When Ford first announced that it was bringing back the Mustang Mach 1 for the 2021 model year, it made a few bold statements about the car. The boldest of which was the fact that the 2021 Mustang Mach 1 would represent the “epitome of naturally-aspirated 5.0L V8 performance.” As such, most people expected it to better the current king of the N/A 5.0L hill, the Ford Mustang Bullitt, which produces 480 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. Instead, it chose to, well, just call it a tie.
Yes, the 2021 Mustang Mach 1 officially makes 480 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, which is far less than the 525 horsepower and 450 pound-feet that we were told Ford was aiming for. Clearly, this is disappointing news, but we were also surprised to learn that the Ford 5.0L Coyote V8 in the 2021 Mustang Mach 1 isn’t exactly the same engine as the one that lies in the Bullitt, however.
In fact, the new Mach 1 features a host of revised Shelby GT350 components including the intake manifold, oil filter adapter, and engine oil cooler, which increases cooling capability by 50 percent. But perhaps the best news is what transmission lies behind it – the GT350’s Tremec 3160 6-speed manual transmission, which features rev matching for the first time. It also comes equipped with the GT350 oil cooler system and Mustang GT’s twin-disc clutch and short-throw shifter. No wonky MT82 here.
Buyers can also opt for Ford’s 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission with an upgraded torque converter and unique calibration that enables optimizing torque capability, shift character, and overall enhanced performance. A second air-to-oil cooler increases cooling capacity by 75 percent.
The real magic of the 2021 Mustang Mach lies in its suspension and bodywork, however. Underneath, it features the latest MagneRide calibration, a stiffer steering I-shaft, new EPAS calibration, stiffer sway bars and front springs, a brake booster from the Mustang GT Performance Pack 2, a rear subframe with stiffer bushings, and a rear toe-link from the Shelby GT500.
A set of new 19 inch x 9.5 inch and 19 inch x 10 inch five-spoke Tarnished Dark-painted aluminum wheels are an updated version of the classic Magnum 500 style wheels. Handling Package vehicles come standard with unique, wider 19 inch x 10.5 inch front, and 19 inch x 11 inch rear Tarnished Dark-painted aluminum wheels. Tires are Michelin PS4s, but Ford hasn’t yet confirmed their available sizes, though we have a pretty good idea how big they’ll be.
The Handling Package, exclusively available with the 6-speed manual, also includes a larger, unique higher downforce front splitter, new front wheel lip moldings, and a low-gloss Magnetic swing spoiler with a Gurney flap and rear tire spats from Shelby GT500. To enhance track endurance, Ford added two side heat exchangers – one to cool engine oil, the other transmission oil – as well as a rear axle cooling system and lower diffuser from Shelby GT500.
The all-new Mach 1’s grille hearkens back to the original with a deep 3-D mesh, shark-nosed section, and faux lamp elements, but it’s functional, too. The two-piece upper grille, lower grille and valance, and new side grilles, are all designed to aid aero and cooling performance. Low-gloss magnetic and black accents adorn the exterior, including the grille pony badge, mirror caps, and rear spoiler.
Satin Black side and hood stripes are included with reflective accent stripes in any of three colors: Red, White and Orange on the Appearance Package only. Exterior color options include the Mach 1 exclusive Fighter Jet Gray (Appearance Package only), as well as Iconic Silver, Shadow Black, Oxford White, Velocity Blue, Twister Orange, Race Red, and Grabber Yellow. Sorry, no shaker hood this time around.
In addition to the new front splitter and rear wing, a larger underbelly pan, underwing, and belly pan work in unison to keep the new Mach 1 glued to the road. In fact, the Mach 1 generates 22 percent more downforce than a Performance Pack 1 Mustang GT, and the downforce improvement jumps to approximately 150 percent with the Handling Package.
The interior features a unique Dark Spindrift instrument panel with aluminum accents. Other adornments include Ebony seats with an accent stripe, new door sill plates, an updated splash screen on the 12.3-inch all-LCD instrument cluster, a white cue ball shift knob, and engraved badging that displays the vehicle’s unique chassis number.
All of these improvements should make the 2021 Mustang Mach 1 quite the performer on the track, and it’s certainly a great looking car as well. We were just hoping for a bit more power, as we’re sure plenty of others were as well. But at the same time, we’re also looking forward to seeing just how capable the new Mach 1 is at shaving seconds off its predecessor’s lap times. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait a while to see that, because the new Mach 1 isn’t scheduled to arrive at U.S. and Canadian dealerships until Spring of 2021.