We understand you assume you believe a Ford Mustang should be a two-door, rear-drive, V-8-powered car. But should we confront the facts? The Ford Mustang Mach-E electric SUV arrives, and it is clearly a Mustang; it even states so on the sticker. But that is not to suggest there has not been an opportunity for improvement; for example, Ford introduced the Mustang Mach-E last year without a higher-powered GT model from the start. That is like releasing a new-generation Mustang without a V-8, to begin with. It took a while, but the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition is finally here, so we put our test gear on it to see if the wait was worthwhile.
The Ford Mustang Mach-E GT follows the same tried-and-true formula: produce a sportier-looking, better-handling, and more powerful electric SUV. The standard Mustang Mach-E GT features two larger permanent-magnet electric motors—one at each axle—for a total of 480 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque, backed up by the Mach-larger E's 93-kWh battery pack, larger brake rotors, a retuned suspension, and 20-inch wheels wrapped in performance-oriented all-season tires. The Mach-E GT Performance Edition goes a step further. Although horsepower remains the same, torque increases to 634 lb-ft, and it now receives MagneRide dampers, sticky summer tires, and improved Brembo brakes at the front wheels. In addition, the range is reduced by only 10 miles compared to the standard Ford Mustang Mach-E GT, from 270 to 260 miles.
Straight-line speed has typically provided the biggest thrills in a Mustang GT, and the Mach-E GT Performance Edition is no different. Although it is not as explosive off the line as some other high-performance electric SUVs, the Ford launches quickly. Without a traditional gearbox to contend with, its twin motors are virtually always in the meat of their powerband. Interestingly, once you approach triple-digit speeds, the Mach-power E's begins to taper off, which indeed affects its performance figures swiftly.
The Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition's best 0-60-mph run took 3.6 seconds, just a tenth of a second slower than the last 2021 Tesla Model Y Performance we tested, but seven-tenths faster than the V-8-powered 2021 Mustang Mach 1. Surprisingly, our finest launches were performed in the Mach-basic E's "Engage" driving mode rather than the sport mode (cheekily titled "Unbridled"). We discovered Engage to be faster for both our 0-60 and quarter-mile runs, with the Mach-E GT completing the latter in 12.6 seconds at 100.6 mph. That pace matches the current Mustang Mach 1's quarter-mile time (albeit at 12.5 mph slower), but it falls well behind a Model Y Performance, which does the quarter in 12.0 seconds at 114.7 mph.
"A very powerful acceleration," road test analyst Alan Lau remarked. "But as it went beyond 80 mph, there was a very apparent power loss, which was shown on the power bar on the instrument cluster."
The brakes and handling of the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition were very impressive. Its roughly 5,000-pound weight is nicely hidden by quick and precise handling, and its hard but not harsh ride reduces body roll. Things get more interesting in Unbridled mode, with traction and stability control turned off; this EV SUV allows for a startling (and enjoyable) level of oversteer. Its stopping strength is also exceptional. The brakes on the Mach-E GT are "the greatest of any EV I have tested," noted road test editor Chris Walton. "They are really effective and well-tuned for trail-braking: easy to foresee, control, and release."
Walton's perceptions stand up when the Mustang EVs 60-0-mph and figure-eight test data are broken down. The Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition comes to a halt in 105 feet, 9 feet longer than Mach 1 but 8 feet shorter than a more equivalent Model Y Performance. It did a 24.9-second lap at 0.78 g average in Unbridled Extend mode, a sports performance mode designed to keep the battery and motors at their ideal temperature for autocross and track days. Although the method functioned as described, we found that the Mach-E required to be parked for at least 15 minutes before it would engage. As a result, the Ford Mach-E GT laps the circuit in 23.7 seconds and 0.01 g less than a Model Y Performance, although it falls well behind a Mustang Mach 1, which ran the race in 23.7 seconds and 0.82 g.
Although the Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition does not disappoint on the road, its Level 3 DC battery charging pace perplexes us. It has a notional peak power rating of 150 kW (in comparison, Teslas have a peak power rating of 250 kW, while the 2022 Kia EV6—a direct competitor—will have a peak power rating of 350 kW). In addition, the Mustang Mach-charge curve was highly cautious in real-world testing.
Using a 350-kW Electrify America fast charger, we charged the Ford Mach-E from 15 to 80 percent capacity in 41 minutes, which is what Ford claims the Mach-E electric SUV is capable of. (Plugging it into a 350-kW charger is similar to filling up a Prius with premium, but we picked that charger since we knew it performed adequately.) So, what is the issue? Our problem is that once you pass that 80 percent rate—for example, if you want to add a little more range buffer on a road trip—the charge rate reduces from the low-90-kW range to just 13 kW, or around the rate at which a Level 2 overnight charger delivers energy to a car. So, long story short, it will result in Mach-E users spending more time than necessary at the charger.
We could not think of any EV on the market with such a sluggish post-80 percent charge rate, so we contacted Ford for comment. According to a Ford Power-Up over-the-air software update, the automaker designed the slow post-80 percent rate to maximize the Mustang's battery life, but it has committed to expanding the DC fast charge curve to a greater than 80 percent state of charge through a Ford Power-Up over-the-air software update." Still, Ford's general manager of battery-electric cars told InsideEVs that the carmaker is now considering boosting the fast-charge threshold from 80 to 90 percent. However, there is currently no information on when Mach-E owners may anticipate the over-the-air upgrade.
What is the price of the Mustang Mach-E?
Prices for the Mustang Mach-E GT start at $61,000, which is competitive for the market. This price undercuts the Tesla Model Y Performance ($65,000 this week). However, the value proposition of the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition is a bit darker. The option adds $5,000 to the price, and if you add the panoramic glass roof, Ford's BlueCruise sophisticated driving aid system, and a premium color like the one on our test car, the sticker jumps to $69,000.
Is the Mach-E GT an actual Mustang?
The Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition may not look or sound like a regular Mustang. Still, the performance it provides unquestionably lives up to the promises suggested by the Mustang GT name. While it is not without flaws, the electric SUV is an intriguing reimagining of what the Mustang is and can be. @via Motortrend.