Ford's Mustang Mach-E is at its fastest in GT form. Jonathan Crouch drives it.
Ten Second Review
Ford's Mustang Mach-E shows its wild side in this top 487PS GT model. Based on the 'Extended Range' battery AWD variant, it dials up the desirability with a bespoke cabin, but more importantly, it gets MagneRide adaptive damping and more pulling power than we've ever seen from a Ford-badged performance car.
From its launch back in 2020, Ford's all-electric Mustang Mach-E was the car the brand had been waiting for - and the model Mustang fans had been dreading. They rued the adoption of a classic name for a common EV. We, like others, pointed out to those loyalists that without this full-battery model and others like it, Ford wouldn't have much of a future in which to create any sort of Mustang at all.
Nevertheless, we couldn't ignore the fact that in its standard form, the Mach-E was rather lacking in the kind of driver appeal that any Ford badged 'Mustang' ought to have. So we welcomed the arrival in 2021 of this more focus 487PS Mach-E GT derivative. Breathed on by the engineers from the Ford Performance division, it aims to be the ultimate driver's EV. But is it?
This GT's starting point is the AWD system and 88kWh 'Extended Range' battery of the top version of the ordinary model, but here, power has been teased out to 487PS and there's more torque (at 860Nm, around 15% more) than Ford offered with its old GT supercar. Sprinting to 62mph from rest in the Mach-E GT takes just 4.4s (3.7s from a rolling start), which is 1.4s quicker than the standard car and faster than any Ford the brand has previously sold in Europe. Top speed is limited to 124mph (though that's 13mph faster than the standard model).
Earlier, we mentioned the firm ride quality. Well you can tweak that via Ford's MagneRide adaptive damping system, this being the only Mach-E to which that set-up is fitted, working via the car's 'Active', 'Whisper' and 'Untamed' drive modes, the latter setting working with an emotive drive growl that we reckon is the best performance EV sound track we've come across. The adaptive damping system electronically controls magnetorheological fluid inside the damper to respond in real time to changing road conditions and is supposed to seamlessly adjust the vehicle's character in line with the selected drive mode. Ford says that it tuned these magnetorheological dampers with European roads in mind but in our experience, whatever drive setting you choose, the set-up always feels pretty firm, so try before you buy.
Where those firmer dampers offer a real advantage is of course when you throw the car into tight corners at speed. At which point, in the often slippery conditions of our test, the car always felt brilliantly grippy, planted and confidence-inspiring. When driving like this, you're inevitably always very aware of this EV's prodigious 2,198kg kerb weight, but not to the same degree as is the case with the conventional model. We came away a little disappointed by the compromised handling of that car: this one showcases Ford Performance engineering expertise much better. This isn't just a Mach-E with extra power and a body kit:it feels like a much more complete all-round interpretation of the whole design.
Another reason why that is lies with this GT model's bespoke braking and tyre specifications. Ford worked with Pirelli to develop a bespoke 245/45 R20 tyre compound and tread pattern specifically to complement the model's additional power, torque and all-wheel drive performance. Fitted to 8-inch-wide wheels - an inch wider than the standard Mustang Mach-E's rims - the unique tyres provide impressive grip and noticeable extra lateral stability when pressing on through tight turns. The Mustang Mach-E GT's 385mm diameter Brembo ventilated front brake discs are the largest of any Mustang Mach-E model and would be useful in the unlikely event that you ever ventured onto a track with this car. Should that happen, you can activate the extra provided circuit-only 'Untamed Plus' drive mode, which we expect very few owners to ever use.
Design and Build
The flagship GT variant is recognisable by its special front grille, unique bumpers and 20-inch Cast Aluminium wheels with specially developed tyres and 19-inch red calipers for the bespoke Brembo brakes. Inside, the main cabin difference is the addition of GT Performance seats. Otherwise, the interior is much as in any other Mach-E. Which has a cabin nothing like anything you'll have previously seen on a Ford, dominated by a Tesla-like portrait-style 15.5-inch centre free-standing infotainment touchscreen incorporating a lower rotary dial. This works using Ford's latest SYNC 4 operating system that is able to accept over-the-air updates and can quickly learn your preferences.
There's also a further 10.2-inch screen in front of the steering wheel for all the main driving gauges. A floating, flip-up armrest doubles as a place to store purses or bags. Two adults can be comfortably accommodated in the back. And there's a 402-litre boot (extendable to 1,420-litres if you fold the rear bench). Plus there's a further 81-litre space beneath the bonnet, which is provided in the form of a drainable compartment which would be good for wet or muddy clothing or footwear.
Market and Model
This manically fast flagship GT model costs from just under £75,000, around £10,000 more than the ordinary 'Extended range' AWD model that shares its 88kWh battery and 4x4 system. We detailed the visual changes this GT offers inside and out in our 'Design' section. Otherwise, this GT's key spec addition is Ford's adaptive MagneRide suspension and an extra 'Untamed Plus' drive mode. Otherwise, the equipment tally is the same as that for a conventional 'Extended Range' battery model. Which means you get adaptive LED Mustang signature headlamps, black power-folding mirrors and a 'Blade'-style front grille design. Inside, there's red stitching for the Sensico upholstery, along with 8-way power adjustable front seats and a dark headliner.
Also included is a full panorama roof, power-folding mirrors, a hands-free tailgate and an Advanced Active Park Assist system that steers you into both parallel and perpendicular spaces merely by holding down a button. The cabin additionally features a B&O Premium Sound System with 10 speakers, including a really smart Dashboard Sound Bar.
What about safety kit? Well there's 'Pre-Collision Assist' autonomous braking, 'Lane Departure Warning' with a 'Lane Keeping System', 'Evasive Steering Assist', a 'BLIS' 'Blind Spot Information System', 'Cross Traffic Alert', Driver Alert', 'Wrong Way Alert' and 'Reverse Braking Assist', which mitigates collisions at low speeds when you're parking by braking the car automatically, say, to avoid a low wall or, more seriously, a child or a pet.
Cost of Ownership
The key stat here is driving range, WLTP-rated for the GT at 304 miles. Next, there are issues of charging to consider. As electric vehicle owners do 80% of their charging at home, Ford offers Mach-E buyers a 'Connected Wallbox' option which delivers up to five times the charging power of a typical domestic socket - meaning customers can add an estimated average range of 38 miles per charging hour, based on extended-range, rear-wheel drive configuration. The Ford Home Charge Cable, included with the vehicle, can add an estimated average range of nine miles per charging hour using a typical European domestic outlet.
And when you're out and about? Well with peak charging power of 150kW, a Mustang Mach-E GT variant could add driving range of up to 57 miles within 10 minutes of charge time on a DC fast-charging station. Like all Mach-E models, this ones comes with ultra-rapid charging capability courtesy of a Type 2 CCS inlet. The car's Connected Navigation system will identify up-to-date public charging locations during trips and prompt owners to charge at the most convenient points on each drive - all to help ensure they don't have to be anxious about how much range they have. The brand also gives customers access to the FordPass Charging Network, Europe's largest network of more than 125,000 public charging stations in 21 countries. A Mach-E owner will be able to access any of these and pay for their power from a single account.
So. Is the Mach-E GT any more of a Mustang? No, not really. If you adore everything the old Mustang sports car still stands for, you'll find little of that here. But what this GT variant does do is to showcase Ford Performance handling prowess in a way that the rather clumsy-feeling standard Mach-E just doesn't.
Unlike in that car, there's real driving enjoyment to be had here, provided you can live with the uber-firm ride. We like the seats, the sound, the steering and the MagneRide damping system. And the power of this car lifts it onto a different level from cheaper performance-orientated segment rivals: it feels like an altogether more serious beast.
Which leaves us, well, where? The Mach-E represents the future of Ford: the Mustang model line draws from its past. In its ordinary form, this car left us uncertain whether those two things really matched together. After trying this GT model though, we're that little bit more convinced.