Sex on Wheels: Track Time With a Boss 302!
by Patrick Rall
The 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 is being billed as the best handling factory-built Mustang of all time--a big claim from just one in an incredible lineup of historic performance cars. The 2012 Boss 302 has become an instant classic with performance capabilities to back up those claims. And should a prospective Boss buyer want optimum performance, there is the Boss 302 Laguna Seca Edition that includes enhanced suspension parameters and some other goodies to make it every bit as comfortable on the road course as it is on the open road.
The Mustang community has responded to the 2012 Mustang Boss 302 like no other Mustang trim line in recent history, and many of those new Boss buyers have taken these modern muscle cars to the track to flex their muscles. Recently, I had a chance to get behind the wheel of the 2012 Boss 302 and Boss 302 Laguna Seca at Ford's Proving Grounds for a little test time to experience just how incredible the new Boss really is, and after spending an hour tearing around a short yet intricate autocross course the first thing that comes to mind is--holy $#17..the Boss is awesome.
When I arrived at Ford's Romeo Proving Grounds, I was taken to the massive tarmac that serves as Ford's vehicle dynamics testing area. There was a large area with an autocross course laid out in traditional orange cones and sitting amidst that sea of cones was a pair of 2012 Mustang Boss 302s--one "normal" Boss 302 in Yellow Blaze Metallic Tri Coat with black stripes and the other being the vicious looking Black and red Boss 302 Laguna Seca. Each Boss had a Ford engineer riding shotgun to answer any questions (as well as offering advice during my track time) and after I got fitted up with a Simpson racing helmet and safety hood, I was loaded into the Yellow Blaze Boss 302.
Both of the 2012 Mustang Boss 302 models provided for my seat time were in full stock form - right down to the tires. Each of the new Boss Mustangs had their unique cutout exhaust systems opened up and when we fired up the 444 horsepower Boss 5.0, it roared to life with an awe-inspiring grumble. We started from a dead stop with a straightaway long enough to get into the higher end of 2nd gear led into a mid left followed by a short, sweeping turn. Later into the course, a short straight led us into another quick left, followed by another long sweeping right that directed us into a set of tight slaloms. From those, it was onto a very long left that allowed us to generate good speed before heading into the longest straightaway (allowing the Boss 302 to get into 3rd gear) before tearing across the finish line.
The standard 2012 Mustang Boss 302 handled the autocross course very well with very minor understeer through the longer, high speed turns but in the tight turns the Boss 302 cornered beautifully and even when pushing the Boss hard through the slalom it held its position with only the most severe steering wheel inputs causing the car to slide. The Boss felt fantastic and sounded even better with the Yellow Blaze Tri Coat bringing about that "black and yellow" love but after my time in the standard Boss I climbed aboard the Boss 302 Laguna Seca.
While taking the Boss 302 Laguna Seca through this autocross course over and over, I learned that this Boss would just keep on taking more. It didn't matter how hard I threw the it into the longer turns--anywhere the front wheels pointed, the Boss went. I have driven a great many performance cars in my day but I've never felt a stock, street-legal car that handled like the Boss 302 Laguna Seca. The only time this Boss faltered was when I powered too hard through the turns and got to spinning the tires and in the tight turns, the Boss Laguna Seca ripped us around the cones with the precision of that little needle in your Etch-A-Sketch. In fact, the only time the Boss 302 Laguna Seca was anything less than perfect was when I got too hard into the throttle as even in the long straightaways, hammering the throttle in 2nd gear was enough to roast the tires and get the back end sliding.
While some high priced exotics from the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini might offer a similarly capable sports car in stock form, the 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca does it for just $48,100 and until the Camaro ZL1 hits later this year - the Boss 302 Laguna Seca is the king of the American muscle car hill. Even when the ZL1 does arrive, the Boss 302 will still offer comparable handling capabilities without he massive price tag expected from the new high end Camaro.
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