My kingdom for a Boss
I, like hundreds of thousands of fans around the world, love the Mustang. I always have and always will. I’ve had GT500, SVO, GT, SVT and Cobra posters on my walls all my life (I have a GT500 poster in my garage today) and never thought I’d have a negative thing to say about the car.
I still don’t.
The 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302 represents the pinnacle; the top step on the Mustang’s storied echelon. I need a poster of this one.
One helluva car
This car controlled me for the entire week. As Rick James said: Cocaine is a helluva drug. I’ve adapted the line: “The Boss is a helluva drug.” The 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302 is as addictive and controlling as any illicit substance.
The most telling thing I can say about the Boss is this: I’ve said for a few years now that if I were to buy a $50,000 daily/weekend track car, I’d spring for a used Porsche Cayman S. Not anymore. I want a Boss.
The secret to the 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302’s success lies in how all of it comes together. Unlike the vulgar-by-comparison GT, the Boss’ suspension, steering, brakes and engine are perfectly matched. The GT is sloppy and sketchy where the Boss is sorted and accomplished.
My kingdom for the V8
Behind new front splitter and under the vented bonnet is Ford’s 5.0L V8 which received considerable improvements in order to survive repeated track abuse. The changes include forged-aluminum pistons and upgraded connecting rods. The result is 444 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. The ponies charge in at 7,400 rpm, and torque at 4,500 rpm. Maximum engine speed is 7,500 rpm.
Alongside the V8 is a front sport-tuned suspension that annuls all unwanted weight transfers. On track, the Boss is agile and incredibly responsive. The moment the steering wheel is grasped, the full extent of Ford’s electric steering (EPAS) potential is clear. Somehow, the communication with the front P255/40R-19 Pirelli tires is marvelously free of fuss.
A big favourite of mine (and a plus for the track-day enthusiasts) are the 355-mm front vented discs (rears are 300-mm) with four-piston Brembo calipers and cooling ducts.
The 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302’s alcantara trimmed steering wheel’s horizontal spokes, and this may be the only negative comment in this entire review, are far too wide. For optimal hold and grip, there should be thumb indents at 9 and 3, and the spokes should be slim enough so as not to hamper hand movements while negotiating a decreasing radius turn.
Sexy Recaro seats and exhaust
In the cabin, we come across superb Recaro seats. Firm, almost hard, they are the perfect accomplices to weekend track events. Their high-back configuration and harness-enabled openings prove what these seats can do.
Ever hear a 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302 drive by? This car features a quad-exhaust system with two side and two rear outlets. The side outlets (located ahead of the rear wheels) are the ones responsible for the Boss’ extra aurally delectable sound. The underlying gnarly guttural growl becomes a ferocious fearsome fanfare of ferrous materials at high rpms. Only those with no soul could ever discount this melody as “noise.”
The three-link solid axle rear suspension, which harbors a 3.73:1 Torsen limited-slip differential, is ready for action. As with the front, the sport suspension consists of manually adjustable dampers and large stabilizer bars. The final pieces are a pair of 285/35R tires.
Aesthetically, the 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302 is quite nearly flawless. The 19” wheels are painted gloss black when I think they should be matte to match the hot reflective hockey-stick graphics.
My kingdom for launch control
The 444 hp V8 comes to life with the red Track Key which unleashes the Ford Racing powertrain control software. A 2-stage launch control is the ideal way to crush all in stop-and-go racing. I managed a 4.5 second 0-100 km time with launch, and with little effort. For regular days, the silver key returns the car to a Wolverine-without-claws state.
Despite all the potential savageness, the Boss is a relatively easy car to drive. The clutch is heavy, but everything else is quite civil. Like the Cayman, the Mustang can easily double as a daily driver which makes it that much more attractive. All pedals are perfectly positioned for heel-and-toe, and the shifter requires a firm hand. Everything else is pansy-like by comparison.
The 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302 starts at $48,799. The tester featured the necessary Recaro and Torsen package which added $1,900 to the final tally.
There is no substitute
The Mustang Boss has no direct competition. The Nissan 370Z and BMW 335is are all great in their own ways, but fail to the deliver the thrills and spine-tingling emotions that the Boss does.
As Ford so brilliantly put it, the 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302 is an honest-to-badness masterpiece.