First Drive: 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E First Edition

10 min read

First Drive: 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E First Edition

10 min read

It's a given that electric vehicles are coming, and with that comes the potential for a new high-performance driving experience. Tesla has led the way, offering electric cars with fantastic performance. The Model 3 can turn high 11s and the Model S Plaid has been in the low-nine-second range in the quarter-mile. Ford plugged itself into the electric car game with the all-new Mustang Mach-E and the Detroit-based automaker recently announced an all-electric F-150 Lightning. Additionally, Ford is setting records with its electric Cobra Jet 1400, which made exhibition runs at last year’s Holley Ford Fest and recently turned an 8.128 elapsed time at 171 mph, the quickest-ever pass for a full-bodied all-electric car.

“At the first-ever Detroit auto show, Henry Ford said he was working on something that would strike like forked lightning,” said Bill Ford, the executive chairman of Ford Motor Company. “That was the Model T. Today, the Ford Motor Company is proud to unveil a car that strikes like forked lightning all over again, the all-new, all-electric Mustang Mach-E. It’s fast. It’s fun. It’s freedom, for a new generation of Mustang owners.”

Earlier this year we got behind the wheel of the First Edition Mustang Mach-E with 346 horsepower and 428 lb-ft. of torque, and while it wasn’t the much-anticipated GT, it provided on-demand torque, unmatched traction (in adverse wet/snow conditions) and impressed us with strong acceleration, sporty handling and an overall fun experience behind the wheel. One of the most interesting features is Ford’s “One Pedal” mode, which provides instant and smooth braking action when you lift off the throttle. This takes a bit of getting used to, but enhances the driving experience, especially in traffic. If will actually bring the vehicle to a complete stop unless you apply power.

What you won’t hear is the traditional, and often glorious, sound from internal combustion, however, electric cars aren’t “silent” either. We experienced typical road noise and Ford includes a mix of artificial sounds that are designed to enhance your experience. To be honest, we didn’t really notice these sounds, but there was a distinct difference to the overall driving experience. Ford’s Mach-E feels more car-like than we expected. Despite the Mach-E’s heft, which runs the range between 4,390- and 4,920-pounds curb weight, it didn’t act like a tank. It was nimble, with accurate steering feel on turn-in and through the corners. We could break the back tires loose for a little oversteer, but it was easily controllable, even at the limit during our autocross runs. From the driver’s seat you look out a short windshield and over a long hood that’s not unlike the two-door coupe with the same name.

Mustang Mach-E orange nose

“The Mustang Mach-E wholeheartedly rejects the notion that electric vehicles are only good at reducing gas consumption,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s chief product development and purchasing officer. “People want a car that’s thrilling to drive, that looks gorgeous and that can easily adapt to their lifestyle – and the Mustang Mach-E delivers all of this in unmatched style.”

In addition to strong acceleration, Mustang Mach-E will be available with Brembo’s all-new performance Flexira aluminum calipers, which maintain the functionality of a fixed caliper, while being designed with the dimensions of a floating caliper. The GT Performance Edition is equipped with a MagneRide damping system, Ford Performance seats, and 20-inch, machined-face wheels with Ebony Black-painted pockets paired with 245/45R20 Pirelli summer tires. The Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition targets 0-60 mph in 3.5-seconds and an estimated 480 horsepower and 634 lb-ft. of torque.

The Mach-E has an EPA-estimated range of at least 300 miles with the available extended-range battery and rear-wheel drive. It also offers built-in charging solutions that route customers to nearby public charging stations, recommends where to charge on trips, and provides access to over 13,500 public charge stations in the FordPass charging network.

“Ever since the original Mustang took the world by storm in 1964, it quickly came to represent the best of the American spirit: Freedom, progress, fast performance and a touch of rebellion,” said Thai-Tang. “Now, Mustang is ready to reimagine these ideas for a powerful electric future, with space for customers’ growing needs and advanced over-the-air updates that continue to improve the vehicle.”

Mach-E running horse badge

Much like the selectable driving modes on current Ford products, Mustang Mach-E delivers three unique drive experiences including Whisper, Engage and Unbridled. Each mode offers different driving dynamics designed to give drivers a unique sensory experience. We tried all three and, as you’d expect, Unbridled was the most fun. The various modes change the vehicle responsiveness and feel at the controls to provide sportier or normal steering controls, plus changes to ambient lighting, sounds tuned for an authentic all-electric experience, and dynamic cluster animations that were tied to driving behavior.

The all-new Mach-E all-wheel drive system applies torque independently to the front and rear axles and delivered impressive acceleration and improved handling over the rear-wheel drive model. Ford tuned this system to provide excellent traction on the road, rigorously testing the vehicle in wet and snowy terrain to help control for slippery conditions. Our drive on a 33-degree day that left us with wet and slush-covered roads proved the worth of the design. To be frank, there is just no way you could drive a performance vehicle as aggressively as we drove the Mach-E considering the conditions. We did push the Mach-E in a closed autocross course and found the traction to be amazing. There was no slip on acceleration or even in sharp cornering. Braking action was very impressive, too.

“Thanks to advances in battery technology, the Mustang Mach-E is the kind of car that gets people excited about driving, with a sporty, beautiful silhouette that delivers an incredible shape rarely seen in SUVs,” said Ron Heiser, Ford Mustang Mach-E chief program engineer.

“Whether you want to really feel its performance capability or are looking for the quiet atmosphere that electric vehicles can offer, the Mach-E harnesses the power of electrification to create a unique driving experience while retaining that unmistakable Mustang feeling of freedom,” said Mark Kaufman, Ford enterprise product line director, global electrification. Mach-E is the first production vehicle to be tuned by the Ford Performance team utilizing Ford’s racing simulator in North Carolina.

Mustang Mach-E snow drive

Along with performance, Mach-E brings a new level of technology and driver/passenger connectivity. Making its debut in the Mach-E is the next-generation SYNC communications and entertainment system, a sleek and modern interface that uses machine learning to quickly learn drivers’ preferences, and gets even better over time thanks to advanced over-the-air updates. The next-generation SYNC 4A’s 15.5-inch screen and simple interface ditches complicated menus, making it easier to access features with touch, swipe and pinch controls that every smartphone owner will be comfortable using.

“SYNC 4A actively starts adapting to you as soon as you start using it, quickly learning your preferences and making personalized suggestions,” said Darren Palmer, Ford global director for battery electric vehicles. “It can suggest going to the gym if it learns Mondays are workout days or calling home if you do that every day after work. The result is a cloud-connected assistant and interface that’s intuitive, beautiful and ready for the future thanks to fast over-the-air updates.”

As SYNC 4A evolves to serve customers better over time, Ford has outfitted the Mach-E with the ability to continuously improve through the delivery of secure over-the-air updates that are capable of enhancing vehicle performance, offering maintenance updates and even adding entirely new features.

The Mach-E's Cockpit

Mustang Mach-E Interior

To truly take advantage of the extra space provided by electrification, Ford designers worked extensively with customers to understand how they would prefer to use the interior of their vehicles. Designed with SUV-size proportions to seat five adults comfortably, the Mach-E leaves plenty of space for friends, kids and cargo.

In addition to the exterior front trunk, the rear trunk offers 29.7 cubic feet of space. With the rear seats down, the Mach-E boasts 59.7 cubic feet of space – more than enough room for luggage, camping gear or whatever else you may want to move around.

Everywhere inside, the Mach-E represents a fusion of sleek, modern design and smart functionality. Premium available Bang & Olufsen speakers are seamlessly integrated across the front, floating above the air vents like a sound bar. A floating flip-up armrest doubles as a place to store purses or bags. Traditional Mustang design cues like the double-cowl instrument panel round out the interior.

Mach-E drive modes

Even the available panoramic fixed-glass roof has a secret – a special glass coating helps the interior stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. In addition, an inner layer between the glass helps protect against UV rays.

Finally, getting in and starting the vehicle is easy and effortless with Ford's Phone As A Key technology, which makes its debut in the Ford brand lineup in Mustang Mach-E. Using Bluetooth, the vehicle can detect customers’ smartphones as they approach, unlocking the Mach-E and allowing them to start driving without getting their phones out of their pockets or using a key fob. A backup code can be entered on the center touch screen to start and drive the vehicle in the event a phone battery dies.

Along with its all-new propulsion system, the Mach-E holds another surprise under its hood—a drainable front trunk storage unit that provides 4.8 cubic feet of storage space. And because it’s drainable, customers can easily pack it full of ice and keep their favorite beverages cold...perfect for that pre-game tailgate or trip to the beach.

A Different Kind Of Power

Mustang Mach-E drift

Mustang Mach-E will be available in both standard-range (66 kWh usable lithium-ion battery) and extended-range (88 usable kWh battery), which has an EPA-estimated range of at least 300 miles in rear-wheel-drive configuration. These advanced batteries feature 288 lithium-ion cells in the standard-range version and 376 lithium-ion cells in the extended-range. Designed for ease of manufacturing, the battery is located on the floor between the vehicle’s two axles and has been tested at temperatures as extreme as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. The batteries are secured inside a waterproof battery case surrounded by crash-absorption protection. They are liquid-cooled to optimize performance in extreme weather and to improve charging times.

As electric vehicle owners do 80 percent of their charging at home, Ford offers a Ford Connected Charging station that can add an estimated average range of 30 miles per charging hour on a 240V outlet, based on extended-range, rear-wheel-drive configuration. The Ford mobile charger, included with the vehicle, can add an estimated average range of 20 miles per charging hour on a 240V outlet, the same used for a conventional oven. Ford is teaming up with Amazon Home to facilitate easy customer home installation by a licensed electrician.

Mach-E driver view

Ford also makes charging at home or on the go hassle-free by providing multiple home charging solutions and by giving customers access to the FordPass Charging Network – the largest public charging network in the country with more than 13,500 charging stations (and more than 40,000 charge plugs) and growing, including DC fast chargers. With peak charging rate of 150 kW, a Mustang Mach-E with an extended battery and rear-wheel drive can add an estimated average of 61 miles of range in approximately 10 minutes, while charging on a DC fast charging station. The standard-range Mustang Mach-E is estimated to charge from 10 percent to 80 percent in approximately 45 minutes while charging on a DC fast charging station. Ford has more than 2,100 EV-certified Ford dealers and more than 3,500 EV-trained technicians to support customers nationwide.

The starting MSRP of the Mustang Mach-E GT is $59,900 and the Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition is $64,900 in the United States. Both qualify for as much as $7,500 in federal tax incentives.


42 Posts