Americans have had a forty-plus-year love affair with the Mustang, and is it any wonder? This is the purest distillation of the American muscle car found anywhere in the U.S. market. The Mustang was completely redesigned two years ago, so styling-wise, it pretty much stands pat for 2012. As for powertrains, the base ‘Stang gets a 3.7-liter V-6 that pumps out 305 hp and is touted as the first 300-plus-hp engine to return 30 mpg, and the GT marks the return of the 5.0-liter V-8 with an impressive 412 hp. At the top of the Mustang lineup is the Shelby GT500, boasting a 550-hp, supercharged V-8 and a price that tops the $50,000 mark. For even sharper performance, an SVT package with special tires, lighter wheels, a higher axle ratio, and stiffer springs is available for the GT500. The new-for-2012 Boss 302 resurrects a historic name and also offers exceptional performance at a price that undercuts the Shelby by some $10,000. If you are a track maven and want a Mustang geared for on-track performance, the Boss 302 Laguna Seca, with a stiffer body, firmer chassis setup, and special aero package, may be for you. The base and GT models can be had with a six-speed manual or a new six-speed automatic, while the Boss 302 and the GT500 come with the manual only. Available as both a coupe and a convertible, this pony is a solid competitor that won’t back down from its Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger competitors.

Drive: Rear-wheel
Trim Levels: V6, GT, Boss 302, Shelby GT500
Body Styles: Coupe, convertible, 2+2-passenger
Engines: 3.7L V-6, 305 hp, 280 lb-ft
5.0L V-8, 412/444 hp, 390/380 lb-ft
5.4L supercharged V-8, 550 hp, 510 lb-ft
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic
Passenger Volume: (coupe/convertible)
83.3/81.0 cu ft
Cargo Space: (coupe/convertible) 13.4/9.6 cu ft

Just when you thought that there was no room in the Mustang lineup for another variation, Ford unveils a new model. For 2012, the Boss 302, one of the most legendary high-performance cars of the past, has been resurrected. It features a Boss-specific 444-hp, 5.0-liter V-8, a firmer suspension, and a quad-pipe exhaust that leaves you with no doubt that this is a car to be reckoned with. The rest of the Mustang lineup sees only minor aesthetic changes.

Front and side air bags are standard, as are ABS, traction and stability control, a tire-pressure monitoring system, programmable MyKey, and integrated blind-spot mirrors. The SOS Post-Crash Alert System sounds the horn three times at four-second intervals if the air bags have deployed.

All: 15-19 mpg city/19-31 mpg highway

  • New, more powerful engines
  • Coupe and convertible
  • Exhilarating Boss 302
  • Interior could be more refined
  • Ubiquitous

The all-American muscle car.

  • Chevrolet Camaro
  • Dodge Challenger
  • Dodge Charger
  • Hyundai Genesis

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