Car Review: 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302

Highlights: The Boss 302 first made its appearance in the Mustang line up in 1969. The Boss 302 is only available as a coupe with a six-speed manual transmission.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $43,100 (Base Model starts at $41,105)

Seating Capacity: 2 or possibly 5 in a squeeze

Standard Safety Features: front and side impact airbags; electronic stability control; a tire pressure monitoring system; Ford’s post-crash alert system; a MyKey system, which allows the owner to program the vehicle to limit speed and audio volumes, especially for young, inexperienced drivers  (although a young, inexperienced driver shouldn’t be behind the wheel of this muscle car)

Standard Equipment: 19-inch summer tires; 14-inch vented front rotors with Brembo four-piston calibers; a short-throw six-speed transmission; limited-slip 3,73 ratio rear axle using carbon fiber clutch plates; a quad pipe exhaust system; firmer coil springs and suspension brushings  at all four corners; larger-diameter rear stabilizer bar; manually adjustable shocks and struts; a rear spoiler; cloth seats with Boss embroidered logo; manual a/c; rear quarter mounted antenna; LED tail lamps; remote keyless entry; power windows; power door locks; and a capless fuel filler door

Standard Audio: a premium AM/FM stereo with CD player

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 5.0-liter, 8-cylinder/450-hp

Recommended Fuel: Unleaded

Standard Fuel Mileage: 17-city/26-hwy

What’s New: After being away for over four decades, Ford has revived the Mustang Boss 302 name. It’s positioned between the Ford Mustang GT and the daddy of all pony cars, the Shelby GT500.

Pros: The driving dynamics of this vehicle is geared toward cruising on the streets, highways or on the race track. Unlike the super powerful Shelby GT500, the Boss 302 is more refined, especially when equipped with the optional extremely supportive Recaro cloth seats. In fact, this is one sports car I would take across county in a heartbeat without feeling the repercussion later of feeling like we have been in a boxing match. To add to the ride, the short-throw, close ratio six-speed transmission makes this easy-to-shift muscle car so fun-to-drive, as the quad-pipe exhaust system oozes out what we would term as ‘street-legal’ noise. In our opinion, it’s just enough noise that it won’t break the sound barrier.

Also for those looking to unleash the Boss 302 on the racetrack, the muscle car is equipped with a Trackey, which allows one to control software so as to provide full-race calibration, without compromising the factory warranty. Unfortunately, we didn’t have an opportunity to experience this first-hand. However, for those, who go this route, the 14-inch Brembo ventilated brakes should aid in keeping this pony tamed.

Moreover, for the racing enthusiast, Ford offers a limited Boss 302 Seca model. This package offers increased body stiffness, a firmer chassis setup, rear deleted seats and R-compound tires. Yes, there is a Boss 302 that literally suits a variety of driving patterns.

Cons: While we appreciate Ford’s throwback design, their interior designers should take a look at some of its competitors which offer much better interiors. There’s nothing wrong with mixing retro with a high-quality interior design.

Furthermore, the Mustang Boss 302 is only available with one sound system. Ford needs to consider adding a truly premium audio system that compliments this high-powered pony car.

Furthermore, for those unable to drive, the smooth-shifting manual, they’re out of luck. Sorry folks! This fun-to-drive muscle car isn’t available with an automatic transmission or as a drop top.

Competition: Chevy Camaro; Chevy Corvette; Dodge Challenger SRT8;and Porsche Boxster

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Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to www.JeffCars.com. Follow him http://twitter.com/#!/JeffCars/.