What is it?
The Ford Mustang Boss 302; the latest evolution of Ford’s all-American muscle car. Some may know the name since it was first used on the iconic 1969 Mustang, which was developed as a race-inspired version of the muscle car, using a high-revving naturally-aspirated motor and various other upgrades to become a benchmark for the Mustang in terms of handling as well as performance.
This new car is developed with the same aim in mind. The 5.0-litre V8 engine has been upgraded with new intake manifold, race-spec crank shaft, forged aluminium pistons and alloy cylinder heads amongst other tweaks, all of which allows it to rev to 7500rpm instead of the 7000rpm that the standard Mustang GT manages.
A short-throw six-speed manual gearbox, larger rear anti-roll bar, lowered springs (11mm at the front, 1mm at the rear) and adjustable shock absorbers finish the package, though you’ll have to get your socket set out and venture under the bonnet for a few minutes if you want to switch between any of the five settings the suspension offers.
What’s it like?
Quite a dramatic departure from the standard car. Ford claim this car can beat the 2010 BMW M3 around Laguna Seca, but that’s fairly irrelevant because the Mustang still falls short of the pliancy that the best German rivals offer on UK roads.
Even with that in mind, the Boss 302 is now a vastly improved car in terms of its handling. It will become unsettled if there are strong cornering forces as well as disturbances in the road’s surface, but it delivers a level of response and balance that should set a new standard for this breed of car.
And you won’t care about the finer points of the Boss 302’s handling because, whilst it does now corner with real poise and focus, it is still the general drama of this car that sells it so easily. The engine is a total joy in every situation. For all that there are sophisticated electronics involved, the V8 still feels, sounds and responds like a proper, old-school motor - just one that has discovered a new, frenetic energy in its willingness to rev right to the red-line. This is certainly not a V8 that you would describe as lazy.