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480-horsepower 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 revealed with standard 6-speed manual transmission

The new Ford Mustang Mach 1 brings the company's heritage into focus with more than a few touches of modernity.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford is looking back to go forward. The Mach 1 name is making its return to the Mustang as the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1. It's slated to deliver track-ready performance, bridging the gap between the Ford Mustang GT and Shelby models.

The exterior of the car features all the hallmark looks of the modern Mustang. It's been fitted with a new two-piece upper grille, lower grille, and valance, and new side grilles. The front fascia has been modified to give a more aggressive appearance and improve the car's on-track performance.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1The front of the car features a unique grille that exudes heritage qualities.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The grille is designed to invoke nostalgia with deep three-dimensional mesh and a shark-nosed section with faux lamp elements. On the sides of each grille are the car's turn signals. In the middle of the grille sites a low-gloss Magnetic pony badge. Throughout the exterior of the car, low-gloss Magnetic elements continue including on the mirror caps and rear spoiler.

A rear spoiler works with other elements of the car to give the Mustang Mach 1 22 percent more downforce than a Mustang GT with Performance Pack Level 1. Add in the Mach 1's available Handing Package and that number jumps to 150 percent.

To enhance track endurance, engineers added two side heat exchangers – one to cool engine oil, the other transmission oil – as well as a rear axle cooling system and lower diffuser from the Shelby GT500.

Get under the car and you'll see the new underbelly pan, which extends 20 inches further rearward than on a Mustang GT Performance Pack in an effort to smooth and increase airflow, as well as increase downforce. There are also belly pan airfoils in the brake cooling ramps improve downforce and assist the brake cooling flow – a first for Mustang.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford has given the model its latest MagneRide calibration, a stiffer steering I-shaft, new EPAS calibration, stiffer sway bars and front springs, a brake booster from the Mustang GT Performance Pack Level 2, 9.5-inch/10-inch split fitment wheels with Michelin PS4 tires, a rear subframe with stiffer bushings and a rear toe-link from Shelby GT500.

The car rides on 19-inch x 9.5-inch, and 19-inch x 10-inch five-spoke Tarnished Dark-painted aluminum wheels. The wheels are a modern version of Ford's Magnum 500 style wheels. Buyers who opt for the Handling Package get unique, wider 19-inch x 10.5-inch front, and 19-inch x 11-inch rear Tarnished Dark-painted aluminum wheels.

Satin Black side and hood stripes are included with reflective accent stripes in any of three colors: Red, White and Orange (Appearance Package only). Exterior color options include the Mach 1-exclusive Fighter Jet Gray (Appearance Package only), as well as Iconic Silver, Shadow Black, Oxford White, Velocity Blue, Twister Orange, Race Red and Grabber Yellow.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1The Mustang Mach 1 is a new grade level of the traditional Mustang coupe.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Under the hood is a 48-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 engine that aches 420 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with a standard Tremec six-speed manual transmission - the same as in the Shelby GT350. The system has ben paired with the GT250 oil cooler system and the Mustang GT's twin-disc clutch and short-throw shifter.

Buyers can upgrade to a 10--speed automatic transmission with an upgraded torque converter and unique calibration that enables optimizing torque capability, shift character and overall enhanced performance. A second air-to-oil cooler increases cooling capacity by 75 percent.

Ford has made the Handling Package available only for models that are equipped with a manual transmission. It includes a larger unique higher downforce front splitter, new front wheel lip moldings, and a low-gloss Magnetic swing spoiler with a Gurney flap and rear tire spats from Shelby GT500.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1The car is equipped with high-tech equipment to make it ready for any track day.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The car's interior is pretty standard for a Mustang. It features a Dark Spindrift instrument panel with aluminum accents. Buyers who opt for leather seats get them in Ebony with an accent stripe. Buyers can also upgrade to get new door sill plates, an updated splash screen on the 12.3-inch all-LCD instrument cluster, a white cue ball shift knob, and engraved badging that displays the vehicle's unique chassis number.

The limited edition 2021 Mustang Mach 1 will arrive in U.S. and Canadian Ford dealerships in the spring of 2021.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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Lincoln will not make a performance variant to compete with Cadillac.

Lincoln

TheLincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade have been duking it out at the top of luxury SUV rankings for decades, but there’s one area of the Caddy’s development that Lincoln won’t touch. In a recent interview, a company executive told Ford Authority that it has no plans to create a performance variant of the Navigator to compete with the upcoming Escalade V from Cadillac.

2022 Lincoln NavigatorThe new Navigator features several upscale touches and excellent tech. Lincoln

That means the Navigator will stick with the powertrain it’s carried for years, which is a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine that makes 440 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a smooth ten-speed automatic and either rear- or four-wheel drive. While there’s more than enough power to get the hulking Lincoln moving, it’s not a powertrain that inspires excitement or engagement, and though beefy, it’s tuned much more for comfort and quietness than drama.

Though more than adequate, those specs are a far cry from the numbers we expect from the Escalade V. The full-size bruiser from Cadillac is expected to get a supercharged 6.2-liter V8, similar to the unit seen in the CT5-V Blackwing and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. We don’t know power numbers yet, but the engine should deliver horsepower and torque numbers in the high 600s.

Cadillac Escalade VThe Escalade V will be massively powerful. Cadillac

That Lincoln is taking a different approach isn’t surprising. The automaker has already announced its intention to go all-electric, so pouring more time and resources into creating a performance gas-powered SUV isn’t in line with its goals. Company executives have also expressed a desire to avoid imitating rivals, so the decision to leave a performance Navigator behind is not surprising.

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