Andi Hedrick, Marc UrbanoCar and Driver
- The Ford Mustang Mach 1 is back for 2021, and we got the chance to run it through our instrumented testing.
- It reached 60 mph in 4.3 seconds on its way to a 12.6-second quarter mile at 115 mph.
- The Mach 1 is powered by a 480-hp 5.0-liter V-8 and this example is equipped Handling Package that adds more goodies borrowed from the high-performance Shelby variants.
Ford brought back the Mach 1 for the Mustang’s sixth generation, and we recently took an example equipped with the optional Handling Package to the track to run it through our instrumented testing. The $3500 option adds Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, adjustable top strut mounts, a swing rear spoiler with Gurney flap from the GT500, special chassis tuning, and a front splitter. Mach 1s also have a 480-hp 5.0-liter V-8 similar to the one used in the discontinued Mustang Bullitt, and some other track-focused upgrades from the Shelby GT350 and GT500 (you can see the full list here). This is how the high-performance ‘Stangs compare on the test track:
Mustang Mach 1s use a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V-8 that produces 480 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, the same output as the Bullitt. Our test car was equipped with the standard six-speed manual (a 10-speed automatic is available), which is a Tremec unit shared with the Shelby GT350. The Bullitt had a six-speed Getrag gearbox as the only option. Each V-8 provides similar levels of aural bliss within the cabin—we recorded 89 dB in the Mach 1 at wide-open throttle and 88 dB in the Bullitt.
With the stick-shift, the Mach 1 matches the Bullitt’s 4.3-second run to 60 mph. We haven’t tested an automatic Mach 1 yet. It’s a close race in the quarter mile, with the Mach 1 passing through in 12.6 seconds at 115 mph and the Bullitt 0.1 second behind at 115 mph. The Shelbys are significantly quicker, no surprise. The GT350 and GT350R reached 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and 3.8 seconds, respectively. They both use a naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V-8 that makes 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. The GT500 has a 760-hp supercharged 5.2-liter V-8, and reached 60 mph in 3.4 seconds in our test.
This Mach 1’s stickier tires gave it a big handling advantage over the Bullitt, which was equipped with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber. We recorded 1.05 g of lateral grip in the Mach 1 on a 300-ft skidpad compared to the Bullitt’s 0.97 g. The Shelbys do even better, achieving 1.09 g in the GT350 and 1.11 g in the GT350R. The Mach 1’s Handling Package adds a swing rear spoiler with Gurney flap from the GT500, but its effects aren’t seen at skidpad speeds.
Every car we test is weighed on our scales, and at 3844 pounds, the Mach 1 is only six pounds lighter than the Bullitt. That’s despite our test car’s $250 back seat delete. The GT350 is 26 pounds lighter than the Mach 1, while a GT350 R with its back seat removed and rolling on carbon-fiber wheels is 127 pounds lighter. The Mach 1’s stopping power comes from 15.0-inch front and 13.0-inch rear iron rotors, and it stops quicker from 70 mph than the GT350 and GT500, requiring 141 feet to both the GT350R’s 146 feet and the GT500s’ 150 feet. The Bullitt needed 165 feet to come to a halt from 70 mph.
The Mustang Mach 1 is intended to replace the Bullitt, the GT with Performance Pack 2, and the Shelby GT350 in Ford’s lineup. Its $53,595 starting price puts it right between the discontinued Bullitt ($47,900) and Shelby GT350 ($60,335), though our Mach 1’s as-tested price rang in at $63,745. For our money, the Mach 1 doesn’t have the charisma to live up to the GT350, which we rate as one of the best Mustangs of all time.
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