Mach 1 – Best Ford Mustang?

Like the Bullitt, there’s no Mach 1 conversion but Ford gives you a choice of transmission, this being a ten-speed automatic or a six-speed manual. The second is one of the main technical differences between the new edition and the Bullitt, the manual version which has a Getrag MT-82 gearbox.

The new car stick shift is the Tremec TR-3160, as featured on the current Shelby GT350 and GT350R. In North America, the Coyote’s aluminum 5.0-liter V8 produces 480 horsepower and 420 lb ft (569 Nm) of torque but cars for the European Ford market have less power and torque.

Even at ‘only’ 338 kW (460 PS) and 529 Nm (390 lb ft), the Mach 1 is blazing fast and a lot of fun. Width can be a problem on some UK roads but compared to many large ICE-powered EVs and SUVs, the Mustang is very easy on narrow country lanes.

There are quite a few things that set the Mach 1 apart from other Mustangs. To start with there is a badge in a font that goes back to the original that debuted for the 1969 model year car. Ford revived the name a few more times in the 70s and early 2000s with similar exterior changes each time.

The first hood which was painted partially Mach 1 black was reinterpreted as broad stripes for the newest car, and the black stripes on the doors are also present, only on the underside. Buyers can choose from eight body colors and line combinations and there’s a glossy black trim for the grille.

Ford put the special edition name on the trunk lid along with the small wings and there are special 19-inch wheels. Neither the blue oval nor the word Mustang appear on the rear but there is a prancing pony on the grille. You also get a bespoke front splitter and a version-specific diffuser at the rear which is claimed to provide extra downforce.

The braking system includes Brembo six-piston calipers up front and an electrically recalibrated steering wheel with a newly designed subframe plus stiffer springs.

On the inside, not much different from the Bullitt, the same white ball is displayed over the gear lever in manual transmission cars, the numbered plaque is mounted on the dashboard, the steering wheel is heated and so is the black leather. front seats (plus they have coolers).

Get down into one of the seats, look around and the age of this car suddenly shows. Is that a bad thing? The handbrake looks a bit of a setback compared to the automatic switch which is more or less the norm in other Fords and that’s not helped by the absence of a switch for the RHD. Never mind: there’s actually a lot to like about the old-school charm, not to mention the whole muscle car aura that fills the cockpit.

Ford has updated the instrumentation cluster with digital gauges, the best of which is obviously the rev counter for that massive engine, which, incidentally, sounds amazing when the starter motor cranks it up. You can also stay friends with your neighbors, thanks to the Silent mode for the exhaust system and all four exhausts.

Officially, it’s a 20+mpg car but it’s too easy to drop consumption to mid teens so an everyday car, in fact will frequent gas stations. But surely not many owners have this as their only car.

And the driving experience? Absolutely fantastic and very addictive. It’s hard not to hit the gas pedal at idle just to listen to the engine. There’s also rev-matching on the down-changes for added fun. In addition to the Launch function, the driving modes are: Normal, MyMode, Snow/Wet, Sport+, Track and Drag.

On damp roads, the Mach 1 can go wild if you’re determined to push it too hard even with the safety technology trying to prevent sideways egress so respect is required. There’s no way I’d call it dangerous: communication about what happens at the tire-meets-asphalt point is loud and clear. And then there’s Launch Control – for manual cars only – which guarantees a big smile but maybe less tire and clutch life.

Ford has revamped the chassis setup of the S550 series Mustang to a higher level of brilliance for this new variant. It is a tribute to the company’s engineers that a car in the last years of its life cycle is still very sharp. The suspension even manages to offer a much more comfortable ride than expected.

There really isn’t another car like this available in the UK at least, and Ford has earned itself what might be a great moneymaker and image enhancer. Will the fastest and loudest next-generation Mustang have as much raw character as Mach 1?

The Mustang Mach 1 starts at GBP55,255, will hit 62 miles per hour in 4.8 seconds (manual), has a top speed of 166 mph, a combined Economy of 22.8 mpg and a CO2 average of 284 g/km.

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