Ford’s new Mustang Mach 1 Premium is a special Mustang trim that falls just above the GT in the pecking order of the many great Mustangs one can buy today. We drove the Mustang Mach 1 Premium Coupe on the roads of greater Boston as well as backroads New England and found it is the perfect fun car for an enthusiast, but could also be a capable three-season daily driver. Here’s what we found makes the Mach 1 Premium, as we will call it, special.
Powertrain and Performance
The Mach 1 Premium has a 480 hp 5.0-liter V8 engine that is the core of this vehicle. Ford will build you a Mustang with many other engine options, but if your aim is on-road performance and track-day capability, this one can scratch both of those itches. We loved the thrust, but also the sounds this Mach 1 Premium delivers. Ford adds two heat exchangers – one to cool engine oil, the other transmission oil – as well as a rear axle cooling system to make this Mustang more track-day capable.
Our tester had the optional 10-speed, rev-matching automatic with paddle shifters and sport mode. In the greater Boston driving we did, this made the vehicle much more practical, and we think, enjoyable as well. The gear ratios of the 10-speed in the Mach 1 Premium differ from those in the GT.
The Mach 1 Premium has many design elements that make it stand out. These include the matte finish stripe on the hood, front splitter, rear spoiler, and low-gloss magnetic and black accents all over the vehicle. The Mach 1 gets the rear diffuser from the Shelby GT500. The painted Brembo brake calipers offset the color of the car nicely.
Seats and Interior
Inside, Ford adds a unique Dark Spindrift instrument panel with aluminum accents. The Ebony-colored heated and cooled leather seats have an accent stripe. Other special touches include new door sill plates, and engraved badging that displays the vehicle’s unique chassis number. Ours was 39.
What we liked most of all about the interior was that with the window glass down the Mach 1 Premium can cruise at speeds up to around 50 MPH without wind buffering spoiling the vibe. Your arm can rest on the door sill and there is no B-pillar in your view. The classic coupe layout works perfectly in 2021.
Audio & Infotainment
The infotainment of the Mach 1 Premium features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. We rocked Pandora on the B&O premium sound system and found that the audio was fantastic, even with the side glass down. The Mach 1 Premium has a 12.3-inch all-LCD instrument cluster.
There is no stupid faux-modern gear selector for the transmission. Ford placed the classic cue ball shift knob in the perfect spot. You pull it back to get D or Sport, and push it forward to get N, R, or P. Unlike many modern premium performance coupes, Ford put function on an equal footing with form.
My wife has had many rides in amazing cars with overly loud exhaust noise inside the cabin. So much so, that she won’t drive with me long distances in them anymore. This Mustang offers a robust exhaust bark, growl, and roar when hard you're on the throttle, but not when you are cruising on the highway. Inside, it is no louder than a typical car when calmly logging miles on the highway.
Having owned a couple of special cars, I know first-hand that being able to get to your backroads touring area without a headache or back pain is a big plus. This car offers that bonus. One could comfortably commute in this Mustang if they opted to.
Our test vehicle had an as-tested price of $55,510 including the destination fee. We can't name a performance coupe that offers more bang for the buck. During our time with the Mustang Mach 1 Premium, we shared the road with quite a few European and Asian performance coupes with much higher price tags. None of which could touch this Mach 1 on any type of closed course.
Frankly, that is secondary in our mind. What matters most is that Ford found a way to elevate the performance and styling of the GT without breaking the bank. Those looking for a Mustang with incredible capability that retains real-world comfort and convenience will find it in the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Premium.
You can see more of our coverage of this Mustang Mach 1 on TikTok @ToknCars.
John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. After earning his mechanical engineering degree, John completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers, in the semiconductor industry, and in biotech. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on TikTok @ToknCars, on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin