SAUSALITO, CA – The all-wheel-drive Ford Mustang Mach-E already has impressive performance for a daily-driver CUV.
But the battery-electric vehicle gets a serious jolt of power with the new ’22 GT and GT Performance grades.
Upgraded power electronics of the BEV’s extended-range 88-kWh battery pack sees power go from 258 kW (346 hp) to 358 kW (480 hp). Torque climbs from 428 lb.-ft. (580 Nm) to 600 lb.-ft. (814 Nm) in the GT, or, with the Performance Edition, an eye-popping 634 lb.-ft. (860 Nm).
To put that into perspective, the first four grades of the Porsche Taycan can’t match the torque of the Mach-E GT and Performance grades. It’s no surprise both GTs have 0-60-mph (0-97 km/h) times of less than 4 seconds.
While we’d like to say we loved both equally during our test, we prefer the GT over the Performance grade, for its smoother, less jumpy acceleration and calmer, more linear braking.
The Performance grade has a more jittery character, as if its lithium-ion cells’ liquid electrolyte is composed of Red Bull. That jittery-ness was not present in the GT, even in Unbridled mode, which is the most – as Ford puts it – “exhilarating” mode. (The other standard modes are Engage, offering a “balanced” drive, and Whisper, a “calm and quiet” experience.)
When you want to drive aggressively, as we did on the twistier bits of Pacific Coast Highway, the Mach-E Performance Edition is a hoot, reminding us of the Polestar 2 with its almost-uncontainable torque.
The ride in both Mach-E models is predictably stiff, although barring a few areas of rough pavement we are comfortable. Helping control for small divots and large dips in pavement in the Performance Edition are MagneRide magnetic variable dampers.
Steering strikes a good balance between light and heavy no matter the mode, but Unbridled has the heaviest, raising driver effort. Steering feel is about the same in Engage or Whisper, both erring light.
Introduced for the new GT Mach-Es is Unbridled Extend mode, for sportier driving over longer stretches. It eliminates regenerative braking to make brakes more responsive and splits front-to-rear power from 50/50 to 40/60, accomplished by optimizing battery thermal management settings. Stability control also will intervene in a tardier fashion.
We fling a Performance grade with Unbridled Extend around a parking lot course and come away impressed by the vehicle’s power and handling, although a bit disappointed the mode saps torque somewhat in straightaways.
Driving range for the new Mach-E GT matches the extended-range AWD Premium Mach-E, at an EPA-estimated 270 miles (435 km), while the Mach-E GT Performance is estimated to achieve 260 miles (418 km).
Range of Mach-E GTs tested here is below the estimate of 260-270 miles, with 238 miles (383 km) the highest observed range in a fully charged vehicle. However, it’s important to note – because Li-ions are sensitive to it – range is highly dependent on temperature. It is chilly during our time in the San Francisco Bay Area, which no doubt has an impact.
The standard Mach-E has earned a triple crown this year, winning trophies for Wards 10 Best Engines & Propulsion Systems, 10 Best Interiors and 10 Best UX. We come away equally dazzled by the Mach-E GT and Performance grades.
The interiors of our GT test vehicles have the same great design and materials – albeit slightly tweaked – as the standard Mach-Es, with a fabric-wrapped instrument panel, high-quality circular-knit headliner and technographic-textured hard plastic trim. The Mach-E GT feels fresh and modern inside.
Metallic elements, including on seats (pictured above) and the textural silver-and-black trim (pictured below) on the IP, elevate the GT interior over that of the standard Mach-E.
The user experience remains great, too. The clear, bright and huge vertical touchscreen displays an energetic animation at startup; large virtual buttons and well-organized menus make finding infotainment features while driving easy.
The settings menu has great explanatory content about certain advanced driver assist systems (ADAS), helpful as few people crack open an owner’s manual to learn the ins and outs of lane-keeping assist.
The touchscreen houses fun elements as well, like a Sketch app allowing finger drawings in a rainbow of colors.
Voice recognition performs well with various commands thrown at it. The on-board navigation system not so much. It has issues during our two days of driving, for some reason taking us in circles on mapped routes. Fortunately, wireless Apple CarPlay and our smartphone get us on the right path.
Style and/or performance updates that distinguish the GT and Performance models from regular Mach-Es include darkened grilles, red Brembo front-brake calipers (pictured below), tweaked front and rear bumpers and new wheel designs. The GT and Performance Mach-Es also get a lowered suspension, new 20-in. tires (the Performance grade gets summer Pirelli P-Zero tires) and beefier front brakes.
My Wards Intelligence colleague Glenn Sanders and I put on-board ADAS technologies through the paces. The Mach-E GT gets Ford’s new Blue Cruise hands-free driving tech, sort of a Level 2+ semi-autonomous system.
Blue Cruise builds on the Ford CoPilot 360 ADAS tech suite (blindspot alerts, LKAS, pre-collision emergency braking, intelligent and/or adaptive cruise control with speed sign recognition, evasive steering assist, 360-degree camera with split view and active park assist), with high-definition mapping data of 130,000 miles (209,300 km) of divided highways in the U.S. and Canada available to allow hands-free driving in mapped zones.
Glenn did a thorough review on our Wards Intelligence sister site, but suffice it to say, he liked it, as did I, giving it a “solid B” as it kept us in our lane and warned us if we took our eyes off the road ahead for too long. A slight criticism is it did have a tendency to keep our vehicle right of center in the lane, sometimes very close to the right lane line.
Like the standard Mach-E, the GT and Performance models are comfortable inside, with a decently roomy backseat, not to mention a good-size rear cargo area and frunk (aka “front trunk") for storing stuff.
Starting at $61,000, the GT is pricey – about $18,000 more than a base Mach-E – but offers a lot of bang for the buck. The Performance Edition is an extra $5,000 on top of the $61,000. If you’re a lead foot with a track membership, the latter may be worth it. Otherwise, the GT has plenty of power to satisfy your speed tooth.
The ’22 Mustang Mach-E GT (pictured below) and GT Performance Edition are on sale this fall at U.S. Ford dealers.