Sunlight filters down through towering pines, dappling the “grabber blue” skin of my Ford Mach-E GT as it gallops along Highway 1, heedless trivialities like “defensive driving technique” and “speed limits.” Irma Thomas is crooning through the 9-speaker Bang and Olufsen sound system, her rendition of Time is On My Side a stark contrast to the simulated auditory roar of the GT’s twin permanent-magnet motors as the accelerator pedal slaps against the floorboard. Pouring on speed, I finally see what all the Mach-E fuss was about.
Ok so here’s the part of the story where I eat a big plate of crow. When I reviewed the Mach-E base model back in February I found it to be a perfectly serviceable EV, but more akin to similarly-shaped electric SUVs like the Kia Niro or the Volkswagen ID.4 than the venerated muscle cars I hung posters of in my childhood bedroom. Sure, the pony I drove had plenty of get-up-and-go — EVs are torquey that way — but it never rumbled the depths of my bowels like a naturally aspirated 4-barrel V8 could. The Mach-E GT does. Switch over to the performance-forward Unbridled power management mode — or Unbridled Extend, which optimizes traction and stability control and is great for lapping ICE owners on track day — and the Mach-E GT will haul more ass than a secret lab overflowing with butt monsters. Stomp on the gas in the 480 horsepower, 600 ft-pound torque GT and this thing will loosen your fillings. Do so in the uber-torqued GT Performance edition and you’re liable to swallow a few teeth.
It won’t be difficult to spot the GT and Performance editions on the street. I mean, if the prominent GT badge on the rear liftgate and illuminated Mustang icon on the front grille don’t give it away, both iterations sit about 10 mm lower than the base model and have added styling on the front facia. You’ll also be able to spot them via their wheels as both the GT and the Performance sport unique 20-inch rims (as opposed to the 18s and 19s offered on the base) rocking 245/45R20 Continental all-season tires and fire engine red Brembo brake calipers. On the interior, however, the GT is practically identical to the base model, save for the seats which offer added cushioning and lateral support as there is a better than not chance you’re going to get sideways within the first week of owning one.
As for driving performance, I’m a bit torn. Nostalgia, as I’ve explained previously, is a hell of a drug and my fondest automotive memories stem from tearing up San Francisco’s streets in a 65 outfitted with a drag racing suspension and a T-10 3-speed, which has deeply biased my understanding of what to expect from the Mach-E. It is, honestly, difficult to reconcile in my head that the Mustang is now an SUV and, despite its overwhelming power, still largely drives like one. Give me a straight shot like, say, that length of highway 101 running through Silva Island towards Larkspur and the GT can, will, and very much did beat the pants off of any Tesla on the freeway as well as one overly confident, tailgating Supra.
The tight, twisting turns of Highway 1, especially the un-railed cliffside sections where a mistimed tap of the accelerator would fly you clear off a 100-plus foot drop, were a different matter entirely. You can feel the understeer, despite it being an AWD, as well as the GT’s 4,600 pounds of curb weight through hairpin turns. But again it’s an SUV, that’s to be expected — even from one with a sub-4 0-60. The GT’s MagneRide suspension — which leverages magneto-rheological fluid to stiffen the ride on demand — shined through during those slaloming sections. Even though the wide-bodied GT wallows like a pig in mud through sharp curves, not once did I have to fight the vehicle’s body roll when entering turns.
The GT starts at $59,900, boasts 480 peak horsepower, 600 lb.-ft. of torque with a 0-60 mph time of 3.8 seconds and an estimated 270 mile range. The GT Performance edition, on the other hand, starts at $64,900, with the same amount of horsepower but a full 634 lb.-ft. of torque and a 3.5 second 0-60 and 260 miles of range. Those figures put the Mach-E GT on par with the Chevy Bolt and VW ID.4 in terms of drivable distance, though the Mustang outclasses them both in terms of driving excitement.
Range anxiety wasn’t much of a concern during my test drive thanks to the Mach-E’s connected navigation system which continually monitors the vehicle’s battery levels and points out available charging stations along the drive route. What’s more, Ford is offering two years of complimentary use of its Blue Oval Charge Network. For those drivers who wish to do their charging at home, Ford’s Connected Charging station can add 30 miles per charging hour on a 240V outlet while the included mobile charging cord can impart 20 miles of range per hour using a similar 240V outlet.
Deliveries for both the GT and the GT Performance edition have already begun.
[original story: Engadget]