First Drive: 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 and Laguna Seca

Either 302, however, is available with the coolest feature of them all: the TracKey. Once a dealer reflashes this Mustang's computer, starting it up with the red TracKey switches the engine management programming to a more aggressive calibration. There's no more power, as the 444-hp 5.0-liter is maxed out as it is, but two big, immediately noticeable things occur. Firstly, the lag usually programmed into the throttle pedal (both on depression and release) is gone, and the Mustang suddenly feels like its accelerator pedal and throttle butterfly are connected by a cable. Every car should be so lucky. Secondly (and this may the coolest computer-controlled automotive feature ever), at idle, the computer alters cam timing to maximize valve overlap. The result: a lopey idle no different than if you had spent thousands installing ludicrously hot cams.

How Ford's powertrain engineers got the Boss to pass emissions tests with a stuttering, loping idle, we'll never know. But we're stoked that they did, because we could sit and listening to an idling Boss 302 all day long. That alone is worth the price of admission -- and the bonus is that the rest of the Boss 302 is just as awesome.

At $40,995 (including destination), the Boss 302 isn't exactly cheap in absolute terms, and it's nearly twice as expensive as a base Mustang. It's four times the car, though. And it's not only $8500 less dear than the Shelby GT500, it's a better all-around car, too. In those terms, the Boss looks like quite the value. There's all the financial justification you'll need to buy one. The emotional reasoning starts and ends with savoring the sound of that unbelievable idle.

3 of 3
n64kps
You forgot to include the massive dealer markup in your pricing
dubfun
Nice. Now, if they would only get rid of those god-awful paint schemes. I know that they're trying to be true to the original, but this isn't the 70's for God's sake.
Jack1945
The Boss302 sounds like a very desirable car though I don't know what justifies the additional $10,000 over the Mustang GT. I just bought a 2011 Mustange GT and your description of the suspension as cushy comes as quite a susprise. While the car handles pretty good, the suspension is anything but cushy.

New Car Research

our instagram

get Automobile Magazine

Subscribe to the magazine and save up to 84% off the newsstand price

subscribe

new cars

Read Related Articles

TO TOP