"Don't judge a car by its center stack alone!"4.5 starson by Shane_McG
Pros: Power for days, superb handling, limited edition, runs with cars on the track costing many times more than its selling price
Cons: Dealer "market adjustments" are common, seats need more support for the upper body for serious track use
Summary: It's not too often that I so wholeheartedly disagree with a review of anything, but this is that case. If you are looking for navigation, Bluetooth compatibility, and a multiple disc CD player you aren't the target market for the 2012 Boss 302. If you are looking for a wolf to let loose among the hens on the track, this is the car for you. If you are the sort of driver that could care less that you have to actually swap CDs if you want to change your tunes and that the car lacks Sirius then check the Boss 302 out. This isn't a Shelby GT500, you won't find a dash laden with tech and if that is all you are looking for you are so missing what the Boss 302 has to offer.
If you want to find the tech that the Boss 302 has, you need to look under the hood. The tech comes in the engine of this track beast, the suspension, and the overall balanced feel of the car. This isn't the same engine that you find under the hood of the more common Mustang GT. It may sport the same 5.0L displacement that is legend among the Mustang community that the normal GT has, but that is where the similarities end.
The Boss 302 starts with the same aluminum block and cylinder heads that the base GT gets, and then it gets a few extra helpings of awesome. Everything in the engine is put there for speed, simply to make the car go faster and to make the engine rev higher. Very little is included under the hood that isn't intended to make this car go faster. Sure, the car has air conditioning, no one in their right mind would buy a car today with no AC, but the other parts are pure racecar.
The factory cylinder heads get ported right at the factory for higher flow. The valve springs are beefed up to handle the 7,500 rpm red line (the standard GT stops spinning at 7,000 rpm). The cams are different and the Boss 302 engine (dubbed Road Runner by Ford) has forged internals with a forged crank, forged connecting rods, and forged pistons. This is all done to ensure that the Boss 302 can run at its 7,500 rpm red line all day, every day, and survive.
That extra 500 rpm and the fact that this car is made to spend life seriously on the hoon at the track or drag strip means the car will run hotter, so Ford addressed that too. The radiator in the Boss 302 is larger to cool better. The car comes from the factory with an oil cooler to keep the engine oil cooler, thereby keeping the engine overall running cooler. The transmission has a closer gear ratio set and a shorter throw shifter than normal Mustangs all in the pursuit of speed. Ford even spent time and effort making the oil pan of this car high tech.
The Boss 302 holds more oil and has a larger oil pan than normal GTs do so the oil can flow better at high rpms. The car is made to handle the skid pad at 1G right from the factory. That kind of cornering force will cause oil starvation in less technologically advanced engines. The oil pan in the Boss 302 has special baffles to prevent the oil from sloshing around and moving away from the oil pickup so the engine always gets the oil it needs to race and survive. The only difference between the street Boss 302 engine and the factory Ford Boss 302 racing cars terrorizing BMW and Chevrolet at the racetrack each weekend is a slightly more exotic oil pan with a higher capacity. The Boss 302 is a race car.
The technology spills over to the suspension of the Boss 302. At each corner of the car you will find adjustable dampers and specially designed springs to help the Boss 302 handle the twisters with enough verve to make a M3 driver curse the cars Bavarian lineage. No matter the track conditions, the driver can set the car up for ideal handling. Even the tires are special on the Boss 302, specifically made for the most grip possible without risking sending the driver flying off the road in a rainstorm on the way back from the movies after a day at the track.
The brakes are Brembo on the front only on the Boss 302 since much of the weight is on the front wheels and the front will carry the brunt of the stopping power on the car. Even the brake pads are tweaked by Ford for the ideal balance between stopping the Boss 302 at triple digit speeds on the racetrack and bringing the car to a quiet stop at the red light with just as little effort. Anyone that finds the clutch pedal on the Boss 302 heavy has never driven other manual transmission sports cars. By sports car standards the clutch pedal is crazy soft considering the 444 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque the clutch is designed to hold .
On cars with the Recaro seats inside, you also get a special Torsen differential with 3.73 gear ratio in the rear end. That Torsen differential is all about putting the power to the ground coming out of corners on the racetrack. This car is packed with tech, just not the sort of tech a gadget fiend might expect. Like many things in life, sometimes you get more than what you see at first glance. Sometimes the tech in a car is in places other than the center stack. This is the case with the Boss 302.
The Boss 302 isn't perfect. Spend a day at the track pushing this car hard and you will quickly see that the Recaro seats are very lacking in support for the shoulders and upper body. They are bolstered deeply enough to keep the lower body in place. I will agree that Sync would have been nice, but that is a very minor concession that can be fixed with any number of hands kits on the market today.
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