Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsCar Reviews
2012 Mustang Boss 302 - Boss Is Back
Living on the street and strip with the ’12 Boss 302
Finally, it was go time. I inserted the "Red" key, which unlocks a series of calibration parameters in the computer, such as snappier throttle actuation, over the standard ignition key, and I disengaged the traction control before I laid down a short Second-gear burnout. Shallow staged, I revved the 302 to 4,000 rpm and let it fly with a quick, controlled release of the clutch. The M/T tires dug in hard and the nose climbed, all of which caused the Boss to bog. The launch wasn't optimal, but the power came on quickly and the tach went zipping towards redline. The factory-modded 5.0L mill is "totally beast," acting like one of much grander displacement. It flat pulls and sounds good doing so. At 7,400, I nailed Second, Third, then I held on for a stint before ripping it back one more time. I went for Fourth, but sadly, I got the busy signal! Not happy, I jammed it quickly in gear and cruised to a not-so-stellar 12.42 at 110 mph. Thanks to the extra 500 rpm offered with the Boss, shifting into Fifth was not necessary. Despite missing a gear, the run was still 0.01 quicker than I ran in mineshaft conditions in a stock Terminator. That's amazing. Hey, we're not dissin' the beloved SVT Cobra-just sayin'.
Assuming you don't melt the clutch down on launch, hot-lapping the Boss won't harm it. It made max power (401) on our Dynojet at operating temperature; knowing that, I went right back to line.
This time I was "in the zone, chief." After another quick burnout, I staged dead shallow and jacked the engine to just under 5,000 rpm before cutting it loose. I traded feet more aggressively this time, but I didn't use a total clutch dump. I got the clutch out quickly though, with an assertive motion, and just as I felt the weight transfer from front to back, I matted the gas. Boss and I were off and running with nary a chirp from the M/Ts.
With the power "full-on" the nose stayed up; just before redline, I kicked the clutch and ripped the stock shifter back for all it was worth. There was a mighty bark from the tires and before I knew, it the engine was back at redline. I rammed my hand nearly straight forward to get Third and then straight back for high gear. This time the call went through and I was rewarded with a 12.07 at 113.93 mph.
In this world of 500-600hp street muscle it's easy to be jaded, but 12.0/113 is quick in any book. I was pleased, but not satisfied. I knew it was a really clean run (with a 1.75 60-foot time and three nice shifts), but despite being just 0.08 from the 11s, the barrier wasn't going to be broken on this night.
We tried our best to shave that precious e.t., using a higher launch and adjusting the front struts from the stock setting of "3" to the loosest setting. We even clocked a 1.73 60-footer on one pass, but the weather was not playing to our favor. By 8 p.m. you could wipe the moisture off the car with your hand. Engines can't burn water, so the deluge of humidity killed any chance at 11s. Our next-best run was a 12.08-on that run we did crack 114 mph, but I attribute the speed to the lack of a headwind that we faced earlier in the night. Still, 114 mph is not too shabby for a 3,800-pound stocker with no power adder.
Ford not only captured the essence of what the Boss stands for-it has clearly overachieved. This model has everything you'd expect from a modern performance car and then some. It is truly a driver's car that will attack every cell in your body, whether you're on a famed road course, cruising the beach, or your favorite dragstrip. Add 4.30s, slicks, skinnies, and a tune and mid-11s would be a breeze!