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7/10
Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review: Ford Mustang Mach 1

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7/10
Overall verdict
Faster and better handling than the GT, but is it worth the hefty premium?
 

For: 

The most capable non-Shelby Mustang you can buy

Against: 

Track Pack option will not be coming to the UK

Overview

What is it?

It’s been 17 years since a Mach 1 last graced the Mustang line up. And 53 years since the hulking original appeared. There were several land yacht versions during the early Seventies, too. But the Mach 1’s mission has always remained the same: to be a sexier, faster, better handling version of the Mustang GT. 

You might be tempted to think it’s a replacement for the outgoing GT350, but its not. It’s more of the heir to the 2012 Mustang-on-steroids Boss 302 than son of the Shelby, the latter being a carbon-wheeled, cross-plane cranked V8 special. Look closely, and you’ll see the 2021 Mach 1 is a high-fidelity greatest hits of the current Mustang line-up’s parts bin.

At its core is a Mustang GT fitted with the optional Performance Pack 1, giving even the base Mach 1 stiffer front and rear suspension sway bars, a Torsen limited-slip differential, bracing, six-piston Brembo brakes and a high-flow radiator. But that’s far from everything. 

Ford engineers have also added the rear subframe from the GT350 and GT500, which gives tighter, more precise handling with its stiffer structure and tighter bushings. They’ve then slapped on a set of the superb MagneRide active dampers as standard. Elsewhere, there’s a diff cooler and rear diffuser from the GT500, too.

That’s where the standard Mach 1’s key specs end – and the optional Handling Package starts. Available only on the manual, this adds wider, lighter staggered 19-inch wheels, a rear spoiler with the GT500’s Gurney flap, adjustable upper strut mounts and a more aggressive front splitter. Crucially, it also adds a set of Michelin Cup 2 tyres, instead of the Pilot 4Ss. 

Tuners and wheel companies take note, this pack will not be available on Mach 1s outside the US, so there will be a demand for something similar as it makes a massive difference to the car’s handling and grip.

The Mach 1’s Coyote V8 continues the borrow-from-the-best path set by the rest of the car. It uses the same upgraded motor from the Bullitt which makes an additional 20bhp more than the standard GT, bringing the total to 480bhp, by employing a wider throttle body and intake manifold from the GT350 and open air box. The good news is it comes to the UK… the bad news is our cars are slightly detuned, to 454bhp.

Gearbox options are a ten-speed automatic or the cue ball-operated six-speed Tremec TR-3160 from the GT350. The Mach 1 goes one better than its Shelby sibling by offering rev matching and no-lift shifting. 

Cosmetically, you can spot a Mach 1 from a distance by its appreciably wider and deeper front side grilles and two pop-out slots for aftermarket fog lamps. Other tells are the five-spoke wheels and the giveaway Mach 1 appearance package and badges. 

UK prices start from £55,000.

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