2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca

Car and Driver has just published their annual “Lightning Lap” competition, and this year the 2012 Ford Mustang Boss Laguna Seca was among the contenders. Needless to say, the Boss 302 did extremely well with a lap time of 3:02.8, finishing first in its class (cars priced from $30,000 to $59,999) and easily beating out the Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 (3:09.4), the Dodge Charger SRT8 (3:10.1), the BMW 335is (3:13.8), the Volkswagen Golf R (3:14.0) and the Mini Cooper JCW Coupe (3:18.4). The Boss 302 finished fourth overall in the competition, only losing out to the Porsche Panamera Turbo S, the Nissan GT-R and the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.

Here’s what Car and Driver had to say about the 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca:

Forget the numbers for a moment. The Boss 302 Laguna Seca (the raciest of racy factory Mustangs) fires so many of the right neurons that it could be the one car we’d drive forever. Ford excelled by focusing on the full high-performance experience, not just this 444-hp Mustang’s acceleration or lap times. Sometimes the feel, the sounds, and, yes, the smells can overshadow what a car achieves on the track.

At this point, you might be suspecting that we’re trying to cover up lackluster lap times with all this fuzzy talk of feel. We are not. The Boss is the quickest Mustang we’ve ever run at VIR. Forget the GT—this car posted a lap time 1.2 seconds quicker than last year’s 550-hp Shelby GT500. Only a Corvette Grand Sport beats the Boss on a speed/dollar metric.

But the Corvette doesn’t have the Mustang’s side-exhaust outlets that blast their rumble right under your ears. In our notebook, we scribbled: “God’s own engine roar.” Electric power steering doesn’t dull the Boss’s road feel. The cue-ball shifter is just about perfect. And the stitching on the seats looks fantastic.

If we were looking for faults, we’d say that the rear end has too much grip (the Laguna Seca model wears 10-inch-wide rear wheels, 0.5 inch wider than the regular Boss 302’s). That huge front splitter is there to increase front-end traction, but it’s not enough. The upside is that the rear never threatens to snap around. The Boss is a ­kitten to drive, though it sounds like a tiger. We lapped it until the tank ran dry.

Pick up the February 2012 issue of Car and Driver or head over to their web site to read the entire article.

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