2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 review: good – and not just because it’s a Mach 1 | Expert advice
One of my favorite features that Ford standardized in the Mach 1 is its active exhaust with a “quiet mode” setting. It makes a huge difference in the volume of the car, and you can program it to start in silent mode, which allows for neighborhood-friendly starts. Then, when you are in Track mode, the escapement is straight.
The car we were driving had the optional 10-speed automatic transmission, which allows the Mach 1 to shift almost like a sports motorcycle; in previous tests of the Mustang GT with this drivetrain and the Michelin tires supplied as standard on the Mach 1, we ran as fast as 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds and the quarter mile in 11.9 seconds.
Even with a Mach-1-specific tuning, the automatic still has a bit of awkwardness – the shifting feel can range from sluggish to sizzling in the same drive mode – but overall I’m a fan of the way it reacts when the pedal goes to the ground.
Must-have Mach 1 Appearance Package
For a car that already has a Mach-1 specific grille, hood strip, and wheels, this was another appearance addition that turned my test car into a real whim (judging by the number of people who reacted to this car at the time I had it). This is an optional appearance package, and it’s only available on the Premium version of the Mach 1. It adds smooth and muted Fighter Jet Gray paint (which I found similar to the gray propane tank when I picked up the Mach 1 to swap out my empty grill tank). It also adds a contrasting orange color to the brake calipers, hood, side stripe and front seats. This color scheme – along with the optional split five-spoke magnetic gray wheels – has attracted a lot of attention. It caught me off guard, because at first I saw it as a Mustang GT with stickers on it.
The Mach 1 got a compliment or comment on every trip I took during my week of driving. The driver of a 1965 Mustang coupe pulled up in the middle of the street to check out the Mach 1 in my driveway. One person asked if this was the new electric Mustang – an understandable confusion given its power – and the owner of a 2016 Mustang GT stopped and asked if I thought they would do. the Tremec standard on all Mustangs because he was unhappy with his Getrag transmission. A group of teenagers hanging in the parking lot of a swimming pool piled me up as I tried to place my toddler in his child seat to ask if the car was twin-turbocharged. I didn’t get as much attention when I drove the last Shelby GT500.
What else can you get?
My test car didn’t have it, but there’s also a Mach 1 handling package ($ 3,750). It’s the replacement for the now-discontinued, track-ready Level 2 Performance Pack, which in our testing approached the track capacity levels of the Shelby GT350. In addition to the basic Mach 1 equipment, the handling package adds revised chassis tuning, as well as even wider wheels and racy Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires with minimal tread; they are 10.5 inches wide at the front (305 / 30R19) and 11 inches wide at the rear (315 / 30R19). There are also adjustable upper strut mounts for more aggressive alignment options, along with a larger front splitter and rear spoiler that increase downforce by 150% over the base GT.
In the past we have compared the Tier 2 package with the GT performance package, so the handling package really makes this Mach 1 the fully turned dial option and the most suitable replacement for the GT350. This time around it comes standard with the Tremec manual transmission and can optionally be fitted with the 10-speed automatic, unlike the Tier 2 manual. The value equation we loved so much with the package Level 2 is gone, however: A Mach 1 with the handling package is a $ 58,000 car, not a $ 46,000 car like this GT was. That’s barely less than the $ 60,000 Shelby GT350.
Should Mach 1 be?
Calling this car the Mach 1 seems odd in the current Mustang lineup, given that some versions replace the discontinued Shelby GT350 and others are lightly worked Mustang GTs. There isn’t a single distinguishing feature like the previous “Shaker” hood scoop, although there is a unique set of decals, grille and wheel selection in addition to the mechanical upgrades. I suspect the treatment package will be transformative, but it is optional, as is the appearance package which really made my Mach 1 stand out.
Excuse my pointless reverie and my ignorance of what Mustang historians think about Mach 1 should be, but I’d love to see a Mach 1 it’s a track-oriented car with the standard handling and appearance packages and – gasp – the GT500’s dual-clutch automatic transmission. I was blown away by what this DCT does in the GT500, and I think my Mach 1 dream would be an absolute beast – and a totally unique, naturally aspirated track car.
Without the handling pack I think the Mach 1 just isn’t enough Following than a Mustang GT with Performance Package, which manages to deliver most of the Mach 1 experience at a more affordable price. But what do I know? People loved this car the whole time I was driving it; if that’s what you’re after, then the Mach 1 (at least with the appearance package) won’t disappoint.
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