Dream cars are a thing of beauty, and some drivers begin to long for their dream car before they’re even old enough to hit the open road. While often this remains nothing more than the wishful thinking of an aspiring driver, there is nothing holding you back from getting behind the wheel of a dream car like the 2021 Ford Mustang. Every driver will have a different idea of what their dream vehicle would be – some drivers may prefer trucks, and some may prefer the versatility of an SUV – but it’s not entirely uncommon for a dream car to be pure muscle.
Muscle cars like the Mustang have been synonymous with style and performance for decades, but despite their attainable price points, very few drivers ever take the opportunity to own these fun vehicles, making their presence quite special indeed. This is very much the case with the 2021 Ford Mustang, but if you are one of those rare drivers who are ready to make your dream car a reality, you’ll have the ride of your life with the Mustang, regardless of if you purchase the entry-level EcoBoost of the supercar-beating Shelby GT500.
A Mustang For Everyone
The 2021 Ford Mustang starts at just over $27,000 for the EcoBoost version, which utilizes a capable turbocharged engine for efficiency and affordability. Inside of its menacing exterior, the 2021 Mustang features an assortment of 21st-century features, with state-of-the-art technology throughout the cozy cabin. The EcoBoost Premium brings an extra level of luxury and style to the most affordable version of the 2021 Mustang.
The next two available trims, GT and GT Premium, both step up to a classic Ford V8 engine. Just like with the EcoBoost Premium, the GT Premium adds a considerable amount of extra features, including heated and ventilated leather seats. While either GT trim will leave most other cars in the dust and fully live up to the Mustang’s dream car status, the Mach 1 and Shelby GT500 are the talk of the town when it comes to raw performance.
The Mach 1 is new for 2021 and includes a more powerful variant of the same V8 inside of the GT. In addition to the twenty extra horsepower, the Mach 1 includes a more capable cooling system and refined aerodynamics that make it a true track weapon straight from the factory. If you’re wondering why the Shelby GT500 gets as much praise as it does, one look at its powertrain is all it takes to realize that this trim means serious business. The hand-built supercharged V8 engine and fast-shifting dual-clutch transmission allow the Shelby GT500 to run circles around even high-end European sports cars that cost tens of thousands of dollars more.
Across all of the available trims for the 2021 Mustang, there are four powertrain configurations. Coming standard with the base EcoBoost model and the EcoBoost Premium is a turbocharged 2.3L four-cylinder engine that comes paired with a 6-speed manual transmission. A manual transmission is somewhat of an expectation for a muscle car, and we suspect a significant portion of those who purchase a Mustang prefer rowing their own gears. For drivers who desire the speed and convenience of an automatic transmission, Ford also offers a 10-speed automatic. Fortunately, those who would prefer to experience the best of both worlds will be pleased to know that this automatic transmission comes with a manual mode and paddle shifters located on the steering wheel.
The turbocharged 2.3L four-cylinder engine produces 310 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. However, an available performance package will increase the output to 330 hp, making it the most powerful production four-cylinder on the market. Fuel-efficiency ratings will differ greatly depending on whether you’re in an automatic or manual Mustang, and the same performance package can alter things further. At its very best, this turbocharged engine earns EPA-estimated ratings of 21 MPG city and 29 MPG highway with the manual transmission or 21 MPG city and 32 MPG highway with automatic.
Those who move up to the GT-Line of the Mustang are in for a real treat as the 5.0L V8 is a highly capable engine. Like the 2.3L turbo of the lower trims, this V8 engine will come paired with a 6-speed manual transmission or a 10-speed automatic. But in either configuration, the 2021 Mustang GT produces 460 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque for a simply exhilarating ride. This engine will also achieve EPA-estimated ratings of 15 MPG city and 24 MPG highway with either transmission. While it’s not exactly a highly efficient vehicle, it still achieves respectable ratings regardless of its vast performance increase.
A modified version of the 5.0L V8 that comes with the GT trims is used once again for the Mach 1. However, this variant of the engine provides an incremental improvement to its horsepower output. This 5.0L V8 provides twenty more horsepower than the one found in the GT, meaning it now produces 480 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. Further, the 6-speed manual transmission in the Mach 1 is slick-shifting and bullet-proof Tremec TR-3160 with auto rev-matching instead of the Getrag MT-82 found in the Mustang GT. Add in the 50% increase in overall powertrain cooling capacity, and the Mach 1 is ready for the track.
Last but certainly, not least is the Mustang Shelby GT500 with its hand-built supercharged 5.2L V8 engine. The Shelby GT500 is undoubtedly the fastest and most powerful Mustang model that you can purchase, and it all starts with its incredible 760 hp and 625 lb-ft of torque. Compared to the 5.0L V8 inside of the GT, the Shelby GT500 has 65% more horsepower and 49% more torque. The GT500 also makes use of a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission not found on any other Mustang. While purists may be disappointed by the lack of a manual option, that disappointment will not last long after they experience the instant downshifts that a dual-clutch makes possible.
Don’t Let Dreams Remain Dreams
With plenty of options, from the affordable Mustang EcoBoost to the extreme performance of the Shelby GT500, the 2021 Mustang is the perfect muscle car. Even if you don’t require top-of-the-line performance, the Mustang is a strong contender that will provide an exciting ride every time you drive it. The same can be said for those who want a muscle car that can tear the open road with unmatched performance, as the Mustang can be fitted to your liking as well.
Ford has been around for over one hundred years, and in its time on the market, there have been numerous models that have come and gone, fading into obscurity, never to be heard from again. However, that cannot be said of the Mustang. The first model came out in the mid-1960s, and after nearly 50 years of continuous production, the Mustang has been in production for almost half as long as Ford has been in the automotive space.
One thing is clear – the original pony car isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and it is only getting better with each passing year. If you have ever had a dream of driving a Mustang, then don’t let it remain a dream. No matter which version has caught your eye, there has been no better time to get behind the wheel of the legendary vehicle.