DRIVE TEST: Ford Mustang Mach-E GT performance is the real deal

Shock and horror! A Mustang that’s both an SUV and an EV – and a review on RACER.com? Oh the horror!

Between the Porsche Cayenne, Lamborghini Urus, Maserati Levanti, BMW X6 and many more, sporty SUVs are all the rage right now, and you’ve been living in denial if you thought the day wouldn’t come when we would see a four-door Mustang SUV. As for whether a Mustang SUV is going against the mark, I have to say I’m speeding down the highway with my three kids strapped to the backseat yelling “go faster!” I certainly felt like we were introducing them to the wonderful world of automotive enthusiasm rather than ruining a brand’s heritage – especially when I think back to when I had to leave them at home because not all of them would fit in the 2019 Mustang Bullitt I was testing.

With the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition key fob in hand, I did what everyone would want to do: I headed to an SCCA autocross to catch some fun races after the event, without competition (high performance driving on the streets is an absolute no-no, kids), concluding the day with a road trip up the coast. And that’s something I was looking forward to. After all, hitting the open road in a vehicle capable of hitting 60 mph in 3.5 seconds thanks to its 480 hp and 634 lb-ft of torque is the American dream – even if it’s (more or less) completely silent. thanks to its two electric motors.

Electric vehicles are scary for two reasons: range and weight (for sports car enthusiasts). The Mach-E GT Performance Edition I tested has a range of 260 miles according to the EPA, although even at 100% state of charge the display never read more than 234. I cannot not blame the vehicle for it, however, as the displayed range is likely calculated from past driving habits, and this particular Mach-E was for media ratings and had just undergone a series of abusive performance tests by another point of sale before I receive the vehicle. As for weight, well, an all-wheel-drive Mach-E tips the scales at nearly 5,000 pounds, which is about on par with any performance SUV, so the fact that the one This was also carrying 91kWh of usable battery capacity is impressive.

Concerns about range lead to concerns about charging. Ford, however, has taken care of this very well, packing a Ford mobile charger with every Mach-E, the charger being capable of charging both 120V and 240V. The only potential issue to watch out for is that the Ford Mobile Charger is a non-adjustable 30 amp unit and the charging amperage also cannot be adjusted from the side of the vehicle. That means for those charging at home with the Ford Mobile Charger, they need to have at least a dedicated 50 amp circuit with a NEMA 14-50 outlet, otherwise it’s 120V, 12 amps for you.

Ford is also selling its Ford Connected Variable Amperage Charging Station for $799, which provides 240V home charging from 16 to 48 amps.

On the go, the Mach-E can use Ford’s BlueOval charging network of 19,500 stations, accessible through the FordPass app or via the car’s navigation controls, and I found Plug & Charge to work just fine on Electrify America DC fast chargers. In there, during my road trip, I plugged into a 150kW Electrify America charger (even on a 350kW charger the Mach-E won’t exceed 150kW) and charged 25% (52 miles remaining) 80% (175 miles remaining) in 35 minutes — just enough time to grab a bite to eat.

My day involved a lot of seat time, both on the highway and in a performance setting. Either way, the seats were firm and comfortable, with almost no jostling under pressure.

On the outside of the steering wheel and a few physical buttons for things like Active Park Assist, Hazards, the parking brake and access to “frunk” (picture above), all controls and information are provided via two screens, one in front of the driver and the other via a centrally mounted, portrait-oriented 15.5-inch touchscreen equipped with Ford Sync 4A. Everything worked as expected, with the touchscreen being responsive and easy to read.

On the road, I activated Ford’s hands-free BlueCruise and relaxed under the panoramic glass roof. BlueCruise performed well, though it’s more of an assist than fully autonomous driving – something Ford isn’t shy about telling drivers. And very important, the canopy is completely private from the outside.

The Mach-E Performance Edition is equipped with Magneride suspension. Without a back-to-back comparison, it’s impossible to say whether this premium configuration is worth it, but it’s been reported elsewhere that the Magneride option is a must-have. For my training, I have no complaints about how the Mach-E handled different surfaces.

In a performance setting on our tapered closed course, the all-wheel-drive SUV launched hard – albeit with a lot more front-wheel spin than I’d prefer – and carved the corners well. Spinning the throttle out of a corner seemed like a thing, but even with the Mach-E set to Unbridled Extend (“track mode”, if you will), the vehicle apparently cut off some power, likely to prevent the driver to buckle it.

Even with tons of power underfoot, I found that the Mach-E sings best with smooth, delicate movements of the throttle and brake, not relying on the throttle to turn the vehicle around, like you would do in a traditional Mustang.

I often laugh at the fuel economy in performance conditions. Remember the 2019 Mustang Bullitt I tested? I managed 26 mpg on the highway and 2.7 mpg when testing it on a similar autocross-style course. The Mach-E, meanwhile, averaged 2.4 mph/kWh (41.6 kWh/100 miles) during my road trip, with the autocross portion producing an entertaining 0.5 mph/kWh on the center screen.

The sticker price for the 2021 Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition I tested was $69,800, including $5,000 for the GT Performance Edition package, $600 for the Cyber ​​Orange Metallic paint, 1 $300 for fixed panoramic glass roof and $1,900 for Ford Co-Pilot Active 2.0, plus $1,100 destination charge.

For those looking for a basic Mach-E, the cheapest Mustang EV starts at $43,895, which gets you a 70 kWh rear-drive Mach-E with 266 hp, 317 lb-ft of torque and a rating. 247 mile EPA. Personally, I’d probably go for the rear-drive Premium version, which has the 91 kWh battery, 290 hp, 317 lb-ft of torque, an EPA range of 303 miles, and rings in at $55,340 (though the eAWD version range is very tempting at only $2,700 more).

The question many asked when Ford unveiled the Mustang Mach-E is whether an EV SUV could ever be a “real” Mustang. I can’t answer that, but I can give you this data point: The electric Mach-E I tested can keep pace with a Mustang Shelby GT500 at 60 mph.

But to me, a big part of what makes a Mustang a Mustang isn’t the acceleration—it’s what it does to people’s emotions when they see it and experience it. Generations have grown up drawn to the marquee that makes them want to ride and ride. During my week with the Mach-E, half a dozen people randomly asked me questions about the vehicle, and all of them were genuinely excited to see it.

More importantly, though, when my kids were squealing with delight from the backseat, I knew that, at least in my mind, their desire to hit the road was what Mustangs were all about.

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