real story. The big news is that Ford’s newest bad boy not only puts an epic whupping on its traditional rivals — we’re talking to you, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger — but also stands tall against perennial bullies like the BMW M3.

The 5.0 liter V8 found in the Mustang GT has been upgraded with a new intake manifold, forged rods and pistons, high lift cams, and other hot rod hocus pocus to produce 444 hp at a free revving 7400 rpm. Straight line enthusiasts will geek over 0-60 mph times near four seconds flat and quarter mile blasts in the mid twelves. But even more impressive is how well the Boss handles despite a live rear axle seemingly designed when Henry Ford was a young punk. The standard model benefits from stiffer springs, a beefier rear antiroll bar, and five-position manually adjustable dampers. Or you can upgrade to the Laguna Seca package, which includes rear seats replaced by an X-brace to improve structural rigidity, snug-fitting Recaro seats, grippy 19″ R-compound PZero Corsa tires, a serious front splitter, a hefty rear wing, brake cooling ducts, and a Torsen differential. Although the $7000 premium sounds pricey, this gives you a $48,000 track day car that can crush competitors costing twice as much.

Yet the Boss manages this feat without overwhelming the driver. On the contrary, everything about it just feels right, the Alcantara steering wheel, the confidence inspiring Brembo brakes, the close ratio short throw six-speed manual with the throwback ball shift knob. Oh and it also looks pretty sweet and sounds positively wicked, and that’s before getting rid of the easily removable exhaust baffles. The new Boss many not ever be worth as much as the original 302 sold in 1969 and 1970 but it might make you king of the hill in 2012.

Other 2012 Automobile Magazine All Stars include the Audi TT RS, BMW 3-series, Dodge Charger, Ferrari 458, Ford Focus, Honda Odyssey, Porsche Boxster and Cayman, Range Rover Evoque and Volkswagen Golf.