First Drive: 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT and GT Performance Edition

10 min read

First Drive: 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT and GT Performance Edition

10 min read

It was a bold move when Ford adorned the new, all-electric Mustang Mach-E EV SUV with the familiar running pony in the grille. Everyone wanted to know if the Mach-E could live up to the history and heritage that comes with the name “Mustang”. For many, having the “Mustang” name on an electric four-door SUV is always going to be a controversial, almost unspeakable move, but we had to determine for ourselves if the Mach-E GT and GT Performance Edition could deliver the experience we’ve experienced in EcoBoost, GT, and many Shelby Mustangs.

“We’re electrifying our most popular nameplates and already have pushed the envelope by creating an electric vehicle worthy of wearing the pony badge,” said Darren Palmer, Global Director of Battery Electric Vehicles, Ford Motor Company. “It’s only natural that we continue to push further. The Mustang Mach-E GT and GT Performance Edition are bringing high-performance credentials at a price customers will love.”

Palmer was quick to remind us that the Mustang coupe isn’t going anywhere. The Mach-E is not a replacement, but more of an option for those wanting an electric vehicle with outstanding performance and technology.

To make the Mach-E worthy of the “GT” badge, engineers have given it the DNA you’d expect in traditional Mustangs. “Mustang GT has a rich history in driving, signifying a sports car designed to go long distances and arguably defining fun-to-drive performance with no compromise on comfort or style. Ford does not take the name lightly as ‘GT’ has been part of a proud Mustang tradition dating back more than half a century with the original 1965 Mustang GT package,” added Palmer.

Our first pull was on a curvy section of road outside of San Francisco, California in the Mach-E GT Performance Edition. With a clear road ahead, I matted the go pedal and was impressed with the sudden jolt of acceleration.

The Mustang Mach-E GT features electric all-wheel-drive and permanent magnetic dual motors, including a secondary electric motor that is upgraded compared to the base Mustang Mach-E that powers the front wheels for a combined power output of 480 peak horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque. Full torque comes on instantly and 0-60 mph takes just 3.8 seconds.

2021 Mustang Mach-E GT Performance

The Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition includes standard MagneRide suspension, 20-inch alloy wheels with unique, specially developed Pirelli tires, Ford Performance seats and exclusive body styling.

Upping the ante, the Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition goes 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds thanks to 634 lb-ft of torque. In fact, it has the same 480 horsepower as the Mustang Mach 1, but with 214 lb-ft of additional torque.

The Mustang Mach-E GT features 20-inch machined-face aluminum wheels with high-gloss black-painted pockets and aero covers with 245/45R20 Continental all-season tires. Mach-E GT also gets unique red-painted performance brake calipers, plus 385-millimeter ventilated front rotors and 316-millimeter solid rear rotors.

The GT Performance Edition provides quicker acceleration and improved cornering and braking thanks to larger 385-millimeter front rotors with red-painted Brembo-branded calipers, as well as 20-inch machined-face aluminum wheels with high-gloss Ebony Black-painted pockets paired with 245/45R20 Pirelli summer tires that are unique to Mustang Mach-E, and which enabled engineers to calibrate the motors for increased torque, as well as MagneRide damping system to help improve handling performance.

“We’re pushing the boundaries of what an electric vehicle can do,” said Dave Pericak, vehicle program director. “These Mustang Mach-E GT models not only give customers the added capability expected from the Mustang GT name, but the responsiveness of their electric powertrains combined with MagneRide suspension will ensure they have unbelievable torque and a thrilling experience behind the wheel.”

The Performance edition was clearly more fun, offering better grip and a slightly better pull when the accelerator was pressed to the floor. The suspension was more taught, but if you don’t plan on pushing in the corners, the GT would be a great option at a slightly lower price. On the autocross, the GT Performance Edition was grippy and fun. The 5,000-plus weight is managed well and I could really toss it around. It doesn’t feel truck-like, but it’s not quite like driving a GT350 or GT500 Mustang.

As you’d imagine, the Mach-E provides a completely different driving experience. The biggest thing is the lack of engine noise…and, of course, there’s no shifting. What you get is a steady pull from the electric motors coupled with the technology that’s at your fingertips. Grip out of the hole is the most impressive part…there’s literally no spin, just torque, and traction. With 634 lb-ft of torque, the initial launch feels much more aggressive than the numbers would show. Ford has tuned the GT and GT Performance Edition with 5 seconds of full boost, then power tapers off. The reason is to preserve battery life for long-term operation. On track, owners have been clocking 12.30s at 105 mph, which is impressive for an SUV that weighs in at over 5,000 pounds. We expect as the technology is improved, Ford will provide over-the-air updates to enhance power.

Going The Distance

2021 Mustang Mach-E performance

The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition can knock down 12.30s at 105 mph in just about any conditions.

According to Ford, Mustang Mach-E GT models achieve an EPA-estimated 270 (GT) and 260-miles of range (GT Performance Edition). We drove Ford’s pre-planned loop for hours and never got below 60% capacity. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, Ford guarantees that the Mach-E will retain 70-percent of its original battery life after 8 years.

The Mach-E interior is unconventional, with a pair of screens replacing the typical gauge package and center-stack controls. Features on the GT’s include multi-color ambient lighting, front door scuff plates with metal inserts with pony graphic and GT lettering, and an aluminum appliqué instrument panel. Sport-style front seats feature Black Onyx ActiveX material with Miko insert, copper metallic stitching, and copper metallic accent piping. Mustang Mach-E GT models also features a Bang & Olufsen Sound System with nine speakers and a subwoofer. The GT Performance Edition gets comfortable Ford Performance front seats in Performance Gray ActiveX Seating Material plus unique Miko perforated reflective insert and metallic stitching. These provided nice bolstering, but they weren’t too much for the daily commute.

Both Mustang Mach-E GT and Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition feature a Carbonized Gray grille with illuminated pony badge and GT series badging adorning the exterior. Mustang Mach-E GT also features a hands-free, foot-activated liftgate, pony projection lamps, and black-painted side view mirror caps.

As for exterior colors, you can order a 2021 Mustang Mach-E GT and Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition in Cyber Orange Metallic Tri-Coat, Grabber Blue Metallic, Dark Matter Gray Metallic, Rapid Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Star White Metallic Tri-Coat, Shadow Black, Iconic Silver Metallic or Space White Metallic.

Unbridled Extend

2021 Mustang Mach E Unbridled Extend

The new Unbridled Extend drive mode helps optimize traction and stability control in Mustang Mach-E GT and GT Performance Edition models, as well as battery life, powertrain sound and ultimately, customer fun.

Ford understands that Mustang owners aren’t shy about going fast, so to maximize driving fun, they designed a system called Unbridled Extend into the 2021 Mustang Mach-E GT and GT Performance Edition. Unbridled Extend is specifically designed for short track and closed-course-only driving. It emphasizes sustained power output for lap time consistency. The mode offers more linear pedal mapping for both accelerator and brake, proactive battery cooling, a modified AWD system with unique front-to-rear bias, less intrusive stability and traction control, and an amplified powertrain sound that can be heard even when the vehicle is “idling.” Unbridled Extend is an extension of the on-road selectable drive mode Unbridled.

In addition, GT and GT Performance Edition models come standard with the latest Ford SYNC communications and entertainment system, SYNC 4A. The standard 15.5-inch center stack screen displays a simple interface that learns driver preferences and gets better over time with Ford Power Up over-the-air updates.

Out on the highway, we tried Ford’s BlueCruise, which offers hands-free highway on Mustang Mach-E GT and Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition equipped with the optional Ford Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 package. This was our first encounter with autonomous driving. With the system active, the Mach-E GT will 100-percent drive itself, as long as you’re on one of the 130,000 miles of road in North America that has been linked. Drivers must still keep their eyes on the road (the vehicle monitors your eyes) and it will maintain speed and lane centering in traffic or while on the open highway. I found it to be a stress reduction, and it was especially useful in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Owners will also benefit from Continued Ford PowerUp, a program that provides over-the-air software updates that allow owners to update software from the convenience of their own garage, keeping their Mustang Mach-E GT or GT Performance Edition on the cutting edge with the latest technology and features.

“Our connected vehicles like these Mach-E GTs will only get better over time,” said Donna Dickson, chief program engineer, Mustang Mach-E. “With Ford Power Ups, we can ensure that your vehicle is always up to date. We’ll be bringing new features, updates to existing ones as well as fun things like games. We’re focused on continuous improvement in real-time and crucially all done with no inconvenience to our customers.”

2021 Mustang Mach-E interior

The Mach-E GT and GT Performance Editions feature ActiveX seating materials and a Bang & Olufsen that will satisfy most any audiophile. GT Performance Editions get Ford performance front seats that are bolstered but comfortable enough for daily commutes.

Like the Mustang Mach-E, the 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.

“We’ve created a network of chargers to make it easy for our customers to find, use and pay for charging on the go. It’s not only the largest network offered but it’s also getting better and more reliable all the time,” said Matt Stover, director, Charging and Energy Services. Mustang Mach-E GT and GT Performance Edition customers will also receive complementary access to the Blue Oval Charge Network for two years. Ford has teamed up with multiple charging providers to create the largest public charging network in the country of any automotive manufacturer, with more than 19,500 charging stations (and more than 63,000 charge plugs) and growing, including DC fast chargers. 2,900 of these stations are Level 3 DC Fast-Charging stations with more than 6,200 plugs.

Customers can also enjoy a more connected charging experience with FordPass. They can see updated charging stops in real-time, whether they’re in use or not, activate and pay for charging by simply plugging in with Plug and Charge technology, and filter to find DC fast chargers only as needed. For additional support, Ford has more than 2,300 EV-certified Ford dealers and more than 3,500 EV-trained technicians to support customers nationwide.

How much to get in the seat? The 2020 Mustang Mach-E GT starts at $59,995 MSRP and the Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition starts at $64,995 in the U.S. According to Ford, both are eligible for the available federal tax incentive. In simple terms, you may qualify for as much as $7,500 in federal tax incentives for purchasing an all-electric Ford vehicle in 2021.

Living up to the GT name, the 2021 Mustang Mach-E GT and GT Performance Edition blend performance, handling, confidence with comfort in a fun-to-drive, all-electric Mustang.


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