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The Boss is back: Iconic Ford Mustang reborn

Fri, 13 Aug 2010

WITH VIDEO--Soon to be thundering down an open road near you is the resurrected Ford Mustang Boss 302.

Based on the 5.0-liter Mustang GT, the 2012 version of the muscle-car classic was revealed on Friday at Laguna Seca, where Parnelli Jones won the 1970 Trans-Am season opener in a Boss 302.

The new Mustang builds on the iconic Bosses famous for their looks and performance in the late '60s and early '70s. But Ford is quick to point out the new Boss 302 is more than a trip down memory lane. The 5.0-liter V8 is upgraded to 440 hp--an increase of 28 hp over the version in the GT, thanks to a new intake and revised camshafts. With engine tuning to maximize rpm, the torque rating for the Boss engine is 380 lb-ft, down 10 lb-ft from the GT version.

The engine is paired with a close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox. Top speed is 155 mph. This Boss 302 is the first non-SVT model to pull more than 1 g of lateral acceleration. On road courses, the Boss is said to better the GT's lap times by two seconds.

The Boss 302 is dressed with sinister looks to match its performance capabilities, and designers attempted to craft the spiritual successor to the 1969 car. There is a unique fascia and grille and a lower front splitter that's similar to what's used on the 302R racer. The splitter cuts down on underbody drag and front-end lift. There also are blocked-off fog-lamp openings. The appearance is set off by a black or white roof panel to match the side stripe, and the body comes in striking shades of orange, blue, white, yellow and, of course, racing red.

"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," Mustang chief engineer Dave Pericak said in a statement. "We were either going to do it right or not do it at all--no one on the team was going to let Boss become a sticker-and-wheel package."

Inside is an Alcantara suede Boss steering wheel, a dark instrument panel, a cue-ball shifter and optional Recaro seats borrowed from the GT500.

In addition to the appearance, Ford engineers paid special attention to the sound of the Boss, and the V8 will emit a throaty roar through a quad exhaust system. Sound discs were added to tone down the growl, but they can be removed.

The Boss 302 is also enhanced with a list of performance upgrades to the steering and chassis. It's lowered 11 millimeters front and 1 millimeter rear compared with the GT and gets adjustable shocks and struts. There also are stiffer suspension bushings, high-rate springs and a larger rear stabilizer bar. The Boss rolls on black 19-inch alloy racing wheels wrapped in Pirelli PZero rubber. The braking distance is reduced from the conventional car with four-piston Brembo calipers in front and enhanced pad compounds rear.

And if all of this isn't enough, Ford will also offer a limited-edition Boss 302 Laguna Seca model with a stiffer body, firmer chassis and racing aero package.

Watch Ford videos of the Mustang Boss 302 and Laguna Seca:

By Greg Migliore