In comparison to the 2013 GT, the Boss 302 Laguna Seca ups the ante with a 444hp, 5.0-liter V8 that revs all the way up to 7500rpm. Ford alleges that the Boss 302 is supposed to be the ideal sidekick to the weekend racer and it seems to fit that description to a t. The boss has everyday drivability with enough power on tap to scare even the most daring of drivers. Any true Mustang enthusiast is familiar with the Boss 302’s trick exhaust system and fixed rear axle that hooks up in the straights but surprises in the twisties. The Boss 302’s raspy growl beckons any enthusiast to punch the gas through every s-curve in town and the fixed rear axle’s control bolsters any ones concerns about rear end slippage…that is, unless you want to break it loose. The most notable attraction to the Boss 302 is its ability to pull aggressively across the entire powerband. Whether in first, second, or sixth gear the Boss jolts its passengers back into their seats with a whirlwind of staccato burbles, cracks and pops that reverberates throughout the cabin. The sheer violence of traction and power makes the Boss a controllable yet formidable beast. As the driver grips the small black pool-ball shifter, one can’t help to feel like they’re Steve McQueen preparing to rip third around a corner or outrun a captor.
The Laguna Seca’s impressive handling comes from a number of design cues and features that Ford built in throughout the build, not simply as an afterthought. The Laguna Seca’s Recaro seats gently hug the occupants keeping ones backside planted even in the riskiest maneuvers. The intelligence doesn’t stop there though, behind the Boss’s Recaro’s sits an X-brace that replaces the rear seats in lesser Mustangs. This beefy brace stiffens the chassis significantly allowing for improved torque distribution and limited wheel-hop in acceleration. Coupled with the x-brace is a rear stabilizer bar, manually adjustable dampers with Seca–specific valving, and higher spring rates to deliver reflexes a few notches sharper than those of a standard Boss.
Equipped with a multiplicity of suspension and stiffening components, the Laguna Seca builds on the track-ability with a 3.73:1 rear axle ratio mated to a Torsen limited-slip rear differential. This helps to regulate wheel-hop but if you’re too eager to go the Laguna Seca can easily flex its muscles in a cloud of tire smoke and squealing tires. However, this boss of a Mustang still manages to lay down a .96 g skidpad number and a 12.7 quarter mile. One might expect a quicker quarter mile time from this track ready Mustang, but I figure the marriage of a 3.73:1 gear ratio and the track oriented shift points don’t lend itself to an indicative Cobra-Jet lift off.
The Laguna Seca may not be a funny car but it does notably excel at canyon carving and cornering regardless of conditions…something I like to rub in some of my more anti-American, foreign car worshipping friends. The Boss offers impressive steering feedback right up to the limit and when worst comes to worst the Laguna Seca has no problem steering with the throttle.
To keep brake fade down on this track-ready model (on its massive 14-inch vented rotors) the Laguna Seca features fully functional front brake ducts that can be further freed up by omitting the central fog lamp grill caps. The Laguna Seca stops in just 150 feet from 70mph.
To wrap up, the Boss 302 Laguna Seca is an incredibly capable and sprited automobile. Ford did an exceptional job of marrying the straight line acceleration of a fighter jet, the maneuverability of a go cart, and the stopping power of a bullet in this 2013 year model. Those may have been exaggerations, but the fact that the 2013 Boss 302 Laguna Seca is the best Mustang yet, isn’t.
Base Price: $49,990
Engine: DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection
Torque: 380 ft-lbs
0-60mph: 4.2 seconds
Standing Quarter Mile: 12.7 seconds at 114 mph
Top Speed: 161 mph
Fuel Economy: 15 city / 26 highway
Credits: Emmett Vick, CarandDriver.com