There are lots of retro-inspired cars, but few hit the mark as squarely on the head as the 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302. The newest version of the iconic 1970 Boss is a true-to-form enthusiast racer that mixes muscle with agility. One of the biggest reasons it’s so successful is the brilliant 5.0L V8 engine.
The mad scientists at Ford started with the 5.0L V8 engine in the 2013 Mustang GT, and went to work turning it into a Frankenstein track attacker suitable for the Boss name. When all was said and done, horsepower had been increased from 412 to 440 while maxing out at 380 lb.-ft of torque. A job well done, you crazy engineers.
How did they do it? Ford redesigned several components within the engine with two goals: increase airflow and increase strength. More airflow allows the engine to breathe and create more power, while stronger components are needed to handle the stress of all that power and prevent 4,951cc of engine from exploding as you merge onto the freeway.
Ford made some minor changes, but also some major ones. They designed a new “Runners-In-The-Box” manifold that decreases the distance that incoming air needs to travel to enter the cylinder heads. This allows the engine to run up to higher speeds – ultimately a 7,500rpm redline – without sacrificing low-end torque.
Another major adjustment is twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT), which we explained in our Pop The Hood on the Ford Focus ST here. Ti-VCT controls the timing of the intake and exhaust camshafts to run at their most optimal and efficient speed, improving the capabilities of the entire engine and reducing throttle lag into nonexistence.
Every new part is in the interest of saving weight or improving strength. Engineers implemented forged aluminum pistons for the former, and sinter-forged connecting rods for the latter. Pretty simple when you think about it. Both the intake and exhaust ports were CNC ported to further maximize airflow, and the quad exhaust pipes are sodium-filled to dissipate heat more quickly just for good measure.
How does it all add up? Well, the Boss 302 5.0L V8 engine became so stout that disaster nearly struck during testing. Not because the engine couldn’t handle it, because the dynamometer couldn’t. Ford engineers ran the Boss 302 at its 7,500rpm redline for hours on end with no problem, but needed to completely redesign the dyno cell in order to take that beating. This is an engine that's just as durable as it is powerful. Now there’s something even the original Boss would have to admit is pretty boss.
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