We covered the 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 extensively in the November issue of Automobile Magazine (or here, or here, or here) as part of our package of the 10 Greatest Mustangs Ever. And, on the cover of that issue, we asked: "Will the new Boss 302 be number 11?"
Now that we've driven it, the answer is a resounding yes.
Simply put, the Boss 302 is the best of all of the current Mustangs. It's the best expression of a modern muscle car and, frankly, it's the best all-around sports car to wear a Mustang badge. Unburdened with the extra weight and disproportionate thrust of the supercharged GT500, unafflicted with the GT's cushy suspension, and unfettered by the V-6's incorrect soundtrack, the Boss 302 is, to us, exactly what a Mustang should be.
OK, so it still has an old-tech live-axle rear suspension. But that characteristic -- and the resulting skittishness over mid-corner bumps -- is, at least, a part of the Mustang's charming character. And, as we've said in the past, Ford's engineers have done a remarkable job of taming that beast.
On the track, where the suspension doesn't need to cope with mid-corner bumps, the Boss 302 is the very picture of perfect chassis balance. The Boss 302's shocks are adjustable, but we would never mess with the settings the factory dialed in for our drive around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. With only the slightest hint of understeer built in, this Mustang becomes infinitely and easily throttle-adjustable. Applying maintenance throttle through long sweepers invokes smooth four-wheel drifts that require neither big steering corrections nor stability control intervention to modulate. Indeed, in Sport Mode, the ESP will intrude only if your sideways attitude starts increasing more quickly than your steering inputs, and even then, its light-handed interventions never slow you down one bit.