Thursday, October 21, 2021
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2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 (car review)

HISTORY will show that the Ford Mustang Mach 1, the performance focused factory variant of the legendary V8 sports car, was first born (officially) in 1969. It’s modern day fastback equivalent features several nods to that original car.

Retro five-spoke wheels, driving light cut outs in the blacked out grille (complete with a black pony), and a cream coloured cue ball gear shifter, all hark back to the glory days of the limited run model’s esteemed heritage.

Side stripes, a large bonnet stripe and Mach 1 badging add to the overall sense that this Mustang is something that’s a little more special than the stock GT. The 4.5-inch quad pipe exhaust system looks wicked, and sounds epic too.

Sitting between the standard V8 GT variant, and the supercharged Australian-specific Mustang R-Spec, the modern day Mach 1 is powered by the same 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine as found in ultra limited edition Bullitt.

It delivers 345kW of power and 556Nm of torque and is paired with either a 6-speed manual (as tested) or 10-speed automatic. The rear-wheel drive coupe sprints from 0-100km/h in around 4.7 seconds.

But the numbers are only part of the story, and the Mach 1 truly is greater than the sum of its parts. An upgraded air intake from the Shelby GT350 adds to power delivery, and drive modes and that active exhaust deliver improvements both aural and performance.

Its bespoke steering platform features MagneRide magnetic dampers and suspension, stiffer sway bars and front springs, and a rear subframe using stiffer bushings a a Shelby GT500 rear toe-link. The combination produces astoundingly precise handling.

To describe the Mach 1 as hooked up is to not do justice to just how well the combination of the driving dynamics, underbody aero that provides increased downforce and improved brake cooling, and multiple heat exchangers work together.

Ford has worked hard to deliver a track ready car that doubles down as a comfortable, easy to get around in daily driver that sounds fantastic. And we have to say they’ve delivered in spades.

Sure there are some things you’d fault them for, like the fact it costs pretty much $20,000 more than the standard GT for what is a whole lot of subtle changes, and it’s thirsty fuel economy (at 13.9-litres/100km claimed/15.1-litres tested).

It’s missing some bits too, that were advertised by Ford prior to its launch locally, including front and rear parking sensors, and radar cruise control. It’s also missing the hardcore Torsen differential, an item that would have made the Mach 1 a track weapon.

Inside, the Mach 1 scores Recaro bucket seats that are surprisingly comfortable, it’s very own number, aluminium foot pedals, ambient lighting, two cup holders, dual zone climate control, and a pretty decent 12.0-inch digital instrument cluster.

A leather wrapped steering wheel with tilt and telescopic adjustment and a similarly treated old school handbrake feature, along with an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

It also sports satellite navigation, Bluetooth, Ford’s SYNC 3 smartphone integration system, voice control, two USB ports, and a sensational B&O Play 1000w 12-speaker sound system with an amp and subwoofer.

There are rear seats, but if your friends are tall, or even semi-short, they’ll be wasted. They really are a glorified parcel shelf best suited for small humans. That said, the 9-year-old was devastated when we returned the Mustang, because she loved it back there.

If we can fault anything in the interior it’s that some parts feel a little plastic, and the fact it could do with a bigger, higher resolution infotainment system. That said, it’s a superb place to kick back, push your foot to the floor and accelerate into the sunset in.

Safety wise, there are eight airbags, standard cruise control, auto high beam, dynamic stability control, emergency assistance, lane departure and lane keep assist, an actual alarm, and rear view camera.

You’ll also get pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, and tyre pressure monitoring. The angry pony car also comes with the FordPass Connect onboard modem, push button start, Ford’s MyKey keyless entry and ISOFIX child seat anchorage points.

The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 is limited to just 700 examples and at the time of writing there was literally a handful left for sale. It’s available in Oxford White, Shadow Black, Twister Orange (as tested), Velocity Blue and Fighter Jet Gray.

The last of these comes with a special appearance pack and for us, is the colour of choice. It’s backed by Ford’s 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty, a national roadside assistance program and Auto Club membership for up to seven years.

It’s priced at $83,365 plus on-roads (depending on your paint choices). You should check out your local dealerships on price, or take a look at a website like PriceMyCar to get the best deal. If you want one, we recommend you get in quick.

Our test vehicle was provided by Ford Australia. To find out more about the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1, contact your local Ford dealer.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Driving experience
9
Exterior styling
9
Interior look and feel
8
Technology and connectivity
8
Family friendliness
7
Value for money
7.5

SUMMARY

Pros - outstanding driving dynamics; wicked V8 exhaust note; best Mustang on the market in Australia.
Cons - that missing Torsen differential; price point; interior feels a little plastic.
Mark Holgate
A journalist with more than 24 years experience, Mark Holgate has worked with a number of regional, suburban and metropolitan newspapers, as well as stints with motoring specific publications like Which Car? Motorsport News, Auto Action and Street Machine. He is also a contributor to DriveTribe.

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