Low. wide. Muscular. Long hood. Sloping roofline. The regular Mustang is already a tough appearance. The Mach 1 goes a step further. It radiates that it is the most powerful track-worthy Mustang ever to hit Europe's roads. We draw your attention to the new front splitter, the subtle spoiler on the tailgate and the colored stripes on the hood and the sides. The round openings in the grille are a reference to the Mach 1 models from 50 years ago and are purely for decoration.
From the four (!) fist-sized exhausts you can hear the growl and roar of the atmospheric 5.0-liter V8. It is a 460 hp and 529 Nm strong killer that only delivers its maximum power at 7500 rpm. At low revs it blubbers happily, but as soon as you floor the accelerator and the speed passes 4500 rpm, it starts to roar loudly and the rear-wheel drive muscle car pushes you forward like mad.
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The V8 of the Mach 1 breathes more freely than that of the regular Mustang GT and that makes it 11 hp stronger - a trick we know from the Ford Mustang Bullit. It got a different six-speed dual-clutch manual transmission with rev-matching to take the aggressive shifting action on the track smoothly. In any case, much of the hardware and software has been updated for track use. The Mach 1 is also more luxurious than the GT, with adaptive shock absorbers, a navigation system, a thick audio system with 12 speakers and front seats that heat or cool your behind on command.
If you ask me, the Mach 1's two most notable features (its tough appearance and its V8) are also two of its three big pluses. The third is how it feels to drive it. Yes, it looks tough and it's fast, but the six-speed manual transmission makes driving a raw and pure experience. The difference between margarine and butter. Jumping between trampoline and bungee jumping. Pulling or pushing the short poker away from you, rubbing the white billiard ball into your palm, is a heavy and mechanical action. It's our new favorite hobby.
We call it shifting, but really it's the whole experience: you look through a windshield as wide and low as a letterbox. The Mustang pony adorns the handlebars and the steering itself is firm and precise. There's always a bounty of power on hand and you're constantly listening for the murmur, grumble or roar of that impressive V8 in the long nose. Although the 10-speed automatic transmission is probably a great option, switching yourself is more satisfying.
The shocking sales price of approximately 120,000 euros will be discussed below, so we can talk about the seat height and the switches on the dashboard. The lowest position of the comfortable leather sports seats is still a bit on the high side. For a muscle car seat with track ambitions, the Mustang seat won't get your bum close enough to the tarmac.
The metallic toggle switches on the dash that switch between driving modes and drivers only tilt up, not down. Inconvenient if you press one too many times and you have to go through the list of five driving positions again.
The Ford Mustang is only available with a V8 engine. The four-cylinder EcoBoost engine is no longer available. The Mustang GT starts at 104,770 euros for the automatic version and the manual version is about two grand more expensive. The 460 hp Mustang Mach 1 with 10-speed automatic transmission costs 119,750 euros and the Mach 1 with manual gearbox can go for 121,650 euros.
“All sports cars are expensive.”
Of course that is a lot of money, but all sporty models are expensive. A Jaguar F-Type Coupé P450 is in the price list for 145,324 euros. The simplest BMW M5 (not the Competition or the CS) already costs 167,958 euros. Then it is a matter of taste and childhood dreams, on which sports car you break your savings.
If you have financially survived the transaction at the Ford dealer, the damage at the pump is not that bad. The Mustang drives 1 in 10 if you are obediently trudging on the highway and 1 in 8 if you are looking for a nicer route.
I often test electric cars, so a power of 460 hp and a torque of 529 Nm are also strong in EVs, but certainly not abnormal. An electric Volvo XC40 already does 408 hp and 660 Nm. But with the Mach 1, driving itself is accompanied by so much more experience and emotion. Electric driving is definitely the future, but I'll admit that no modern EV has the fiery character of this Mustang.
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