An icon of the ’60s, the Mustang stands for freedom and adventure – and perhaps the occasional breakdown on Route 66. The Mustang Mach-E GT is Ford’s attempt to bring the essence of the muscle car era into the electric age. Will it triumph, or will we be left with a tamed pony rather than a spirited stallion?
Freedom and adventure – at least in Europe, these are not the first things that come to mind when you think of Ford. And that’s exactly what they want to change. Ford’s objective is to establish the same image here as in the US market, where classics like the Mustang, the Bronco off-road icon, and the best-selling F-150 pickup are driven by cool cats and true adventurers. This demographic continues to demand spacious internal combustion vehicles capable of hauling heavy loads over long distances. At the same time, Ford must embrace the transition to electric mobility. We’ve tested their first attempt to reconcile these two different demands: the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT – the name itself reveals the concept’s balancing act.
It’s no coincidence that Ford, which at least in Europe have a rather conservative image, have chosen a true classic as the inspiration for their latest foray into the EV segment. The name Mustang still continues to conjure images of a cool and powerful muscle car that promises the freedom of Route 66, immediately casting you as an adventurer and associating you with “Bullitt” star Steve McQueen. However, many fans of the original model may not warm to the new Mustang’s electric incarnation, even though the Mach-E is in many ways in tune with the zeitgeist: A crossover SUV with plenty of space and power, all elegantly wrapped up in a streamlined package – a blueprint that has already proved successful for other manufacturers. The starting price of € 77,300 is no longer a deterrent in this category. However, given the ubiquity of the pony emblem on this car, the question arises: Does the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT still embody the essence of a true wild horse?
The Ford Mustang Mach-E GT in detail – A modern take on a muscle car?
Let’s get this straight: The Ford Mustang Mach-E GT has about as much in common with the original Mustang as your smartphone has with your (great) grandparents’ rotary phone. The Mach-E is still a sporty car though and brings the cult and history of the legendary sports coupe into the modern age – at least from Ford’s perspective. Among pony aficionados, however, opinions are much more divided, a fact that Ford openly acknowledges. The discreet placement of the Ford logo at the top of the windscreen and the inclusion of certain nods to its ancestor, such as the strikingly bold rear lights, don’t quite resolve this dilemma. Undoubtedly, the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT makes an impact with its athletic looks and unique design, but it hasn’t risen to the level of legend (at least not yet), nor does it fully evoke the memory of the one and only Mustang. But is this necessarily a drawback? Not in the least.
Our test car, the top-of-the-range GT model, makes no bones about what its main attribute is: sportiness. The vibrant Cyber Orange paint (available for an extra € 1,200) immediately catches the eye, as do the big 20″ wheels with powerful Brembo brakes. A look through the windows reveals one of the Mach-E GT’s most striking features: the unconventional design of the sports seats, complete with integrated shoulder support. Beyond the outward appearance, the inner features are also tailored for a sporty experience.The combined output of the two electric motors is an impressive 358 kW, equivalent to 487 horsepower. Fans of the legendary Shelby Mustang GT500 will recall that even the 7 litre big block V8 engine was officially rated at just 335 horsepower. However, during testing it was revealed that the iconic car could produce up to 500 hp. Clearly, when it comes to power, the Mach-E has earned its place as a true muscle car. It’s just that it has a 91 kWh traction battery and four-wheel drive instead of an unrestrained rear end. Later on, we’ll elaborate on the point that the new electric version is anything but a tamed pony. Promise. Visually, the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT is undoubtedly a striking car, even if it does not quite match the charm of its famous ancestor.
In return, it offers functional features that were completely alien to the original: a spacious trunk with folding seats for transporting your precious eMTB, a 30 litre front compartment (frunk) for storing the charger cable or your muddy boots after an epic hike, and, as an optional extra, a tow bar that can pull up to a tonne. The Mach-E may not measure up to the original Mustang, but it does offer a touch of extra freedom. The purpose of the emergency release inside the miniature trunk, however, remains a mystery to us…
From the inside out – Quality and design of the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT
American car manufacturers aren’t exactly known for sharing legendary Austrian automotive engineer Ferdinand Piëch’s fixation with ensuring that body gaps are as small as possible, and the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT doesn’t achieve perfection in this area either. Nevertheless, we can vouch for the exceptional craftsmanship of this electric pony. Especially in its interior, where Ford have succeeded in underpinning the intended sportiness with high-quality materials that offer a pleasant haptic experience. The elegantly contoured sports seats, upholstered in breathable Sensico synthetic leather, provide a comfortable seating experience, while the door panels and line-of-sight surfaces are also pleasing to the touch. The only noticeable drop in material quality can be found in the lower part of the doors. The small glove compartment doesn’t fit more than a pair of rodeo gloves and the car’s registration papers. In return, there is ample stowage space and an airy feeling of spaciousness in each seat, which is further enhanced by the large panoramic sunroof. The battery in the undercarriage prevents comfortable leg positioning on longer journeys due to the raised floor.
We appreciated the mix of tactile switches and buttons alongside the now obligatory touch screens. Frequent gestures, such as adjusting the mirrors or changing the volume, are much quicker using dedicated physical controls than navigating menus on a screen. Speaking of volume: the volume knob at the base of the central screen is remarkably big and dominant, which makes us wonder if it could be used for more. Its role, however, is limited to regulating the audio levels of the B&O sound system, which, it must be said, is quite remarkable: it delivers a powerful 560 W from a configuration of 10 speakers and a subwoofer.
The substantial centre console, with an inductive charging pad and space for two smartphones, is reminiscent of a transmission tunnel, and adds an extra dose of sporty flair. Opening the door via a button and PIN security mechanism might feel like a glimpse into the future, especially that the interior still uses a traditional mechanical lever. Though unique, this setup doesn’t offer any particular advantages over other keyless go systems and is more likely to draw quizzical looks. Still, the handles, shaped like little spoilers, have a cool look.
Ford Mustang Mach-E GT assist systems – Intuitive, comprehensive, functional
At the core of the Mustang Mach-E’s infotainment system is the central 15.5″ touchscreen, which serves as the focal point for comprehensive control of the vehicle’s settings. Situated behind the steering wheel is a thin rectangular instrument cluster that provides information on speed, navigation, battery level and music. There is no head-up display though. The system is by no means lacking organisation: the menus are well laid out and all the important functions are within easy reach of the driver. The overview menu is easily accessible via the 6-dot home button in the top centre, or alternatively via a photo of yourself if you create a personalised driver profile. Key vehicle settings are easily accessed via the small Mustang icon in the top left-hand corner. You can adjust the climate control settings with a simple tap, provided you hit the small touch area accurately. Overall, the menu design is well thought-out, helpfully illustrated and leaves little to be desired. Voice control works flawlessly, but if you still miss something, you can always switch to Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.
The assist functions work as they should. Route calculations are quick, and the navigation system gives a reasonable estimate of journey time, taking into account necessary charging stops. A clever feature is that the navigation system doesn’t prioritise a particular network of chargers, but rather chooses the best location along your route. An approach to be applauded! The cruise control is also extremely smooth. If you’d like, it can also factor in the speed limit, using its excellent sign recognition function, while taking your personal speed or speed camera tolerance into account in the speed you’re travelling at. However, the parking assist, even though it does a good job identifying parking spaces, could use a tweak because it might be a tad brisk for some. Not to say unbridled. 😉
If you choose to let the car do the driving, the steering assist is at your service. Always with your vigilant attention and hands ready, of course. The self-driving feature can only be activated at speeds of 80 km/h and above, but it wouldn’t be particularly useful in city traffic anyway. Once activated, however, it works perfectly, even navigating through sections of roadworks with their infamous yellow markings. All in all, the assist functions in the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT work like a butler who is always there but never seen.
Ford Mustang Mach-E GT – Range, charging and consumption
The net capacity of the Li-ion battery is 91 kWh (a 70 kWh battery is also available for the lower-priced variants) and represents the highest configuration level in the Mach-E universe. However, the WLTP specification of 490 km already suggests that the electric Mustang will not be a role model in terms of efficiency and consumption, despite the good cW value of 0.25. We have to give Ford credit for being honest about this on the spec sheet. In practice, however, we did not quite reach the manufacturer’s specification. With a relaxed driving style, including city traffic, country roads and motorways, we averaged around 22 kW per 100 km, which corresponds to a realistic range of a good 410 km in summer. If you unleash the Mustang’s full potential, which stops abruptly at 200 km/h, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to cover 300 km on a full charge.
Although the maximum charge from the fast chargers is a modest 150 kW, the Mach-E reaches this level relatively quickly and maintains it for quite a long time. It also barely dips below 100 kW, which results in an efficient charge curve, at least during the summer season. Unfortunately, we didn’t come across any option for preheating the battery, either automatically or manually. The 11 kW charging capacity for home and urban chargers is now the norm. What isn’t the norm, though, is the placement of the charging port. It’s positioned under the left A-pillar, so you may have to drape the cable over the bonnet when charging at the side of the road. We don’t know about you, but we like our paintwork nice and shiny… On the other hand, Ford have done a nice job of covering the CCS charging contacts with a magnetically closing flap.
A plea to Ford: if adventure and freedom are at the top of your agenda, we’d appreciate the ability to tap into the battery while on the road, e. g. to charge an ebike. Consider adding a dedicated 230 V socket to the Mach-E.
Driving impressions of the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT – From tame to unbridled
Press the starter button, shift to D on the gear selector and put the pedal to the metal: Taking the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT for a spin for the first time you’re likely to be astonished, if not shocked, by the raw power and the way the car transfers it onto the road. Even in 2023, the Mustang remains a wild horse at heart. Drivers can choose from three modes: Whisper, Engage and Unbridled in the US, or Whisper, Active and Untamed in the UK. But the Mustang Mach-E doesn’t act like a docile workhorse in any of these modes. And if you grow accustomed to the car’s inherent sportiness, there’s the Unbridled Extend mode (called Untamed Plus in the UK), which allows the Mustang to gallop unrestrained around the race track. ASR? Off. ESP? Disabled. Cruise control and one-pedal driving? Nope. In this mode the electric Ford is propelled forward with a sense of urgency – fast, relentless and spirited. To be honest, the Unbridled Extend mode isn’t really suitable for public roads. Unless you’re German racing driver Walter Röhrl collecting insects on the side windows, it’s best to leave it untouched. The ease with which this mode can be engaged must have come at the expense of the odd crash barrier and the Mach-E GT is already sporty and dynamic enough as it is.
The Mustang is a very torsionally stiff car that feels hard on the road. This is not only due to the firm, sport-tuned MagneRide adaptive suspension, which technically promises more than it delivers in terms of road-holding, but also to the remarkably unwavering chassis, which transmits impacts almost unfiltered. This is where the performance ambitions come to the front, though at the expense of long-distance comfort. It almost feels as if a standard roll cage has been fitted. Speed freaks among you will enjoy the electric Mustang, with the only downside being the sometimes harsh ESP with its quite hard braking interventions. If you like this sort of thing, artificial engine noise is generated by the sound generator, but if you don’t, you can simply turn it off in the vehicle menu. What we missed was some sort of wet/snow mode to better tame the performance in difficult weather conditions. The car could also use even more insistent warnings about what to expect in Unbridled Extend mode. In our opinion, this mode is too easily accessible from the menu.
Who’s a good match for the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT?
If you are looking for a modern interpretation of the Mustang style icon, the Mach-E might not fit the bill. The manufacturer is well aware of this distinction. Nevertheless, the electric Mustang is an intriguing option for spirited drivers who might otherwise consider a BMW X6 or even a Lamborghini Urus (which comes in a similar eye-catching colour but costs three times as much). Families are also well catered for in the Ford Mustang Mach-E, although the GT version may not be the best choice if comfort is your priority. In any case, we were impressed with the charging capacity and the sense of spaciousness. On the other hand, business travellers and those who frequently make long journeys may find the limited range a drawback. That leaves the adventurers and free spirits among you, but you probably won’t get more than a whiff of adventure with the Mach-E.
Our conclusion on the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT
The Mustang has always been a style icon, a symbol of freedom and adventure. The Ford Mustang Mach-E GT is also a car like no other – and yet too ordinary to be truly exceptional. It shines with sober values such as quality and features, rather than with emotion and uniqueness. But if you are looking for a sporty e-SUV with character, this latest Mustang offshoot certainly delivers – and it also comes with a dash of adventure.
- distinctive, sporty design
- high quality finish
- very good assist functions
- stable high charging capacity
- doesn’t have the true Mustang genes
- encourages sporty driving with the corresponding energy consumption
- too sporty suspension and stiff chassis
More information via www.ford.com.
Words: Patrick Gruber Photos: Mike Hunger