Is the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Faster Than the BMW M2 CS?

by Gabrielle DeSantis

The Bullitt and the Shelby GT350 aren’t around anymore, but in their place is the Ford Mustang Mach 1. And it comes with a few Shelby-like features to get it ready for the racetrack. But is it properly geared up to take on something like the 2021 BMW M2 CS? YouTube team Throttle House took to the track to find out.

The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 is “Ford’s most track-capable 5.0-liter Mustang yet,” Car and Driver says

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 | Ford

Think of the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 as a trim in-between the outgoing Bullitt and Shelby GT350. And that’s not just because its performance falls roughly in the middle of those two trims. The Mach 1 uses parts from both the Bullitt and the GT350 to get it ready for the racetrack. And for good measure, it also features parts from the now-discontinued GT Performance Pack 2, Car and Driver reports.

Like the Bullitt, the Ford Mustang Mach 1 has a 5.0-liter V8 rated at 480 hp and 420 lb-ft. Unlike the Bullitt, though, the Mach 1 has an optional 10-speed automatic. But the standard six-speed manual isn’t from the Bullitt, but the GT350. The Mach 1’s front and rear subframes are also from the GT350, as are its engine oil and transmission coolers, Roadshow notes. And the rear diffuser and suspension components come from the GT500.

The side 3/4 view of a gray-black-and-orange 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 with the Handling Package by a racetrack garage
2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 with Handling Package side 3/4 | Ford

Because the Mach 1 is built on a GT with the Performance Pack 1, it has those features included, MotorTrend explains. That means it has Brembo brakes, stiffer suspension, additional chassis bracing, a larger radiator and rear sway bar, and a limited-slip differential. Adaptive magnetorheological dampers are standard, as is Mach 1-specific tuning for the stability and traction control, steering, and driving modes. And the muscle also gets the chassis tuning, upgraded brake booster, stiffer sway bars and springs, and summer tires from the PP2.

However, if that’s not enough, there’s also an optional Handling Package, Car and Driver reports. This comes with a Gurney-flap-equipped spoiler from the GT500, a front splitter, grippier Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, and adjustable top strut mounts. Plus, it gives the Mach 1 lighter-weight aluminum wheels for reducing unsprung weight, MT notes.

But the 2021 BMW M2 CS “might…be the best BMW sports car of all time,” MotorTrend claims

A blue 2021 BMW M2 CS on a racetrack
2021 BMW M2 CS | BMW

When it comes to sharpness, though, the 2021 BMW M2 CS might have the Ford Mustang Mach 1 beat. That’s because, while the Mach 1 is a sharper GT, it’s not quite as sporty as the GT350, Roadshow notes. In contrast, the M2 CS is a sportier version of the M2 Competition, which is already the sportier version of the M2, MT explains.

Under the hood, the 2021 BMW M2 CS uses the same 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six as the M2 Competition. That means 444 hp and 406 lb-ft sent to the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The M2 CS also has the same active LSD as the M2 Competition, Roadshow reports, and the same standard brakes.

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However, unlike the M2 Competition, the BMW M2 CS has adaptive M-tuned suspension. And with a carbon-fiber roof, hood, mirror caps, front splitter, rear diffuser, center console, transmission tunnel, and rear spoiler, it’s lighter than the Competition. Plus, it offers optional carbon-ceramic brakes and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, Car and Driver reports. Also, while it rides on 19” wheels like the Competition, the M2 CS’s wheels are lighter, MT notes.

Add all this together and you’re left with what MT calls “the best sports car Bavaria has built in more than a decade—and maybe ever.” But it will cost you, especially compared with the Ford Mustang Mach 1. After destination, the Mach 1 starts at $53,915; the Handling Package adds $3500. However, the BMW M2 CS costs $84,595 after destination, Roadshow reports

Which is faster on Throttle House’s track?

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On paper, the BMW M2 CS is the faster car in a straight line. With a manual, it goes 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds, Car and Driver reports. The DCT cuts that down to 3.8 seconds. As for the Ford Mustang Mach 1, Car and Driver recorded a 4.3-second 0-60 mph time with the manual car. But with the automatic, Motor1 estimates it could hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds.

However, Throttle House didn’t test these cars in a straight line, but on its racetrack. There, co-host Thomas set a 1:10.35 lap in the M2 CS, beating the Camaro ZL1 1LE by 0.76 seconds. And he reiterated what MT said, saying that it’s “easily the most fun, most sorted sports car I think I’ve ever driven.”

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Unfortunately, Throttle House wasn’t allowed to set a lap time in the Ford Mustang Mach 1. But Thomas did set a course time in the significantly more powerful and sharper Shelby GT500, albeit not one with the optional Track Pack. Nevertheless, even with over 300 more horsepower than the BMW, the M2 CS’s lap time was still faster. So, in all likelihood, the Mach 1 wouldn’t be able to match it.

On a technicality, then, the M2 CS is the faster sports car.

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