Mustangs are sporty cars, and while most of them have a zoomy style that writes a check that engines can’t be cashed, Ford has always backed the Mustang’s reputation for speed with performance models.
For an electric Mustang Mach-E, this is the GT. GT is the name of the legendary Mustang, predating the Shelbys, Mach 1, Boss 302, Bullitt, SVO, SVT, and various other hot-rod models, so it seems fitting that Ford’s EV crossover SUV with the Mustang badge would return to this. root for its first performance variant.
Like most EVs, the regular Mach-E is pretty fast. But the GT adds power to produce the kind of electric speed that has been the source of so many YouTube videos depicting Teslas grilling exotic Italian supercars in drag races.
Ford underlined the seriousness of its EV endeavors by announcing recently that it would split the company into two divisions. Ford’s new Model E division will focus exclusively on developing electric vehicle and connected vehicle technologies for the future, while the Ford Blue division concentrates on continuing to generate money to fund these efforts by selling the company’s popular combustion models such as the F-150, Mustang, and Bronco.
My $64,800 Mach-E GT evaluation car features 20-inch aluminum wheels, a fixed panoramic glass roof ($1,300), and an extension of the Ford BlueCruise driver’s assistance ($1,900) to Co-Pilot360 Ford. You can identify the Mach-E GT by the illuminated Mustang badge on the front.
The GT has a 91 kilowatt-hour battery pack that gives an estimated driving range of 270 miles on a single charge. This estimate holds up well, as I saw a range of 260 miles while driving at high speed on a highway in cold ambient temperatures that made the car computer estimate a distance of only 200 miles.
[Related: Ford’s electric Mustang Mach-E is an important leap into the future]
The base high-performance Mach-E GT sprints to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds, while the faster GT Performance Edition cuts that time to just 3.5.
The GT’s electric motor produces 480 horsepower in both versions, and the regular GT I test is rated at 600 lb.-ft. torque while the Performance Edition produces 634 lb.-ft. Good luck discerning that difference in the seat of your pants, as a regular GT can easily make an eye-opening launch.
The GT is faster than the lesser Mach-Es, whose 60 mph acceleration time ranges from 6.1 seconds to 4.8 seconds. Standards are changing, but I think anything faster than 8.0 seconds still qualifies as acceptable fast.
Non-GT Mach-Es can be equipped with the same extended 376-cell battery as this test car, or they can have a cheaper 70 kWh 288-cell battery pack. In an all-wheel-drive configuration, this can deliver an estimated driving distance of just 224 miles, while the larger GT package can go as far as 314 miles, according to the EPA.
Drivers who opt for a performance model like the GT usually appreciate the sharp, responsive handling and the GT delivers. They are also usually willing to endure the tougher rides caused by driving with stiffer springs, dampers, and anti-sway bars.
Those sacrifices are usually made by people who drive coupes and roadsters, not family-friendly five-seat crossover SUVs. In the case of the Mach-E GT, I found the rigid ride to be uncomfortable and out of place for a vehicle of this type. Naturally, this problem can be solved through the money app, as the Performance Edition uses electromagnetically adjustable Magneride shock absorbers that help provide a combination of sharp handling and a comfortable ride.
This stiffness issue is magnified by the GT’s fashionable 20-inch alloy wheels, whose weight also contributes to a shorter driving distance. The 18-inch alloy wheels on the California Route 1 model are one of the reasons for the version’s longer mileage, and a smoother ride will make longer mileage more comfortable.
It’s no surprise that the Mach-E, as an EV, has a dial that feels thin as a “shifter” for selecting driving modes. Rotate through positions, left to right, Park, Reverse, Neutral and Drive. However, does it need to feel so thin? This issue is underscored by the fact that it spins freely, without a solid stop at the Park and Drive end of the range. In comparison, the similar rotary shifter in the Jeep Grand Cherokee manages to feel heavier in the hand; it’s embellished with chrome trim to add visual mass, and positively stops when it reaches Park and Drive. That seems like a better execution of this solution.
Ford isn’t too keen on revisiting its shifter solution on the Mach-E, according to chief engineer Donna Dickson. However, as customer expectations for EVs evolve over time, the device may be rethought, he said. “Do we even need it?” Dickson wondered.
Since Popular science Last driving a Mach-E a year ago, Ford has launched the BlueCruise Level 2 driver assistance system. This allows drivers to operate the car with their hands off the wheel, but eyes on the road. Unlike Tesla cars, the source of a YouTube video depicting the “driver” driving the back seat while leaving the car’s controls unattended, the BlueCruise Mach-E system will detach if the driver does not look ahead.
BlueCruise operates the Mach-E’s accelerator, brakes and steering when the car is on a restricted access road that has been charted and approved by Ford. This means almost all interstate highways, plus many other divided highways that have limited access. My test car did the first iteration of this software. Newer cars have updated versions and cars like test vehicles will soon get the over-the-air update.
In a conversation with Dickson, I mentioned that during highway driving, I experienced the Mach-E occasionally bouncing from one edge of the lane to the other, sometimes until the system disengaged. Dickson nodded in acknowledgment of the matter. “We call it hunting,” he said. “We have it [solved]. It was one that we had arranged.” Mach-E vehicles going to customers now shouldn’t exhibit this behavior and when the test car gets its update it should perform better too.
While in heavy, congested highway traffic, this system works well, removing some of the burden of such driving from the driver. Ford also plans to expand the 130,000 miles of roads on which the BlueCruise can operate (they call it the Blue Zone) with updates from time to time. “We have plans year after year to improve BlueCruise,” said Dickson. “He [coming] quick. We have some changes projected for the end of this year.”
Like all Mach-Es, the GT has a large center display screen for infotainment purposes. Ford’s innovative glue-on physical volume knob provides a great solution for volume control on touchscreen systems. But I’m not the only one who likes the device, and Dickson says we could look to the button’s capabilities to expand in the future.
“There’s more to come,” he said. “We’re really trying to take advantage of it.” And this extended capability, like many other features on such digital cars, will be retroactively available to cars purchased before the feature is introduced, thanks to an over-the-air software update.
So look for the Mach-E GT, along with other Mach-Es and other future Ford EVs, to get better over time.