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Driven: Ford Mustang Mach 1. Image by Ford.

Driven: Ford Mustang Mach 1
Reinvigorating the fabled Mach 1 name, this is supposedly the best version of the current-generation of Mustang. But will it live up to the billing?

   



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2022 Ford Mustang Mach 1

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With the current-generation Mustang soon to be replaced, this is its last hurrah. A slightly more powerful, more focussed version named after a legend. Yep, Ford has dusted off the Mach 1 nameplate, and fitted it to a new 5.0-litre, V8-powered Mustang Fastback. But is it worth the extra money compared with a 'standard' GT model, and is it worthy of the Mach 1 badge?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2022 Ford Mustang Mach 1
Price: £60,075
Engine: 5.0-litre V8 petrol
Transmission: six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power: 460hp
Torque: 529Nm
Emissions: 284g/km
Economy/Range: 22.8mpg
0-62mph: 4.8 seconds
Top speed: 166mph
Boot space: 408 litres

Styling

In basic terms, the Mach 1 looks like any other Mustang coupe you've ever seen. It still has the same basic shape, but Ford has added to it with, among other things, some natty Mach 1 decals and badges. There's a selection of colour schemes, and each car gets the Active Valve Performance Exhaust system with four chromed 4.5-inch tips. But the more important additions are the aerodynamic features including the front grilles, front splitter and rear diffuser, as well as the 19-inch alloy wheels.

Interior

The Mach 1 has much the same interior as the standard Mustang, which is a bit of a mixed blessing. The Mustang's cabin quality isn't brilliant, with plenty of hard plastics kicking about, and the construction is nowhere near as solid as that of, say, a BMW M4 Competition. The Mach 1 also comes with Ford's Sync 3 infotainment system, which is serviceable, but not as slick as the more modern Sync 4 systems fitted in the Focus and Mustang Mach-E. All that said, the Mach 1 does come with heated and cooled sports seats and a 12-speaker B&O sound system, as well as the FordPass Connect smartphone connectivity system.

Practicality

Practicality is not exactly the raison díetre of the Mach 1 Ė or indeed any Mustang Ė but the Ford doesnít score badly in terms of boot space. With a 408-litre luggage bay, itís no less spacious than any other Mustang, and it offers more space than your average family hatchback. A Volkswagen Golf has around 30 litres less room, albeit in a noticeably less practical shape. Of course, the Golf has more space in the rear, though, because the Mustangís sloping roofline means thereís no hope of safely fitting adults in the back seats. But at least that makes the lack of legroom irrelevant.

Performance

Like the Mustang GT, the Mach 1 comes with a 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 petrol engine, but it comes with an extra 10hp for good measure. You can choose between a six-speed manual gearbox and a 10-speed automatic transmission, which is the fastest option of the two. Both accelerate from 0-62mph in less than five seconds, with the 460hp output pushing the automatic Mach 1 through the benchmark sprint in 4.4 seconds. The manual takes an extra four tenths to manage the same feat, but it feels more engaging and more involving and it has a higher top speed of 166mph. Of course, economy isnít that great Ė the Mach 1 barely tops 20mpg Ė but thatís unlikely to be a big problem for most Mustang buyers. And itís a small price to pay for the glorious V8 noise.

Ride & Handling

Building on the driving dynamics of the standard 5.0-litre Mustang isnít really that difficult Ė itís something of a blunt instrument Ė but the Mach 1 is a marked improvement. Sure, it still feels like a sledgehammer compared with the scalpels produced by European manufacturers, but the Mach 1 is the first Mustang to get close to its rivals from across the pond. Thatís partly down to the MagneRide damping system and the Mach 1 Handling Package with aero tweaks and adjustable suspension, which helps to give the car some handling prowess, but itís still less rigid than a BMW M4 Competition and it doesnít feel as sharp as you turn into corners. But itís much more agile than most Mustangs, and it has a lovely analogue muscularity to it. And despite the old-school sportiness, the suspension is just about supple enough to prevent the ride from being too solid.

Value

Mach 1 prices start at just over £60,000 and rise by another £2,000 if you want the 10-speed automatic gearbox. That makes the Mach 1 £10,000 more expensive than a 'standard' 5.0-litre GT model, which is quite a difference. That said, the extra money not only pays for the added power, styling and performance, but for the B&O sound system, climate-controlled front seats and all the usual Mustang goodies, including leather upholstery and satellite navigation. It does miss out on adaptive cruise control, though. But if you really want to define value, look at the Mach 1 in the context of its rivals. The new BMW M4 Competition, for example, which costs £81,000. The BMW might be better to drive, but £81,000 would get you a Mach 1, a Fiesta, and some change.

Verdict

The value is key to the Mach 1's success. Whereas an M4 Competition is an incredibly expensive car, the Mach 1 is merely an expensive car. It's also the best Mustang yet, and while it may lack the M4's finesse, it has a rugged, blue-collar charm that gives you a more emotional attachment. If, like most people, you care little for lap times but you love Mustang's looks and noise, you're going to absolutely adore it.



James Fossdyke - 19 Jan 2023



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2022 Ford Mustang Mach 1. Image by Ford.2022 Ford Mustang Mach 1. Image by Ford.2022 Ford Mustang Mach 1. Image by Ford.2022 Ford Mustang Mach 1. Image by Ford.







 

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