Ford Mustang Mach 1 Review 2022 | Top Gear
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Car Review

Ford Mustang Mach 1 review

Published: 11 Apr 2022
Faster and better handling than the GT, but is it worth the hefty premium?

Good stuff

The most capable non-Shelby Mustang you can buy. Properly dramatic

Bad stuff

Track Pack option not available in the UK. £10k more than a GT


What is it?

It’s been a long old time since a Mach 1 last graced the Mustang line up. And over five decades 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 faster, better-looking and better-handling version of the Mustang GT

You might be tempted to think it's a replacement for the now-dead Shelby GT350 in the US, but it’s not. It’s more of the heir to the 2012 Mustang-on-steroids Boss 302 than the smaller 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.

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What do I get on a current-gen Mach 1, then?

At its core is a 5.0-litre V8-engined Mustang GT, but the Mach 1 gets stiffer front and rear suspension sway bars, a Torsen limited-slip differential, extra 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.

Sounds pretty serious…

That’s where the standard Mach 1’s key specs end – and the optional Handling Package starts. Available only on the six-speed manual and not the auto, 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 though, this pack is not available on Mach 1s outside the US, so we’re sure there’s demand for something similar. It makes a massive difference to the car’s handling and grip.

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What about the engine?

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. Again, that’s in the US though. In the UK our cars are slightly detuned. Although 454bhp is still not to be sniffed at. 

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

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

How much will it cost me?

There’s a full buying tab on this review for a reason, you know. But if you must have an answer here – UK prices start from £57,075. That’s compared to the £47,075 entry point for a V8-engined GT.

What's the verdict?

Faster and better handling than the GT, but is it worth the hefty premium?

The Mach 1 was designed to fill the gap between the Mustang GT and the Shelby GT350 or GT500. And judged on that criteria, it's a success. It’s appreciably faster, better handling and generally more sorted than the GT. And it’s not quite as exotic as the US-only Shelbys. 

But it’s a huge chunk of change more expensive than the standard GT - £10,000 before you start adding options. Sure, you get the excellent MagneRide dampers, more power and the option of that rev-matching manual box. But it doesn’t feel all that different unless you’re really going for it, especially without the Track Pack features. It does look fantastic, though.

Our advice? Buy the standard GT and spend the savings on a lifetime of stickier tyres and fuel. Or maybe even a supercharger…

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