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Jay Leno Drives The 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302: Video


The story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears applies equally well to the Ford Mustang. To those of us who use our cars for track days, the Mustang GT is a bit too soft (although it’s still very good with the optional Track Package), while the 662-horsepower Shelby GT500 is a bit too hard for road course use (although it does excel at the drag strip).

That leaves the Mustang Boss 302 as “just right,” with perhaps the perfect balance between civility and performance. Handling is superb, even in base models, but those wanting just a bit more can opt for the Laguna Seca package, which includes features like a Torsen limited-slip differential and a chassis brace in place of the rear seat.

Power for both Boss 302 models comes from a naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter (or 302 cubic-inch) V-8, which produces 444 horsepower and includes features like dual overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and a “runner in the box” intake manifold with velocity stacks to optimize performance up to the car’s 7,500 rpm redline.

Ensuring that the car lives up to its world-class-circuit namesake, Boss 302 models get adjustable dampers, a lowered ride height, thicker roll bars, four-piston Brembo brakes and a quad exhaust system (with side dumps for track use and rear pipes for street).

Opting for the Laguna Seca variant gets you staggered wheels (19 by nine inch front, 19 by 10 inch rear), the previously mentioned Torsen limited slip differential, R compound tires and an adjustable front splitter that can add up to 90 pounds of downforce at 120 miles per hour.

Despite all the performance enhancements, the Boss 302 (in either variant) isn’t particularly punishing to drive on the street. While we wouldn’t call it our first choice for a  daily driver, we could certainly live with it given its weekend track day capabilities. We’re with Leno and Goldilocks on this one - for our sensibilities, the Boss 302 is just right.
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