The “GT” badge on the back of a Ford Mustang will tell you that under its hood lies a big American V8. A glorious lump of iron and aluminum that will burble its way into your heart from the moment you zoom off. If you’ve had an opportunity to get behind the wheel of one, you’ll know that it’s an experience worth remembering.
When I got an opportunity to try the new Mustang Mach-E GT, an all-electric crossover, with the infamous “GT” emblem emblazoned on the rear tailgate I was curious to see how much of that “GT-ness” they could capture without an actual engine.
I should start with a bit of a disclaimer. I really like the Mustang Mach-E. The name might not have been well received and there’s little in common with the gas-powered Pony car outside of some styling cues but by all other accounts, it is a fantastic crossover. One of the best you can buy right now. Add to that 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 a few ways to order your electric Mustang. You can choose from a standard or extended range battery and have it drive just the rear wheels or all of them. The “Select” trim starts at $51,495 and gets a 70 kWh (usable) battery pack with a single 266-hp electric motor powering the rear wheels. Total range is an estimated 397 km.
You’ll have to step up to the “Premium” trim to get all-wheel drive and unlock the 90 kWh (usable) extended range battery. As is common with electric cars, you get more power with the extended range battery, and another boost when adding AWD thanks to the additional motor on the front axle. An extended range AWD Premium Mach-E makes 346 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque and can travel an estimated 446 km on a fully charged battery. I drove one of those last fall and ended up choosing it as the best overall vehicle
I had driven in 2021.
The Mach-E GT performance edition simplifies the order form. It comes only with the extended 90 kWh battery and produces 480hp and a very significant 634 lb-ft of torque from dual motors driving all four wheels. That’s more torque than any Mustang has ever had, including the fire-breathing GT500
. Total range takes a hit, but 418 km from a fully charged battery in optimal conditions, of course, is still respectable.
My tester dipped in the GT-Performance exclusive Cyber Orange metallic was a glint of orangey sunshine on a grey and frigid winter day. If the paint job and that GT badge don’t clue you in to this being the quickest of Mach-Es, the 20-inch wheels framing red Brembo brake calipers, and a carbonized grey grille with light-up pony badge should.
To back up all the muscle, the Mach-E GT gets a racier suspension setup enhanced with Magneride dampers and sticky Pirelli summer tires. This being Canada and February, my bright orange Mach-E was fitted with a set of winter tires meaning any ultimate handling tests would have to wait for another time. Make no mistake, 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 ambiance but were a bit too tight around my torso. There’s an abundance of suede-like trim on the seats, dash, and doors, including in the back but outside of that it feels much like any other Mach-E. And that’s not a bad thing at all, because as far as Ford interiors go, this is easily one of their best efforts. I especially like the speaker-like panel that spans the length of the dashboard. It’s a modern mix of quality plastics and fabrics that just feels perfect.
The 15.5-inch centre screen features gorgeous graphics and a minimalist style. It’s one of the easiest touch screens to use on the go, thanks to its size, and along with the airy and open cabin it makes the Mach-E feel like it could have easily landed from 10 years in the future.
Those tight seats are a godsend the moment you pin the accelerator to the floor. The Mach-E GT gets up and goes with enough force that it can leave you breathless. Three main drive modes: Whisper, Engage, and Unbridled are complemented by an additional track-specific drive mode called Unbridled Extend. Even the synthesized sound fed through the speakers isn’t all that bad and further enforces the spaceship theme.
With quick steering and a pronounced rear-bias to the power distribution in the sportiest Unbridled mode the, Mach-E was more fun than I was expecting in a snow covered parking lot, holding long slides with ease and encouraging hooligan-like behavior in a definite nod to tail-happy Mustang theatrics.
With no way to charge the Mach-E overnight, my impromptu drift session came at the cost of a good chunk of range. Oops. With the roads slick from numerous snowfalls and temps hovering around -10 Celsius for the entire week, the conditions were far from ideal and nothing like my experience with the Mach-E last fall.
Charged to 85 per cent, the Mach-E indicated only 280 km of range without the heat on. When it’s ten below zero, you want heat. The problem is the Mach-E doesn’t have a heat pump and relies on an electric resistive heater. Even driving conservatively resulted in over 50 per cent of the battery energy used just to heat the cabin. I was averaging 42kWh per 100 km, even on longer drives. Yikes.
I expected the range to be an issue, which wouldn’t be a big deal if I had somewhere to plug in for the night. I stick to a few 50 kW 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 to the ones I know because I’d rather not risk driving further away only to arrive at a broken charging station. It’s happened to me more than once and I’m no glutton for punishment.
Even in Toronto, the biggest city in the province, you realize quickly 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 plug, recommending an EV in this province is only worth it for short drives or as a second vehicle.
Even if I can’t recommend an EV for 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 any more substance than the AWD Select trim I drove before it, especially for an eye-watering price nearing $90,000. The extra power is nice but the regular Mach-E is powerful enough and no less fun to drive. It’s not like having that V8 rumbling out front. And while neither Mach-E can deliver the smiles of a classic Mustang coupe, it’s a genuinely good way to spring the name forward into a new era.