The Ford Mustang is an American icon, and this week we get the Mach 1 version all new for 2021. The more common GT model, with its 460-horsepower V8, starts at $38K, but this one costs a bit more at $52K. Upgrades include a more potent 480-hp engine, beefed six-speed manual transmission, heavy-duty cooling, stiffer front end parts, sway bars, HD rear sub frame and stronger rear end.

With options like a 10-speed automatic transmission, minor items and a gas guzzler tax of a hefty thousand bucks, the total tab was just about $60K!

Other goodies from the GT model are standard here. An adjustable suspension offering Sport, Track, Snow, Normal and Drag modes at the push of a button are handy. Another control adjusts the noise coming out of the exhaust pipes from super quiet to roaring loud.

For daily commuting, this Mustang is very pleasant, aside from the annoying glare that blocks the gauge cluster view on a sunny day. Fuel economy was 23 mpg on highway trips. But when racing, that tiny 16-gallon tank will run dry quick. A 0-60 mph time can be reached in about 4.5 seconds on good pavement.

Now for another V8 performance car: Lexus brings us the RC F Fuji edition. Only 60 have been imported, and the price is a whopping $103K, a big jump from their standard RC F at $68K base or $88K loaded. Upgrades include six-piston ceramic brakes, ultralight wheels, special leather trim and titanium exhaust system. There is carbon fiber on the hood, roof and rear wing. Total weight savings is not much, at only 121 pounds.

Under the hood is a stock 5.0 V8 with no modifications. Putting out 472 hp with an eight-speed automatic, it can propel a 0-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds. A knob provides settings for Eco, Custom, Normal, Sport and Sport drive modes. Like the Mustang, the Fuji is a pleasant commuter except for the tiny rear seats, which are useless for human beings.

The Lexus RC F is certainly built better than the Mustang and has a far more pleasant cabin, but that is what we are paying for. Then again, the overall performance of these two is about the same, and the Mach 1 costs far less. Take your pick.

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Chad Haire, of Phoenix, test-drives vehicles for this feature.

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