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The 2012 Boss 302 Ford Mustang

It’s Like 1969 All Over Again

By

2012 Boss 302 Mustang

2012 Boss 302 Mustang

Photo © Ford Motor Company
Test Drive: 2012 Boss 302 Mustang | Photos

After much anticipation, Ford has announced they will offer a limited number of street legal Boss 302 Ford Mustangs to the general public. Ford pulled out all the stops with the new 302. This includes improved engine output, improved braking power, and an adjustable suspension. The end result is a street-legal Mustang that was built for the race track.

Highlights

  • 444 hp and 380 lb.-ft. of torque
  • Unique quad exhaust system
  • Optional TracKey Option
  • Adjustable shocks and struts
  • Removable attenuation discs for More Rumble
"The decision to build a modern Boss was not entered into lightly," said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. "The entire team at Ford felt the time was right and with the right ingredients, the world-class 2011 Mustang could support a successful, race-bred, worthy successor to the original Boss 302. For us that meant a production Mustang that could top one of the world's best - the 2010 BMW M3 - in lap times at Laguna Seca. We met our expectations."

Power and Performance

That's right. We're talking about a Mustang that can give the BMW M3 a run for its money. That said, what makes it all that? Well, with a top speed of 155 mph, the car is fast. The modified 5.0L engine is capable of outputting 444 hp and 380 lb.-ft. of torque, while still offering a smooth idle and low-end torque for comfortable around-town driving. All that power reaches the wheels via a 3.73 ratio rear axle using carbon fiber plates in the limited-slip differential to improve torque handling and longevity. Looking for even more? A torque-sensing (Torsen) limited-slip differential is an available option that comes with Recaro front seats. The car's racing clutch features upgraded friction materials which help transmit power. A short-throw, close-ratio six-speed manual transmission tops it off.

"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.

In addition to a modified 5.0L V8 engine with respectable power, the 2012 BOSS 302 Mustang will feature an optional TracKey which can utilize a dual action PCM to unleash the full race mode in the Boss Mustang's computer. Ford says this consists of adjusting 200 engine mapping functions resulting in increased low end torque, dual stage launch control, and lumpy idle.

“From an engine management standpoint, we’ve done just about everything possible to give TracKey users a full race car experience,” explains Jeff Seaman, Mustang powertrain engineer. “It’s not for use on the street – for example, the deceleration is set up to preserve the brakes, and the throttle response is very aggressive. A skilled driver on a closed course will really appreciate the benefits.”

As part of the TracKey software package, Ford engineers also devised a two-stage launch control feature similar to that used on the Cobra Jet race car. Using a combination of steering wheel buttons, drivers can set the tach needle to a desired launch rpm. Floor the throttle and the engine will rev to the preset rpm until the clutch is released, helping aid acceleration and vehicle control from a standing start.

In all, the option adds TracMode powertrain control software to the car for track use, providing full race calibration and two-stage launch control in addition to stock calibration. This option does not void the car's warranty, and owners can switch back to the tamer, normal key, when they wish. The TracKey will be available at local Ford dealerships.

Muscle Car Rumble

There's more to this Boss 302 than just a powerful engine. The car sings sweet muscle car sounds via its unique quad exhaust system. Two outlets exit in the rear similar to those found on a standard Mustang GT. Here's where it gets interesting. The other two outlets exit to either side of the exhaust crossover, sending exhaust through a set of metal discs that act as tuning elements before the pipes terminate just ahead of the rear wheel opening.

"With an exhaust system, we have to consider three constraints: legal noise restrictions; backpressure, which can rob power; and ground clearance," explains Shawn Carney, Mustang NVH engineer. "Since the 2011 Mustang GT exhaust is already so free-flowing - it came in way under our backpressure targets - we already had excellent performance; we were able to tune the exhaust system for a unique sound. Combined with the rush of the intake, the exhaust system really envelops the driver in V8 sound."

Okay, let's say you're looking for even more rumble. Ford thought of this and designed removable attenuation discs. "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," Carney said. "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." Rock and roll.

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