Snap Judgment: Would You Buy a Boss 302 Over a Shelby GT500?

Automobile Staff
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The unveiling of the 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302, and its Laguna Seca track-spec counterpart, provides enthusiasts with yet another hot Mustang option. Just how does it stack up against Ford's other in-house special, the Ford Shelby GT500?

Ford announced the Boss 302 today at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, paying homage to the original race-derived model of the same name. The Boss, reinvented for 2012, packs just as much visual punch as the 302 that slammed Camaro Z/28s in late '60s and early '70s, and its estimated 440 horsepower bests even the original Boss.

But within its own lineup, Ford peddles a likely competitor: the Shelby GT500. We've tested it on the track, as well as flogged it in Ann Arbor, and determined it a viable competitor to a still-nonexistent reborn Chevrolet Camaro Z28. The GT500 coupe's $49,495 retail price is a jump over the Mustang GT's, but we're curious to see how it stacks up with the forthcoming Boss 302's.

The Shelby packs an enormous amount of power (550 horsepower), compared to the Boss 302, and the two models each receive suspension and chassis tuning. And the Boss trumps the Shelby in terms of exterior styling and, in the case of the Laguna Seca, track-readiness. Pricing hasn't been announced yet for the Boss 302, but a sub-$50,000 price tag could make the GT500 look like an excellent value. But for what it loses in power, the Boss 302 likely makes up for in heritage.

Today's Snap Judgment: Would you buy a Boss 302 over a Shelby GT500?

Or is there another Mustang special (the 2008 GT500KR, perhaps?) that catches your fancy? Let us know what you think over the weekend.

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