As we pull over to change drivers at a fishing spot on the outskirts of Detroit, one of the locals delivers an unsolicited verdict on our test car: “Four doors on a Mustang – that’s sacrilege”.
It’s a common response to Ford’s decision to put its iconic pony badge on the bonnet of an electric four-door SUV.
On the surface, the Mustang Mach-E is the antithesis of the iconic muscle car that has been a favourite of enthusiasts for almost six decades; it weighs more than two tonnes, makes no noise and looks like an SUV.
Ford argues there is Mustang DNA in the Mach-E, from its long hood and coupe-like silhouette to its muscular haunches and trademark tri-bar tail-lamps.
That’s up for debate but one thing is undeniable. The Mach-E leaves the traditional V8 Mustang in its wake in the traffic-light Grand Prix.
Ford claims the all-wheel-drive Mustang GT will reach 100km/h in a blistering 3.7 seconds and by the seat of the pants it feels every bit that quick. There’s an instant rush of torque when you hit the accelerator and it continues uninterrupted until you reach the legal limit.
Ford has taken a leaf out of Tesla’s book, shunning the traditional “eco”, “normal” and “sports” drive modes for “whisper”, “engage” and “unbridled”.
While whisper mode is predictably quiet, engage and unbridled modes deliver quicker throttle response and an artificial engine growl through the speakers.
The top-spec GT Performance model has adaptive suspension, which does a reasonable job of soaking up bumps while sitting flat through corners.
Less expensive models with standard suspension struggle to strike a good balance between comfort and cornering ability, taking a moment to settle after bigger bumps and thudding over corrugations and road joins.
The car feels well planted when asked to change direction, thanks to plenty of weight low down between the axles, although our drive route involved sweeping bends rather than tight corners and hairpins that would test its agility. The steering is reassuringly accurate, while the grip from Michelin rubber is impressive. The Mach-E will, however, chirp its tyres on takeoff if you’re too enthusiastic with the throttle.
The cabin has a modern, hi-tech feel, with interesting textures and surfaces throughout. Sporty touches include heavily bolstered perforated leather seats with orange stitching and splashes of imitation carbon fibre on the dash. There’s a simple, rectangular screen behind the steering wheel that gives you all the vital information such as range and speed, while the centre of the dash is dominated by a huge tablet-like touchscreen with crisp graphics.
Buttons and switches have been banished for a clean look, which means changing the cabin temperature is a fiddly exercise.
Ford won’t confirm whether the Mach-E will make it to Australia, but the odds look pretty good. It’s already available in right-hand-drive and is slated to go on sale in New Zealand early next year. Ford Australia has also committed to launching four electrified vehicles here by 2024. The stumbling blocks will be price and availability: the 2022 model is already sold out and Ford recently increased the price due to “significant material cost increases” and supply constraints.
The cheapest rear-drive, standard range Mach-E is now $US46,895 plus on-roads (about $69,700) while the flagship GT dual-motor extended Range model is $US69,895 ($103,887). The price rise came with a small bump in range to 467km for all-wheel-drive models with the bigger 91kWh battery.
Rear-wheel drive models with the smaller 70kWh battery are good for between 360km and 397km. In the States the Mustang is available in rear-drive and all-wheel-drive, with a choice of standard, performance and extended range models.
The entry level rear-drive car has 198kW and is good for a claimed 5.8-second sprint to 100km/h, while the performance edition puts out 358kW to reach its sub four-second time. Ford says the battery can be recharged from 10 to 80 per cent in about 45 minutes on a 150kW charger.
FORD MUSTANG MACH-E GT PERFORMANCE
PRICE More than $100,000 (est)
MOTOR Twin-motor, 358kW and 860Nm
SAFETY Seven airbags, auto emergency braking, lane-keep assist, blind-spot alert and rear cross-traffic alert
0-100KM/H 3.7 seconds
Originally published as 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E new car review
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