Test Drive: 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 car test drives reviews ford
2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302. Click image to enlarge

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Ford Motor Company of Canada

Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

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2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302

I met Ford’s vice president of Global Product Development, Derrick Kuzak, at a Lincoln event almost a year ago. He talked excitedly of a new Mustang variant they were developing. It was to be a thinly disguised track car. It was going to beat the benchmark BMW M3 around the famed Laguna Seca race track. It was to bear the name of arguably the most legendary ‘Stang ever to turn a wheel.

The 2012 Boss 302 is here. And with a high-revving naturally-aspirated 444-hp 5.0-litre Coyote V8, this snout-to-tailpipe re-engineered Mustang is all those things.

But is it a car you can live with on a day-to-day basis? And at $48,199 is it worth nearly 10 grand more than the 412-hp Mustang 5.0 GT?

Test Drive: 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 car test drives reviews ford
2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302. Click image to enlarge

After some time behind the wheel of a Kona Blue model equipped with the optional Recaro seats ($1,600) and Torsen helical differential ($500), I’d have to say, “Hell yeah!” on both counts.

On first blush, you’re looking at this Mustang with its lowered ride height (11 mm in front, 1 mm in back), staggered 19-inch Pirelli P-Zero rubber, traditional live rear axle and thinking, “This bad boy is going to turn my innards into muesli.”

Not so much. Settle into the fabric Recaro seat and immediately you appreciate its comfort and support. The interior looks little changed (read: cheap) save for the billiard ball shift knob and Alcantara trimmed steering wheel. Yup. It’s a Mustang.

Then you turn the key. The V8 barks to life and sends some feral shivers through the cabin. This DOHC V8 has had a thorough going-over, getting forged aluminum pistons, lightened valve gear, new intake plenum, aggressive camshafts and ported and polished heads. The 380 lb.-ft. of torque is actually down 10 from the standard car, but the redline jumps from 7,000 to 7,500 rpm.

During development, a dedicated team worked on tuning the Boss 302’s aural characteristics. I hope they were knighted.

Test Drive: 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 car test drives reviews ford
2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302. Click image to enlarge

Underhood, a retuned induction sound tube transmits some of that action to the cabin, while an additional set of side pipes coming from the exhaust crossover direct some flow through a set of metal discs that act as tuning elements, before exiting just ahead of the rear wheel openings. (For track duty, these discs are easily removed.)

This all combines to add a menacing, metallic sonic edge to the V8 that escalates to one of the more scintillating expressions of Detroit muscle as pedal meets metal. While blipping the throttle in my driveway, I could see curtains parting down the street and squirrels heading back into hibernation.

This is a car you’ll be driving with the windows down – in February.

Job one for me was taking three 13-year-old girls to school.

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