2021 Ford Mustang Review, Ratings, Specs, Prices, and Photos
The Mustang performance story comes in finely graded increments. Turbo-4 cars get basic suspension setups, with upgrades on the shopping list. The same holds true for GT V-8s, but they’re sold in high-tune Mach 1 and Shelby GT500 spec. More of you buy the GT than anything, and based on it, we’re giving the Mustang an 8 for performance, with two points extra for its drivetrain, and one for its ride and handling.
How fast is the Ford Mustang?
Even the turbo-4 Mustang is quite quick. The base 2.3-liter turbo-4 whips up 310 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, while a high-performance version churns out 330 hp and a thicker torque curve. At its slowest, the Mustang can turn in a 0-60 mph time of less than 6.0 seconds; with the 10-speed automatic it’s good for the mid-fives, Ford says. So what if it sounds like it’s on a nebulizer? Order it as a convertible with an automatic; it’s good, too. This is a shame-free zone.
As for handling, without some smart add-ons the Mustang’s stock 17-inch all-season tires get used up quickly. Take the optional handling package for its stiffer suspension tuning, summer performance tires, and a couple of hundred fewer pounds to carry; a stripped-down Ecoboost coupe’s not a bad way to put a toe in the very deep and pricey waters of weekend track days. It’s more balanced and more tossable than the GT, though the tires limit ultimate grip and therefore, ultimate fun.
Ford Mustang GT and Mach 1 performance
We’re blending these Mustangs together as they both feature the 5.0-liter V-8. In the GT, the engine bellows out 460 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, shoving the car through the 60-mph traps in under 4.0 seconds with the sometimes overly shift-happy 10-speed automatic. The 6-speed manual has rev-matching and fluid throws, but it’s a half-second slower to 60 mph.
It’s the power we love, but we’d spend more for the handling we crave. The base GT setup bounds over bumps and gets too loose in corners. With the available Performance Package, it’s tightened up for better handling and gets adaptive dampers to smooth over the ride so it’s tolerable on public roads. This Mustang steers and rides well enough to be a daily driver, but ultimately, there are two other Mustangs with better track credentials.
The limited-edition Mustang Mach 1 is one of them. It tacks on the extra 20 hp from the former Bullitt, but the truly transformative parts have less to do with power and more to do with balance and handling. There are stiffer springs, adaptive dampers, and Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires. A handling package pairs aero add-ons with even stiffer suspension pieces and Michelin Pilot Cup 2 tires.
In the Mach 1, we not only love the power but the Mustang’s agility. All of the looseness is gone, turn-in is sharpened, and the Mustang transforms from a muscle car into a true sports coupe. The 10-speed automatic is up to the task, firing off shifts quickly and holding gears to redline in track mode, but the Tremec 6-speed manual taken from the former GT350 is more fun. It comes with rev-matching and a no-lift shift feature that lets you shift gears while keeping the throttle pinned down so the car doesn’t miss a beat.
With the handling package tacked on, the Mach 1 joins a short list of cars that you can enjoy both on the track and driving to it.
Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang
With the flat-plane-crank GT350 retired, a supercharged 760-hp cross-plane-crank V-8 powers the insanely explosive Shelby GT500 Mustang. It’s extraordinarily grippy, even when it tries to put down all its power. Zero to 60 mph runs in the three-second range give it the kind of power the Mustang’s never had. It’s unforgettable. Drive one if you ever get the chance, or read more about our drive in Motor Authority’s review of the Shelby GT500.
Is the Ford Mustang 4WD?
All ‘Stangs are rear-wheel drive.
Review continues below
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