In the archives of automotive history, few names stir the soul like ‘Mustang.’ A symbol of freedom, power, and American engineering, this iconic stallion has long graced our roads, capturing hearts worldwide. Today, that roar takes on a new sound and sensation, one that is less auditory and somewhat unrecognisable: the Ford Mustang Mach-E.
Ford claims it’s not just an electric SUV with a Mustang badge, but rather a genuine performance car with authentic ties to the marque. The move is bold, almost controversial—taking a moniker synonymous with muscle and raw power into the revolutionary realm of electrification.
The Mach-E isn’t stepping into this new world timidly. It comes with the promise of Mustang performance, backed by Ford‘s commitment to innovation, sustainability, and a nod to the future without forgetting the past. With the introduction of the Select, Premium, and the ‘halo’ GT models, the Mach-E offers a range of options, features, and performance that cater to a broad spectrum of potential customers.
Understanding that the devil is in the details, especially when it comes to performance vehicles, Ford thought it would be a good idea to test the new cars somewhere special. To authentically gauge their mettle, I took these electric steeds far from the sedate confines of city streets or showroom floors.
Instead, Ford took me South of Brisbane to the proving grounds of the Norwood Motorsport Complex. It’s here, amidst the demanding twists and cone-littered skid pans of this renowned circuit, that the Mach-E variants were pushed to their limits, and their true characters emerged.
From the moment it catches your eye, the Mustang Mach-E exudes a familiar yet foreign aesthetic. Yes, it bears the Mustang hallmark with pride, but its SUV proportions are a long stride from the lineage of coupes to which it draws.
The most notable design homage is the Mustang-inspired tri-bar sequential LED taillights, a signature since 1964, now repurposed with a futuristic flair. It’s not without its quirks (oddly shaped side mirrors and fins replacing conventional door handles). Still, considering its size, the Mach-E possesses a very handsome silhouette, which is a significant drawcard for potential suitors regardless of the badge it wears.
Inside the cabin, the new Mustang proves that performance-slanted design can coexist with family-friendly utility. The interior is spacious, with generous leg and headroom in the back and 60/40 split-fold rear seats extending the considerable boot space. The panoramic glass roof (standard across all models) raises the interior ambience, making the entire cabin airy and expansive.
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In terms of tech, the Mach-E is a massive shift for Ford, centralising connectivity and control through a gigantic 15.5-inch colour multi-function touchscreen display. The interface uses a smartphone-like pinch, zoom, and swipe functionality, which is quite intuitive for the most part, only let down by a cheapish-feeling rotary dial at the base.
The audible experience across all three models is exceptional. Designed in collaboration with audio maestros Bang & Olufsen, the cabin houses a custom-built sound bar that blends flawlessly into the dashboard. The 10-speaker system, complete with a subwoofer, delivers an immersive experience you’d expect to encounter in cars with double the price tag.
Now, for the performance. As the three variants are different combinations of batteries, drive types and power, a little cheat sheet would wet the whistle:
- Performance: The Select model is anything but basic, boasting 198 kW power and 430 Nm torque, offering enough poke to scare the kids on a school run.
- Efficiency: With a 71 kWh battery delivering a 470 km range, the Select offers ample range for most drivers.
- Drive Configuration: The rear-wheel-drive setup ensures the classic Mustang drive feel, making it a balanced entry point into the Mach-E.
- Performance: Upping the ante, the Premium variant pushes out 216 kW and maintains 430 Nm torque, adding more responsiveness to your ride.
- Efficiency: The larger 91 kWh battery meets the demand for increased range, offering an impressive 600 km, which will suit customers who frequent longer trips.
- Drive Configuration: Another rear-wheel-drive setup.
- Performance: The GT is the lineup’s crown jewel, with a staggering 358 kW power and 860 Nm torque, propelling drivers from 0-100 km/h in a mere 3.7 seconds.
- Dynamic Driving: The GT variant introduces a performance-oriented all-wheel drive, magnified by adaptive suspension, catering to those who crave a spirited drive.
- Efficiency: The performance enhancements come with a trade-off: 490 km range, powered by the same 91 kWh battery as the Premium.
- 20-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels with Pirelli P-Zero tyres
- Brembo performance front disc brakes
Drive Impressions at Norwell Motorplex:
While EV specs are undoubtedly important, when your car wears a Mustang badge, how it performs when galloping is just as consequential, so with some sticky tarmac at my disposal, I put the Mach-E’s abilities to the test.
From the moment it accelerates, even in the base model ‘Select’, the Mach-E makes its lineage known. The electric powertrain delivers instant torque, and the Mach-E lunges forward with the kind of enthusiasm you’d expect from a Mustang. Granted, there’s a lack of sensory drama, but in terms of sheer acceleration, the Mach-E certainly honours the marque.
Both the Select and Premium still feel rear-wheel drive to a degree, but with so much weight distributed throughout the chassis, the driving dynamics are far more planted than the V8 you might be familiar with.
Speaking of weight, considering the variants tip the scales over two tonnes, the Mach-E hides its heftiness quite well in high-speed corners. It’s only when you’re forced into heavy braking or more agile manoeuvres that it starts to feel a little cumbersome.
But in terms of sheer performance, the most ‘Mustang’ of the Mustangs is undoubtedly the GT. Its acceleration claims of 0-100 km/h in just 3.7 seconds are verified at the first dab of the throttle. Like a sewing machine in a high school textiles class, the Mustang sings with your foot to the floor. The adaptive suspension is an improvement on its younger siblings, minimising body roll and focusing the chassis. And while the all-wheel drive system feels less traditional, the amount of grip at your disposal is addictive to push.
The advent of the Ford Mustang Mach-E marks both a continuation and a departure. While its name and specific stylistic callbacks nod to a rich heritage of muscle and performance, the connection to its thoroughbred Mustang origins is, in many respects, a creative reinterpretation rather than a direct descendant. This all-electric incarnation introduces a new paradigm, one that may challenge purists but stands on its own merits.
The Mach-E doesn’t roar; it hums. It doesn’t rely on raw vibration alone; it integrates technology, efficiency, and practicality into a modern driving experience. As a daily driver, it’s a fantastic package, offering comfort, style, and sensible utility. It’s an undeniably different ‘stallion’ in the stable, aiming not for the racetrack’s visceral excitement but rather the multifaceted demands of contemporary life.
Within the lineup, the Select, Premium, and GT models present divergent experiences. The Select stands out as the best value proposition, striking a balance between performance and luxury at a relatively accessible price point. It forgoes some of the higher-end embellishments of its siblings but, in doing so, hones in on what many drivers need: utility, comfort, and the silent thrill of electric acceleration.
The Premium and GT, meanwhile, cater to those who seek extra flair and performance, respectively. They build upon the base, layering in aesthetic enhancements, superior interior detailing, and, in the case of the GT, a sportier drive that nudges closer to the Mustang’s spirited roots.
In the end, the Mustang Mach-E does end up feeling like an electric SUV trying hard to look like a Mustang, but that doesn’t take anything away from the overall package. It’s good-looking, spacious, loaded with tech, and in the case of the ‘Select’ variant, I think it offers up one of the best bang for your buck EVs of the year.
Disclaimer: The author of this article, Justin Jackie, was invited to review the Mustang Mach-E as a guest of Ford.
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