Road Test: 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT
The “GT” badge on the back of a Ford Mustang will tell you that under its hood is a big American V8. A glorious piece of iron and aluminum that will rumble through your heart from the moment you zoom in. If you have had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a vehicle, you will know that it is an unforgettable experience.
When I had the opportunity to test drive the new Mustang Mach-E GT, an all-electric crossover, with the infamous “GT” badging emblazoned on the rear hatch, I was curious to see how much of this “GT- ness” they could capture without a real engine.
I should start with a bit of a warning. I really like the Mustang Mach-E. The name may not have been well received and there’s little in common with the petrol Pony car apart from some styling cues, but by all other evidence this is a fantastic crossover . One of the best you can buy right now. Add to that the fact that it’s powered solely by batteries and reasonably priced for what it is, the Mach-E’s long waiting lists make perfect sense.
There are several ways to control your electric Mustang. You can choose between a standard or extended range battery and have it drive only the rear wheels or all of them. The “Select” version starts at $51,495 and gets a 70kWh battery (usable) with a single 266hp electric motor powering the rear wheels. The total range is estimated at 397 km.
You’ll need to upgrade to “Premium” to get all-wheel drive and unlock the 90kWh (usable) extended-range battery. As is often the case with electric cars, you get more power with the extended range battery, and another boost when adding all-wheel drive thanks to the additional motor on the front axle. An extended range AWD Premium Mach-E produces 346 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque and can travel approximately 446 km on a fully charged battery. I drove one last fall and ended up choosing it as best overall vehicle I had driven in 2021.
The Mach-E GT Performance Edition simplifies the order form. It comes only with the extended 90kWh battery and produces 480hp and a massive 634lb-ft of torque from two motors driving all four wheels. That’s more torque than any Mustang has ever had, including the GT500 fire-breathing. Total range takes a hit, but 418km from a fully charged battery in peak conditions, of course, is still respectable.
My tester dipped in the GT-Performance-exclusive Cyber Orange Metallic was a glow of orange sunshine on a freezing, gray winter day. If the paint job and that GT badge don’t tell you it’s the fastest Mach-E, the 20-inch wheels framing red Brembo brake calipers and a charred gray grille with a glowing pony badge should. make.
To back up all the muscle, the Mach-E GT gets a racy upgraded suspension setup with Magneride shocks and sticky Pirelli summer tires. This being in Canada and back in February, my bright orange Mach-E was fitted with a set of winter tires, meaning any ultimate handling test would have to wait for another time. Don’t get me wrong, compared to the standard Mach-E, the GT is a much stiffer and more focused vehicle.
Performance seats with thick bolstering instantly add a sportier vibe but were a little too tight around my torso. There’s an abundance of suede trim on the seats, dash and doors, including the rear, but on the outside it looks a lot like any other Mach-E. And that’s not a bad thing at all, because as far as Ford interiors go, it’s easily one of their best efforts. I particularly like the speaker-like panel that runs the full length of the dash. It’s a modern mix of quality plastics and fabrics that is just perfect.
The 15.5-inch center display features gorgeous graphics and minimalist style. It’s one of the easiest touchscreens to use on the go, thanks to its size, and with the airy, open cabin, it makes the Mach-E look like it could have easily landed from 10 years old in the future.
Those tight seats are a godsend as soon as you pin the throttle to the floor. The Mach-E GT gets up and goes with enough force to take your breath away. Three main ride modes: Whisper, Engage and Unbridled are complemented by an additional track-specific ride mode called Unbridled Extend. Even the synthesized sound powered by the speakers isn’t too bad and further reinforces the spaceship theme.
With quick steering and a pronounced rearward bias to power distribution in the sportiest unbridled mode, the Mach-E was more fun than I expected in a snowy parking lot, holding long slides with ease and encouraging hooligan-like behavior in a definitive nod to Mustang theatrics.
With no way to charge the Mach-E overnight, my impromptu drifting session came at the cost of a good chunk of battery life. Whoops. With slippery roads due to heavy snowfall and temperatures hovering around -10 degrees Celsius all week, conditions were less than ideal and had nothing to do with my experience with the Mach-E l last fall.
Loaded at 85%, the Mach-E only had a range of 280 km without heating. When it’s 10 below zero, you want heat. The problem is that the Mach-E has no heat pump and relies on a resistive electric heater. Even when driving carefully, more than 50% of the battery’s energy was used just to heat the cabin. I consumed an average of 42 kWh per 100 km, even on longer trips. Yeah.
I expected range to be an issue, which wouldn’t matter if I had somewhere to plug in for the night. I stick to a few 50kW level 3 fast chargers not far from where I live. I’ve used them successfully before and even though the Mach-E can charge faster with more powerful chargers, I stick with the ones I know because I’d rather not risk driving further just to get to a station faulty load. It’s happened to me more than once and I’m not hungry for punishment.
Even in Toronto, the province’s largest city, one quickly realizes that Ontario’s public charging infrastructure is abysmal unless you own a Tesla. And if you don’t have a garage to plug in at night or even a parking spot at work with an available outlet, recommending an EV in this province is only worth it for short trips or as a second vehicle.
While I can’t recommend an EV to everyone just yet, I still really like them and the Mach-E is one of the best you can buy. However, I’m not sure the GT offers more substance than the AWD Select version I drove before it. The extra power is nice, but the regular Mach-E is powerful enough and no less fun to ride. It’s not like having that V8 rumbling out front. And while neither Mach-E can offer the smile of a classic Mustang coupe, it’s a pretty good way to propel the name into a new era.
2021 Ford Mustang Mach E GT Performance Edition
Body Style: 5-door, 5-passenger electric crossover
Configuration: Battery-electric vehicle (BEV) with two motors and all-wheel drive
Motor: Two electric motors, combined power 480 hp; Torque: 638 lb-ft
EV range: 418 km estimated from a 90 kWh battery (usable)
Loading capacity: 841-1685 + 133 liters in the front trunk
Price: $83,495 (basic); $88,235 (as tested)
Website: Ford of Canada