2012 Mustang Boss 302 Surfaces with More Power and Better Handling

Photos: Ford Motor Company and AutoBlog.com

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Ford's runners-in-the-box plenum/velocity stack combination intake

There have been good times to be a Ford employee and there have been some bad ones as well. For Team Mustang, the past few months have probably made up for the times that all of us would just as soon forget. Why? Because the BOSS is back!

Announced today, Ford has taken what has become the most desirable modern Mustang ever built and made it even better. The 2012 Mustang Boss 302 is being upgraded in almost every aspect to create a legend equal to the original. Far from any kind of stripe and scoop package, the changes go to the very heart of the car and cannot be reproduced through tuning and catalog parts.

Race-capable, but still street legal, the development of this special edition Mustang was also overseen by two members of the original BOSS 302 Mustang from 1968.

“The team at Ford wanted to offer their fellow Mustang enthusiasts something really special – a beautifully balanced factory-built race car that they could drive on the street,” explains Dave Pericak, Mustang chief engineer. “The Boss 302 isn’t something a Mustang GT owner can buy all the parts for out of a catalog or that a tuner can get by adding a chip. This is a front-to-back re-engineered Mustang with every system designed to make a good driver great and a great driver even better.”

Power To the Boss

Engine changes lead the field in the list of improvements. Packing 440 hp and 380 ft-lb of torque, the 5.0-liter engine has become a high revving race mill, with a projected redline of 7,500 rpm. Some of the improvements include a new intake system characterized as a “runners-in-the-box plenum/velocity stack combination,” along with more aggressive camshafts and ECU tuning.

Improved friction materials on the new Mustang’s clutch and a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission mate up to a 3.73-geared rear axle to get the job done. An optional Torsen limited slip differential will also be available.

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302: A quad-pipe exhaust system, including subtle side pipes, helps envelop 2012 Boss and Laguna Seca drivers in full V8 sound.

When it comes to thinking outside the box, engineers for the Boss’ exhaust system spent more time there than some others. Every Boss comes with a unique four-outlet exhaust system. From the rear of the car, everything looks pretty normal compared to the 5.0-liter cars. But when you walk around the sides, your brain may not believe what your eyes are telling you. Two additional outlets come off from the X-pipe and exit just ahead of the rear wheel wells. In production form, these pipes contain tuning disks that enhance the exhaust note for a unique Boss sound, but there’s more afoot.

“We added the attenuation discs to meet legal regulations, but we knew buyers might operate these cars in situations where noise regulations weren’t an issue,” explained Shawn Carney, Mustang NVH engineer.

“The disc is removable and includes a spacer plate sized to match aftermarket exhaust dump valves. If an owner wants to add a set of electric valves, they just undo two bolts on either side; the disc and spacer slide out and the valve will slide right in. And the side pipes are tuned so that drivers can run wide-open and the sound levels are comfortable – very aggressive but livable for an all-day track outing.”

Chassis Changes

With a mandate to make this the best handling Mustang ever, the chassis and suspension revisions move the Mustang well toward supercar territory. Lowering the front end by almost a half-inch, adding high rate springs, stiffer busings and a larger rear sway bar is just the beginning. Five-position adjustable shocks and struts allow for a range that covers both street and track usage.

Programming changes to the speed-sensitive electric-assist steering help increase feedback and road feel. Updates to the electronic stability control (ESC) system and the traction control system (TCS) improve performance in challenging situations, and can be completely disabled as well.

Standard rolling stock on the Boss includes lightweight 19-inch wheels, shod with Pirelli P Zero rubber – 255/40ZR-19 tires on 9-inch wide rims in the front and 285/35ZR-19 skins on 9.5-inch wheels out back. According to Ford, lateral grip exceeds 1.0 g. Just behind those black painted rims, you’ll find Brembo four-piston front calipers and 14-inch vented rotors in the front and standard GT hardware in the rear. Special Boss-specific brake pad compounds enhance both feel and performance.

Additional visual distinctions will be found outside the car, as well as inside. But, as it was before, much of what makes the Boss is more than skin deep. “Boss is a hallowed word around here, and we couldn’t put that name on a new Mustang until we were sure everything was in place to make this car a worthy successor,” affirmed Mustang chief engineer, Dave Pericak.

Check out the new Boss video as well, and if that’s not enough for you, wait until we tell you about the Boss 302 Laguna Seca version. How can it get any better? Wait and see!

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