2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1
Blog Car Guide

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Review

A mismatch of all the best Mustang parts turns the Mach 1 into one compelling package. We put Ford's naturally-aspirated, V8-powered pony car to the test.

Key Features:

  • Great performance for the money
  • Track-ready handling
  • Hair-raising exhaust note

Direct Competitors:

  • Chevrolet Camaro
  • Dodge Challenger

Mach 1 is a name that hearkens back to the late 1960s. Back then, it was a performance-focused option package, one that proved so successful for Ford, that it soldered on throughout the 1970s. It made a comeback in 2003 but disappeared again in 2004. 

Nobody expected Ford to resurrect it. But it did. And just like its ancestors, the 2021 Mach 1 is essentially a Mustang GT wearing a set of very special parts. But transformed into what is arguably the best driving Mustang yet.

If you’re in the market for a Mustang, check out our current inventory here.

Mustang Mach 1’s pricing and rivals

The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 kicks off at $68,150. This allows it to slot its way between a Mustang GT and a Shelby GT500. The car also replaces both the old Shelby GT350 and the Bullitt. The Mach 1 is mostly track-dedicated, meaning most of its modifications were engineered to allow its driver to race on weekends, then daily drive it during the week.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 | Photo: Ford 

Optional packages for enhanced performance

To further increase the Mach 1’s track abilities, Ford offers a series of optional packages. For instance, our tester was fitted with the much recommended $4,500 Handling Package which adds a set of unique 19-inch wheels, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 performance tires and Gurney flap for the decklid spoiler. Our car also had the orange Mach 1 racing livery, a must have option that gives the car a seriously racy look. 

The Mustang’s main rivals continue to be the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger, each of which also offer their own performance variants as well. Perhaps the Mach 1’s closest rival from Chevrolet would be the Camaro’s 1LE package, while at Dodge, the Challenger Scat Pack 392 Widebody would fit the bill.

Inside the resurrected Mustang Mach 1

There isn’t much inside a Mach 1 that distinguishes it from a standard Mustang GT, except for some orange cues on the seats and a Mach 1 plaque installed on the dashboard towards the passenger side. 

The Mach 1 does however inherit the Bullitt’s Q-ball shift knob, and the default instrument cluster setup is the Mustang GT’s track layout.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 | Photo: Ford 

The Mustang’s cabin remains a comfortable and snug place to spend some time. There’s a proper old school feel, from the way you sit far back close to the rear wheels and how you look through the windshield over a long hood. 

The sport bucket seats feel fantastic, with plenty of lateral support, even for wider drivers. Most of the Mustang’s controls are well laid out and simple to grasp. We continue to enjoy the Ford Sync 3 infotainment system for its ease of use. It also connected quickly to Android Auto (in our case).

We were let down by the menus located inside the gauge cluster, which are needed to adjust the Mach 1’s obnoxiously loud performance exhaust. Don’t get us wrong, we appreciate a good soundtrack from an American sports car anytime, but toning things down requires a few fumbles through the ridiculously complicated menu. Even when it’s set to “Quiet” mode, the Mach 1 is so loud that it may just annoy your neighbors. 

Performance and driving impressions

The Mach 1’s engine is not the 5.0-liter V8 from the GT, but the one that used to power the Bullitt. This means that instead of cranking out 460 horsepower, it’s rated at 480 horsepower, with torque remaining at 420 lb-ft. Because this is the Bullitt’s engine, the Mach 1 also gets the Bullitt’s tuned exhaust system. So, it may be loud, but the Mach 1 also sounds properly mean.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 | Photo: Ford 

Ford then bolts this engine onto the Shelby GT350’s six-speed Tremec TR-3160 manual transmission. But it is possible to order a Mach 1 with a ten-speed automatic gearbox. 

That manual transmission by the way was track-tested and calibrated, with shorter gear ratios to improve the Mustang’s acceleration. The manual cars also come with the Shelby GT350’s clutch and flywheel. Furthermore, the Mach 1’s Magnaride adaptive dampers and entire suspension components are hooked onto the Shelby GT350’s front and rear subframes, for added chassis rigidity.

On the road: Ford’s most track-capable 5.0L Mustang to date?

On the road, there’s no denying how quick and fun the Mach 1 is, but it’s also a handful to drive on public roads. Those performance tires are 305-mm wide sets in the front, meaning the Mach 1 constantly tramlines on damaged pavement. You need to stay alert when driving this thing, because the moment you get your hand off the wheel, it’ll tug you out of your lane within seconds.

Once you’ve managed to tame the beast, this is one heck of a fun Mustang to flog hard into a corner. The level of grip is mind-blowing and power from the naturally aspirated V8 is relentless. 

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 | Photo: Ford 

The modified drivetrain does a lot to change the Mustang’s character, as the engine pulls with much more urgency and climbs through the revs quicker. The level of grip is also impressive, especially on a warm surface. 

Dump the clutch from a standstill, and if you’ve done it right, you’ll barely get any wheel spin. The Mach 1 sticks to the road and marches forward. It commands you to drive it hard. 

Verdict: is the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 worth it?

The fact that the Mach 1 costs about the same as the old Shelby GT350 may seem a bit ridiculous for some, but there’s no denying the amount of performance and fun you’ll be getting from this package. 

With the Mach 1, Ford takes everything we love about the great Mustangs of the past, throws it into a blender, and serves it back to us in the form of a colorful and loud smoothie that’s loaded with character. Even if it’s expensive, the limited-production Mach 1 is definitely worth your hard-earned dollars.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 key specs

Here are the Mach 1’s specs with the Handling Package, as tested.


5.0L V8


6-speed manual (TR-3160)

Horsepower & Torque

480 hp, 420 lb-ft.


3.73 TORSEN (manual)

Powertrain Cooling

- 36m radiator

- Air engine oil cooler

- Transmission cooler

- Rear differential cooler


(tarnished dark-painted aluninum)

Front: 19" x 10.5"

Rear: 19" x 11"


(Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 Summer)

Front: 305/30R19

Rear: 315/30R19


- Unique Mach 1 chassis tuning

- GT500 rear subframe and toelink

- Standard MagnaRide

The Easiest Way to Buy or Sell a Car