Nice piece on the Boss 302 Mustang, a plasticy Ford that “simply slaughters asphalt.” 0 to 60 miles in the low 4’s is astounding at under $50k . . .
“The Boss’s problem is an interesting one: The car’s performance is so ridiculously stout, smart, evolved, so beyond reasonable expectations, it really belongs to a sports coupe costing twice as much, which you’d think would be a source of great pride of ownership. But then you start looking around the cabin and realize, crestfallen, it’s still just a Mustang. This model—a dead-ringer tribute to the Boss 302 of 1969-70, a track-prepped road car sold to meet the production-car rules for the SCCA’s Trans Am series—is so good it actually highlights the cheezy remnants of the Mustang donor car (base price around $23,000), e.g., the plasticky interior, the econo-box center stack of switches, World-of-Playskool speedo and tach.
This thing drives like it should have Breitling gauges and Boeing controls. It should be skinned with ermine and antelope and equipped with floor mats made of Blogojevich hair . . .
The Boss’s 5.0-liter V8 (the time-honored 302 cubic inches of displacement, in case you’re curious) is based on the GT’s engine, but it’s built up and blueprinted so that it is essentially a different machine. With a hardened crank, journals and rod bearings, sodium-filled valves, forged pistons, polished ports, and lightweight valveware—not to mention the velocity stack-like runners hidden in the intake plenum—this chipped-and-cammed V8 soars and sings with an ornery joy the stock engine doesn’t have. It’s not simply the 32-horsepower difference in output; it’s the snarling tessitura, the free-revving elasticity, and of course the big butt-whacks of torque that hit you in first through fourth as you stir the gears to 7,500 rpm redline. Ya-freakin’-hoo.”
Base price: $41,105
Price as tested: $43,000 (est.)
Powertrain: Naturally aspirated, dual-overhead cam, 32-valve V8 with variable valve timing; six-speed manual transmission; rear-wheel drive with limited-slip differential
Horsepower/torque: 444 hp at 7,400 rpm/380 pound-feet at 4,500 rpm
Length/weight: 188.1 inches/3,600 pounds (est.)
0-60 mph: 4.2 seconds (est.)
Wheelbase: 107.1 inches
EPA fuel economy: 17/26 mpg, city/highway
Cargo capacity: 13.4 cubic feet
Video after the jump