Ford Mustang BOSS Road Test Review
by Martha Hindes
Remember an old TV sit-com called “Who's the Boss?" It sported a nubile Alyssa Milano, a still gorgeous Tony Danza, and enough quirky situations to make one realize life doesn't always function according to the norm. Neither do cars, when you think about it. Because no matter how many Ford Mustang clubs are out there, or how many V-6 versions are parked in suburban driveways as eye candy status appeal for the neighborhood, Ford did one better for the true gearhead woman or man when coming up with the rear-drive 2012 Ford Mustang muscle car. It added in some truly awesome muscle in a revival of the legendary Boss version. After all, if you're going to snarl, you want to make sure you show some teeth.
A little history could be helpful here. By 2012, not only had Milano grown from “sexy tomboy” status to womanhood long ago, with some forgettable acting credits behind her, but the Ford Mustang has grown in desirability without losing an ounce of the four-plus decades of driving notoriety that keeps it one of the true classics on the road. And Mustang Boss tops a list of teaser talents with enough gut-crunching lunge to get the attention of the staunchest Mustang purist out there.
Consider this: The base 2012 Mustang is no slouch on its own. In coupe or convertible mode, it rides on a 3.7-liter V-6 capable of eking out an unthinkable 19-MPG in city driving and 31 on the highway (coupe with six-speed automatic), while generating 305-horsepower and 280lb.-ft. of torque – enough to catch the attention of the local fuzz if one decides to peel rubber from a stop light. Convertible wind drag drops highway miles by 2. For those who eschew the idea of a V-6 in anything (despite the mileage gains), Ford offers a 412-horsepower, 5.0-liter V-8 in the GT, with a respectable 18/25 rating, that drops a mile city and gains a highway mile with six-speed manual. Forget such a numbering system in Boss-land, since that's not the consideration here.
For anyone with petrol in the veins and racing heritage in her sights, it's all about performance, the kind that makes one resuscitate special memories when taken for a ride in one as a kid, or who languished over a perfectly restored collector model, with every trim element exactly as it had been when it emerged from production years before. While the 2012 GT can grunt out thrills, the 2012 Boss 302, with the 5.0-liter V-8 hyped up to 444-HP with a 7,500 RPM redline (meaning you can push it into banshee territory) takes the whole experience over the edge. Everything is topped out in Ford's special Boss 302 edition that stays street legal despite its DNA, with improved handling the hallmark befitting the Boss name. Also legal: A distinctively, inspiring “Boss” exhaust tone that emerges from the unique sound enhancing quad exhaust. Put your ear to the ground if you're a purist and maybe you can signal one's within range. In the true spirit of Boss, Pirelli racing wheels are sized for front and rear, to take advantage of upgraded suspension and plane-stopping gutsiest Brembo brakes.
Visually, the 2012 version celebrates the look of the original 1969 Boss. A black “pool cue” ball atop the shifter announces how special this car really is. In the Mustang's required technology improvement category, even the V-6 offers three selectable steering modes from standard to comfort to sport, so those drivers have a hint of the ultimate thrill that's indigenous to the Boss. Add in Advance Trac electronic stability, integrated blind spot mirrors and SOS post crash alert and driving fun should be a given.
And in the “you gotta be kidding” venue, one actually can get by with regular fuel in the factory-built Boss. But who would want to? Not when you're dealing with the holy grail of “pony” cars and spending $41,105 entry (about $18 K more than a base V-6) for the privilege. At least we, at Road & Travel don't think so. We bet you agree. Our advice? Find the nearest track and indulge. Mortgage the house if necessary.
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