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Easily the best muscle car money can currently buy you

Our Verdict

Ford Mustang V8 Fastback

The Ford Mustang is available in the UK in right-hand drive for the first time, but does the rest of this American muscle car fit the UK car scene?

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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.

Read our review of the 2013 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500

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.

Throttle and brake pedal response is perfectly judged and the pedals set up well for healing and toeing, whilst the steering is also nicely weighted and brings with it a decent level of feedback. Truthfully, this is a car that any enthusiast should see the appeal to. Ford has managed to strike a brilliant balance between the classic, heavy-duty feel of the Mustang whilst also enhancing it in every way with an indulgent motor and new-found levels of handling deftness.

As already mentioned, this is not the precision tool that you can find in comparable cars, but it is a car that delivers if you’re willing to work at it. For many, the slightly edgy element to the Mustang – that knowledge that it is still something that falls on the naughty side of anti-social and demands some respect in the way it’s handled, is only more of a draw to all the other very blatant attractions of the Boss 302.

Should I buy one?

Er, yes. Assuming you have a soul and a sense of fun, you probably don’t need us to confirm that. The really good thing about this Mustang is that it moves the goal posts in terms of what we should expect of muscle cars in the 21st century, without diluting all those things about the breed that will hopefully always define it. Of course, if you do want one of these utterly brilliant cars then you’ll have to import it from America, which means left-hand drive only and a bill that is likely to stack up to well over £42,000. For the performance that’s not too much to ask, let alone for the sort of unfettered delights that the Boss 302 offers.

Ford Mustang Boss 302

Price: £42,000 (est after import); 0-62mph: 5.0sec; Top speed: 156mph (est); Co2: na; Economy: na; Kerbweight: 1647kg; Engine: V8, 4951cc, petrol; Installation: Front, longitudinal, rwd; Power: 440bhp at 7500rpm; Torque: 380lbft; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
11

4 August 2011

If you want a really good muscle car, go to Australia - not America. Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore (General Motors) are better muscle cars than their American counterparts. As a bonus, the Australian products are right hand drive. E

4 August 2011

Well, by the sounds of it the Mustang 302 is an excellent muscle car and, to my eyes anyway, looks far more charismatic and desirable than its Australian counterparts.

4 August 2011

[quote Overdrive]Well, by the sounds of it the Mustang 302 is an excellent muscle car and, to my eyes anyway, looks far more charismatic and desirable than its Australian counterparts.[/quote] +1 My missus is from NZ and the whilst the Holdens and Fords are great to drive and live with, they just don't have the visual/emotional desirability of the Mustang/Charger/Camaro etc I do like the Commodores though, even the recent one that looks like its had a trip to the Halfords moulded bodykit bin.

4 August 2011

No matter how good this is for me the definitive muscle car is the Dodge Challenger. Of course it is nowhere near in terms of handling but its looks the 6.4 V8 hemi and the heritage mark it out for me. Bad guys always drove challengers make it -of course- much cooler.

4 August 2011

Brother has looked in to the importation of the Mustang, although not too seriously. However, he did find out that you can get them converted to RHD. One of the best places is in South Africa apparently!

Now, isn't a RHD Mustang tempting?

As for the Australian options, I do like them. I'd like to see Vauxhall selling them as a Holden sub-brand; it would be good for both brands as I'd never buy a Vauxhall. Also would like Ford to bring them in too. Their range needs some mojo!

4 August 2011

At least you could say it's a Mustang that's getting back to what a Mustang was looks wise in the 60's&70's rather than these superhero interpretations.


Peter Cavellini.

4 August 2011

Autocar, how about a test on Ford's FPV range of cars in australia?

Ford use the base Coyote (this engine in the Mustang) and supercharge it down in OZ giving 450hp in their GT saloon, quite a feat considering the size of the market over there (small). They also have a 4.0L turbocharged six giving 420hp in the F6. Many regard these cars as far superior to the Holden (read Vauxhall Monaro) vehicles and I think the Autocar reader would love to read about them irrespective of whether they are sold in this country or not....after all you tested the Mustang and I can;t buy that..

Oh and the Falcon has independant rear suspension too unlike the unforgivable live axle in the stang and are engineered by Prodrive.

4 August 2011

The ability and worth of American cars is all relative though, innit? http://funsverylimited.blogspot.com/2011/08/american-dream.html

4 August 2011

0-60 in 5? Maybe if you put three whoppers with cheese and a six pack of Budweiser in the tank. Car and Driver got to 60 in 4.3 and 100 in 10.0, Motor Trend did 4.0 and 9.2.

5 August 2011

Ahh, that edgy character, a true old-school hero! The production will end in Q1 2013, and probably a global model will follow, with IRS, EU spec pedestrian safety and all that. I'm aiming to buy one of these V8 models before it ceases production. How about getting it delivered to San Francisco, driving it all the way to NYC, and then ship it back to the old continanet as a used car?

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