Connect with us

Autos

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 turns something borrowed into something new

Published

on

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1

The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 feels familiar from the moment I climb into it, which is to be expected. Though the limited-edition Mustang is a new model this year, all of the components are from vehicles I’ve tested before, combined in a witch’s cauldron to create a magic potion of performance. Even the name is borrowed as Mach 1 is a revived nameplate that first launched in 1969 and was last used in 2004 on the fourth-generation car.

We are now in the Mustang’s sixth generation, and with the Bullitt and GT350/GT350R discontinued for 2021, Ford needed something to fill the space between the Mustang GT and the Shelby GT500. The Mach 1 rips down parts from both shelves. The engine, twin-disc clutch, and short-throw shifter come from the Mustang GT, while the Tremec 6-speed manual transmission is swiped from the GT350. The GT500 donates various suspension, aerodynamic, and cooling parts for track duty. 

A full day of testing on the track at Willow Springs Raceway and the surrounding streets revealed a car that isn’t simply thrown together out of the parts bin, but a cohesive and track-ready Mustang that hits the sweet spot at the performance end of the Mustang lineup.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Mach 1 models featuring the available appearance package ($1,000) are the easiest to spot, with exclusive fighter jet gray paint, orange accents inside and out, orange brake calipers, and an ebony/orange interior to boot. Mach 1 badging sits on each front fender. 

The tail is highlighted by four massive exhaust tips, which project the V-8’s monstrous bellow into the world. The Mustang is sold worldwide now, and the Mach 1’s exhaust was designed to toe the maximum decibel line as closely as it could in multiple countries but stay legal everywhere. The exhaust note isn’t as distinctive as the tune played by the GT350’s flat-plane-crank V-8. It’s closer to what you get in the standard GT, but with added gusto and it still sounds appropriately coarse and substantial. 

The 5.0-liter V-8 makes 480 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, a boost of 20 hp over the standard Mustang GT and a match for the Mustang Bullitt’s output from a year ago. The 6-speed manual transmission comes standard, with a 10-speed automatic optional. Power flows to the rear wheels and the rear wheels alone.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1

This engine is a more than willing dance partner. It gets into the power quickly for a naturally aspirated engine, and the throttle mapping is spot on for both street and track. This level of dexterity is hard to pull off for an engine that nears 500 hp, but kudos to Ford for making it feel very controllable in all situations. 

I blistered the track in both the manual and automatic, and each was excellent in its own way. With the automatic in Track mode, I didn’t feel the need to grab for the paddle shifters in any situation; the Mach 1 seemed to be in the right gear on entries and exits, and held to near redline on the straightaways. When I did select my own gears, the transmission was very responsive and kept up with multiple pulls of the paddles in rapid succession. However, I found it hard to keep track of 10 gears in my head while I was trying to focus on driving clean laps.

Ford had test drivers on hand who said they were putting down similar lap times with the automatic and the manual, though for those of us who aren’t professionals the automatic will be quicker. 

Nonetheless, the manual is much more fun, thanks to two key features: rev-matching and no-lift shifting. 

No-lift shifting is something to behold. With the engine charging hard over 5,000 rpm and the throttle pushed down at least 90%, you clutch in, keep the throttle pinned, and shift gears. I’m used to backing off the gas when shifting, but if you do that the throttle won’t be open far enough to prevent the transmission from locking out the next gear when you attempt a no-lift shift. Once you do it correctly, it’s supremely satisfying to come out of a corner into a straight and just pin that gas pedal to the floor. It works between all the gears, but is most useful for shifts between second and third and third and fourth. Those two performance features, along with well defined gates, easy-to-operate clutch pedal, and the very cool cue-ball shifter are enough to make me prefer the manual.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1

It’s telling that we tested the Mach 1 on the tighter, more technical Streets of Willow rather than Willow Spring’s larger track. The two straightaways were enough to get a feel for the Mach 1’s ability to build speed (and no-lift shifting), but the tighter corners revealed a car that continues to chip away at the stereotype of the Mustang as a point-and-squeeze muscle car that gets lost in the bends. 

I was thankful that the Mach 1s I tested on track featured the $3,500 Handling Package. It includes a larger front splitter that provides 150% more front downforce than a Mustang GT Performance Pack, plus a larger spoiler, rear tire spats from the GT500, and most consequentially, wider 19×10.5-inch front and 19×11-inch rear wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. I didn’t come close to testing out the 2 mph gain in top speed (from 166 to 168 mph with the manual) but the added grip from those tires and the big jump in downforce made the Mustang feel planted on the track. The nose never twitched when turning in at speed, and I detected no hint of understeer. 

The entire package makes the Mach 1 nearly flawless on the track. It doesn’t have quite the of the outgoing GT350, but 480 horses is plenty. The GT350/GT500 suspension components make a difference compared to a GT PP2 as it feels another degree sharper on turn-in. Whether accelerating or carving up corners, the Mach 1 just feels incredibly stable even though the world is passing by very quickly. Lots of cars claim that you can drive them to the track, play, then drive home the same day. The Mach 1 is a perfect example of that ideal.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1

On the street, the Mach 1 feels more or less like a normal GT with the Performance Package. My street tester was stripped of the Handling Package, but the steering still imparted plenty of road feel and the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires are still a good match for any canyon road. The standard adaptive magnetic dampers do a good job of tailoring the Mach 1 to match its environment; it’s comfortable in Tour mode and notably firm in the Sport+ and Track modes. 

The Mustang Mach 1 starts at $52,915, about $8,000 less than the outgoing GT350 but more than the Bullitt’s $48,905 starting MSRP from last year. It’s a great value when you consider that a Mustang GT with the Performance Package, adaptive suspension, and an active exhaust costs $52,400. I’d much rather pony up the extra $515 to buy the better vehicle. If you do plan on tracking your Mach 1, the Handling Package is a no-brainer for $,3500.

Ford hasn’t said how many Mach 1s will be built, only that the model mix (transmission, packages, etc.) will be determined by demand and that orders remain open ahead of its on-sale date later this spring.

Though the Mustang loses some varieties for 2021, the one it gains back is an absolute blast. The Mach 1 borrows from the cars it replaces to provide a thumping soundtrack and a high level of track performance. While its power figures are great, the pony car’s stand-out features are its sure-footed handling and trackability. What a wonderful machine.

Ford provided test vehicles and track-time at Willow Springs Raceway for Motor Authority to bring you this first-hand drive report.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Autos

Audi to unveil EV concept in Shanghai, and it may just be a sedan

Published

on

Marc Lichte

Audi on Thursday provided a glimpse of a new concept car it plans to unveil at the upcoming Auto Shanghai 2021.

An E-Tron badge at the front confirms the concept as an electric vehicle, but other than that we don’t have any further information.

Rumors point to the concept being a sedan, specifically a fastback-style sedan previewing an electric successor to the current A5 Sportback. Interestingly, there are also rumors the full A5 range might not be renewed after the current generation. Perhaps Audi is planning to replace the A5 with an electric equivalent. The automaker is committed to having at least 20 EVs by 2025, so it’s likely some existing models will either be replaced or redesigned on an EV platform.

Marc Lichte

The only official comment on the matter was made by Audi design chief Marc Lichte who in early 2019 said the automaker was planning an electric sedan similar in size to the A4. He described it as a low, sporty sedan similar to the E-Tron GT. Just a few months later, Audi teased the silhouette of just such a car while presenting the new PPE (Premium Platform Electric) modular EV platform, which Audi is developing for the Volkswagen Group in partnership with Porsche.

The PPE platform will make its production debut next year in an electric Porsche Macan. Audi has also confirmed plans for a Q6 E-Tron that will essentially be a twin to the electric Macan, similar to how the Porsche Taycan and Audi E-Tron GT are twins under the skin. The Q6 E-Tron is due in 2022.

We’ll have all the details soon as the 2021 Shanghai auto show starts April 19. For our full coverage, head to our dedicated hub.

Continue Reading

Autos

Porsche dealers compete in restoration challenge

Published

on

Porsche also has a company-owned restoration shop at its US headquarters in Atlanta

You don’t have to go all the way to Stuttgart, or even to company-owned facilities in Atlanta for restoration of your classic Porsche. To underscore that fact, the 2021 Porsche Classic Restoration Challenge involves 40 dealership service departments across the United States, each restoring a car for the company-sponsored contest.

“The entries run the gamut from the 1950s to the 2000s, from 75 to 612 horsepower, and from rear- to mid- and front-engine layout,” Porsche notes in its announcement of the challenge.

“The years and the miles have written individual histories for each car, but now a common chapter is about to tie their journeys together: the 2021 Porsche Classic Restoration Challenge.”

Previously, the challenge has been based in Europe. However, “The U.S. is home to more classic Porsche sports cars than any other market. After decades on the road, some will inevitably be in need of a little extra care. Enter the Restoration Challenge, where Porsche Classic has encouraged U.S. dealerships to acquire a car that is due for some expert technical attention to ensure many more years of driving pleasure.”

Porsche reports that multiple 356 models, some dating from 1956, as well as five generations of 911, transaxle cars including the 944 and 928, as well as “modern classics” including the first-generation Boxster, are undergoing restoration work.

“Each vehicle will undergo restoration in the best possible hands: Porsche-trained technicians who will have a portfolio of more than 60,000 unique Porsche Classic Genuine Parts at their disposal,” Porsche notes.

Nine of the participating dealerships already have been designated Porsche Classic Partners “who every day go above and beyond in their commitment to keeping vintage cars on the road and driving just as well as the moment they left the factory,” Porsche adds.

Porsche also has a company-owned restoration shop at its US headquarters in Atlanta

]The challenge runs until mid-August when winners will be chosen from three regions — East, South-Central, and West. Those cars will advance to the challenge finals in September, when the winner will be selected based not only on the restoration itself but on documentation.

For more information, visit the Porsche Classic website.

This article, written by Larry Edsall, was originally published on ClassicCars.com, an editorial partner of Motor Authority.

Continue Reading

Autos

Maybach to celebrate 100th anniversary of first car, announce EV

Published

on

1921 Maybach 22/70 HP W3

Maybach was founded in 1909 by Wilhelm Maybach and his son Karl, originally as a company supplying engines for Zeppelin airships and later trains.

The company would soon expand into the car business, with the first prototype, the W1 Testwagen, unveiled in 1919. It proved so popular that a production version was launched just two years later.

That production version was the 22/70 HP W3, unveiled by Maybach in September 1921 at the Berlin International Motor Show. It featured an inline-6 engine generating 70 hp, an impressive figure for the time, as well as many other engineering and luxury marvels, such as brakes at each wheel, a planetary gearbox, and an interior lined in leather and wood.

1921 Maybach 22/70 HP W3

A little over 300 examples of the 22/70 HP W3 were built, after which Maybach launched a variety of additional cars. Maybach ceased building cars at the onset of the Second World War and never returned to it after the war ended, and by 1960 the company was absorbed into Daimler, parent company of Mercedes-Benz.

Today Maybach is a sub-brand of Mercedes and the German automaker plans to celebrate this year’s 100th anniversary of the launch of the 22/70 HP W3. However, the automaker hasn’t said what exactly it has planned so we’ll have to wait and see.

There will likely be special editions of the current Maybach S-Class and Maybach GLS-Class, and judging by the photo above there will also be a reveal of a new V-12-powered Maybach S-Class (only a V-8 is available at present). We can also confirm that an electric Maybach will be revealed in the coming months. It will likely be an ultra-lux version of the new EQS sedan. Stay tuned.

Continue Reading

Trending