2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302

The 2012 Mustang Boss 302 was unveiled at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The concept of special one-off performance Mustangs is an old one; the first Boss 302 debuted more than 40 years ago. The new Boss seems like a throwback in more ways than a unique paint job, though. Ford removed 11 pounds of sound-deadening material to bring more of the engine and exhaust noise into the cabin.

Power from the 5.0-liter V8 is up to 440– 28 more than the standard 5.0 — horsepower and 380 lb-feet of torque thanks to revised cams, new intake and a tweaked ECU. Following the power flow, the engine’s hooked to a six-speed manual with a short shifter, 3:73 gears and then your choice of the standard limited slip or an optional Torsen unit. After that? Pirelli Pzeros: 255/40ZR19s for the front, 285/25ZR19 out back.

To ensure a sporty ride, Ford added higher-rate coil springs, stiffer suspension bushings, and a beefier rear stabilizer. While that’s fairly standard stuff, the company also installed a speed-sensitive electronic steering system (with three modes: Comfort, normal and sport), defeatable traction control / electronic stability control systems, and adjustable shocks (with five manual settings) and struts.

The electric power steering can be adjusted for three levels of assist from the instrument cluster menu. Traction, stability, and anti-lock control systems are also reprogrammed for the Boss’ track-star mission. Special lightweight 19-inch wheels 9.0 x 19 front/9.5 x 19 rear, shod in Pirelli PZero summer rubber, frame the same 14.0-inch Brembo front/stock 11.8-inch rear brakes, though the rear calipers are fitted with Performance Friction pads, and the brake shields are vented. Even the flexible brake lines have been reinforced so they expand 30-40 percent less than the GT’s, to preserve a reassuringly firm brake-pedal feel. While the principal improvement is meant to be in fade resistance and pedal feel, stopping distances from 60 mph are also said to shrink by 3 feet. On the skidpad, Ford claims the Boss is the first non-SVT Mustang to exceed 1.0g lateral grip.