Relaxation in thunder, 2016 to 2020 Shelby GT350. Your ethereal 5.2-liter Voodoo V-Eight was too good for this low-redline world; not even the not too long ago launched, supercar-baiting GT500’s 7,500-rpm cutoff can match your 8,250-rpm supernova scream. Your loss is so profoundly felt we have been casting about for some automobile—any automobile—to fill the opening in our coronary heart. However that automobile will not be the brand new 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1. Not as a result of it isn’t nice, however as a result of it isn’t purported to be.
Conceptually, Ford asks you to think about the Mach 1 as an inheritor to the 2012 to 2013 Boss 302, as they’re each hopped-up, handling-focused evolutions of the up to date Mustang GT. We partially agree, however that is as a result of the previous, hardcore Boss is greatest lined up with a selected model of the brand new Mach 1, that being one fitted with the elective dealing with bundle.
As a complete, the brand new Mach 1 is a GT burger with a slice of GT350, a number of strips of Boss, and a schmear of GT500 for good measure. It is a parts-bin particular in one of the best ways, as Ford stitched collectively among the most incendiary bits from the extant Mustang lineup to place the Mach 1 on the prime of the 5.0-liter hierarchy.
The Mach 1 Is a Little of This, a Little of That
The Mach 1 begins with a Mustang GT outfitted with the Efficiency Pack 1 (PP1), which means even probably the most fundamental iteration has that bundle’s uprated six-piston Brembo brake calipers within the entrance, a stiffer entrance suspension, a Okay-brace, a heavy obligation radiator, a Torsen limited-slip rear diff with 3.73 gears, and a bigger rear sway bar. Each Mach 1 then stirs in particular tuning for the chassis, traction and stability management, steering, and driving modes.
The Mach 1’s 5.0-liter thrashing Coyote coronary heart is identical one from the discontinued Bullitt, offering a wholesome 480 horsepower and 420 lb-ft, a lift of 20 horses over the GT due to a bigger 85mm throttle physique, the GT350’s consumption manifold, and an open airbox. That is scrumptious sufficient, however the coolest drivetrain improve is the Tremec TR-3160 six-speed guide pulled from the GT350, changing the crunchy and problem-prone MT82 guide out of the GT and Bullitt. The GT’s customary 10-speed computerized transmission can also be obtainable, when you’re into that type of factor.
The pickin’-n-pullin’ continues with a rear subframe shared with each the GT350 and the GT500, supporting GT500 toe hyperlinks and stiffer, tighter bushings. The differential cooler is all GT500, as is the rear diffuser. MagneRide magnetorheological energetic dampers are customary. Checking the field subsequent to that aforementioned $3,500 Dealing with bundle provides staggered-width 10.5×19-inch entrance and 11×19-inch rear light-weight wheels with a lattice sample; these are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. Additionally bundled in are adjustable higher strut mounts, a swing rear spoiler with the GT500’s Gurney flap, particular chassis tuning, and a deeper entrance splitter.
Mustangs Previous and Current
This would not be a real particular version Mustang with out the requisite visible aptitude inside and outside. Every Mach 1 fills rearview mirrors with decrease entrance vents from the GT350; the left one is ducting for the engine oil cooler, the correct serves cool air to the transmission. Darkened Mach 1 badges are shotgunned across the exterior, most notably on the entrance fender and the middle of the trunk lid; they’re complemented by a black hood stripe. The usual rollers are a set of retrotastic five-spoke wheels wrapped with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. Inside, the Mach 1-specific trim, digital splash screens, and sprint plaque are predictable additions. Our favourite inside accoutrement? The white cue-ball shift knob from the Bullitt.
So, sure, it is a massive, meaty goulash of Mustangs we have liked earlier than. Our introduction to the way it all got here collectively occurred on the pleasant Streets of Willow racetrack by way of a small fleet of Mach 1s kitted out with the Dealing with bundle. In accordance with engineers and model reps, these ‘Stangs have been bone inventory apart from observe alignment, together with the identical brake rotors, pads, and fluid patrons can have after they roll out of the seller.
In our expertise, it will probably take further time to get track-comfortable in a Mustang versus most different largish efficiency coupes; there’s typically a pervading sensation of sitting on prime of the automobile slightly than inside it. The controls are chunky, mild, and considerably ungainly when you’re instantly transitioning from one thing smaller and/or lighter.
Within the Mach 1, we have been snug midway by means of the primary lap. As typical, Michelin’s inimitable Cup 2s proceed to be street-legal cheat codes for trackwork; teamed with the magnetorheological suspension, the sticky footwear lowered the educational curve, and fast. The Mach 1’s energy supply is linear and caramel-thick, and it corners with no surprises in any respect, even when treating the throttle as you would possibly in a rental slicing by means of the Rockies.
Confidence, confidence, confidence. Like all Mustangs of this era, the steering is mild and missing in final really feel, however the Mach 1’s setup is correct and spectacularly predictable. Any oversteer is telegraphed early and could possibly be caught with buttered palms, and the help techniques, effectively, help with a light-weight contact. In case you stick a boot too far up the Mach 1’s rear and must haul every thing again right down to sanity, the Brembos chew robust and fade late, however we have been solely capable of tempo the automobiles by means of two sizzling laps earlier than a cooldown, so your mileage might differ throughout prolonged observe days.
Entrance-end grip is super, resulting in bulk-defying turn-in speeds and late braking. Once more, predictability is the predominant sensation, with impeccable mixture footwork from the tires, suspension, and Shelby-grade rear meeting.
The Tremec six-speed is the actual star of the Mach 1’s observe day present; in comparison with the GT and Bullitt’s MT82, the Tremec is clean and simpler to shift shortly. Not like the GT350’s model of the 3160, although, the Mach 1’s ‘field incorporates the GT and Bullitt’s rev-match and no-lift-shift features.
The 10-speed computerized is—in fact—a much less participating expertise, however particular tuning to the Monitor mode adjusts shift factors to a finer diploma, and the automated’s gearchanges are fast and clean sufficient to neither distract nor detract from the duty at hand.
Desert Highways Made Simple
In direct distinction to the track-adjusted Mach 1s, all automobiles allotted for on-road analysis left each the Dealing with bundle and the third pedal on the manufacturing unit shelf. We nabbed one in a searing shade of Grabber Yellow, shortly pointing the V-8-powered highlighter down the closest stretch of arrow-straight desert freeway.
As we all know from the Bullitt, MagneRide=outfitted Mustangs make for wonderful stealth grand tourers, offered yours is painted a much less conspicuous shade. Faraway from the rubber-stained tarmac of Willow Springs, the Mach 1 would not really feel all that completely different from an everyday Mustang GT with the PP1, particularly in case your most well-liked sources of vehicular leisure are entry-ramp blasts and lengthy pulls down abandoned highways. The 5.0-liter’s heavy-cream roar is as savory as ever, evocatively rolling over the sandy scrubland like a fats, heavy rain cloud.
Like an AMG on the autobahn or a convertible on the coast, a Mustang within the desert is simply unbelievable. Resting birds shoot into the sky inside a quarter-mile of your method; chest-thumping vibrations trigger brake lights to return on early if you pull to the left to go. The acceleration is splendidly linear and completely suited to this kind of atmosphere.
The place’s My Dealing with Package deal?
A white-knuckled second within the first critical nook we encountered confirmed the Dealing with pack to be a welcome addition. There’s considerably much less grip from the Pilot Sport 4S tires, there’s extra physique motion, and turn-in is much less predictable; nonetheless, alter your expectations and the Shelby-like fundamentals are nonetheless there.
After some acclimation, we confidently bobbed and weaved by means of the undulating forests that encompass the Lake Hughes and Elizabeth Lake areas, whipping native canine into barking frenzies and shattering the peace of native campsites. On extra mundane roads, the Mach 1 settled into the identical low-fuss, low-muss long-legged stride as another fashionable V-Eight Mustang.
At $52,915, the Mach 1 is not low cost, however seeing as this quantity cuts the distinction between a GT PP1 and the aforementioned Shelby, the pricing appears proper on the cash. Nonetheless, it provides up—that is some $15,600 greater than a base GT, $9,305 greater than that very same GT with PP1, and round $5,000 greater than a Bullitt. Add the Dealing with bundle and also you’re a $56,416 Mach 1 with the six-speed guide.
Ultimately, when you’re after a corner-hungry Mustang and do not wish to spring for the GT500 or a used GT350, that is your automobile; when you’re not that into observe days or canyon carving, contemplate sticking with a GT PP1—with both transmission—and put the 15 or so grand you may save towards tires, gasoline, retro graphics, and motels within the high-desert. You may have enjoyable. It will simply be a little bit bit lower than Mach 1 house owners might be having.
Seems good! Extra particulars?