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2021 Mustang Mach 1 Debuts With Serious Suspension And Aero Upgrades

After a 17-year hiatus, the all-new Mustang Mach 1 fastback coupe makes its world premiere - becoming the modern pinnacle of style, handling and 5.0-liter V-8 pony car performance.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

We’ll have more on the new Mach 1 soon, so be sure to subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford Mustang news and around-the-clock Ford news coverage.

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Written by Brett Foote

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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12 Comments

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  1. So really mostly a much less powerful replacement for the GT350.

    I was hoping the GT would get a boost in horsepower to 500 soon, but that likely won’t happen now.

    • It’s actually not a replacement for the GT350. It’s, in spirit, a replacement for the Bullitt. And, it’s only got 9 fewer lb-ft than the 5.2 liter flat plane crank motor.

  2. Thats actually pretty disappointing. The horsepower isn’t enough to stand up the the outgoing 5.2L, the torque in proportion to the horsepower is depressing, and a bigger number for each is really the justice that the Mach 1 reintroduction needed.

  3. 480hp is still a lot of power. My only gripe is that the “performance pack” does not have an auto option or DCT option. Was also hoping for a much more “Mach 1” interior but it is what it is.

    The fact that Ford decided to just dig in the parts bin and not do any further upgrades to the 5.0L makes me further suspect that this may be the swan song for the 5.0L V8 in the Mustang as well as the F150. Most F150 buyers opt for the 3.5L Ecoboost or even the 2.7L Ecoboost and not the 5.0L and plants are throttling back the production of the 5.0L truck engine. Plus the fact that the 3.5L Ecoboost is mid-grade trim produces 450hp/510tq which is only 10hp less than a GT and more torque than any other naturally aspirated mustang has ever made from the factory makes it a shoe in for a Coyote replacement. Not to mention the 3.0L Ecoboost which makes 400hp/415tq and the 3.0L Hybrid ecoboost which makes 494hp and 630lb-ft of torque and both of those engines are featured in the CD6 platform Explorer/Aviator, which the next mustang will be based on and the 3.5L Ecoboost has been swapped in a few different S197 mustangs so fitment isn’t an issue. Ford is also bringing a 2.3L hybrid to the Ranger with around 370hp and 501lb-ft of torque. Even tweaked for a performance car to bring 390hp/480tq that wouldn’t be bad. At the top, the 660hp 3.5L Ecoboost from the GT Super car reigns supreme and with a hybrid setup it could equal the performance numbers of the GT500. That along with AWD hybrid setups should prove to make the next mustang, even without a single V8, a better family of cars than anything that came before it wearing the running pony badge.

  4. The Biggest Problem is the car is wearing the wrong name, it should have been call BOSS 302 / BOSS 302 Laguna Seca for the Grill & Chin spoiler Ford used alone. I Really Really Really wishes Ford wouldn’t have done that, The BOSS 302 is above MACH 1 I like both but let’s be 4REAL.500 horsepower was a must do for this model instead.Ford turn it into a Frankenstein Parts Bin model No Shaker or Ram Air Hood, just more colors and body stripes on a Bullitt with a GT350 tranny and 10 speed Auto.What was wrong with the 03/04 wheels ?Why a white shifter Knob?

  5. Guess I’m not all that concerned with the horsepower issue…but very excited about having the handling and cooling capability of the outgoing GT 350 with a more usable power band.

    • I believe air induction systems, like many other systems have evolved quite a bit in the past 50 plus years….

  6. Jim Hackett, Jim Farley or Who Ever this is Epic fail. The BOSS 302 is the Road Course Car, MACH 1 is the Drag Strip Car Ford just put this car in in competition with your own model The BOSS. You should have let the person who did the 03-04 MACH 1 handle this. Am going to sell my 2013 BOSS 302 and buy a 2014 Shelby Cobra GT500 since you made these 2 the same model, Thanks A lot

  7. I do wish Ford had massaged 500 hp here though. I agree too with some others here; this looks more like a Boss 302, with different stripes. I’m interested though and may well change my GT for this, as the handling and transmission upgrades, over the GT – especially for the base Mach1, sound great!
    I read elsewhere it’ll be available without the stripes (known as an appearance package) too….so thinking that may be cool.

  8. Missing Shaker is a given do to the amount of plumbing involved. Since the throttle body is so far forward and the hood would be enormously high and odd looking. But, where’s the Black Jade? And what is Fighter Jet Gray doing on a car named after a prop driven aircraft? That color belongs on a commercial truck.

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