If it looks like a duck and quacks like one, too – well, you know the rest.
That saying poses a problem for Ford’s all-electric Mustang Mach-E, which looks an awful lot like its namesake sports car, but that’s about where the similarities end. That’s not such a big deal, if we’re being honest, but it’s at least a bit misleading. Not that every Mustang has been a blast to drive, but with that emblem comes expectations.
That’s where the 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition comes in. Where the rest of the lineup emphasizes the typical traits of an electric vehicle (EV) – efficient, quiet, and quick – this range-topper adds some excitement that extends beyond straight-line speed. It’s still not a sports car, that’s for sure, but this Mach-E is its own kind of special altogether.
But first, the looks. The Mach-E is as stylish as they come, with flowing proportions and a Mustang-inspired front end that might look better on this crossover than it does on its namesake car (sorry, not sorry). Giving it a performance bent only adds to the awesomeness, with spectacular multi-spoke wheels, a sleek front splitter, and something resembling a grille hinting at the acumen of this electric crossover.
Driving Feel: 10/10
There’s no denying that EVs are quick, but performance is about more than short bursts of speed in a straight line. So while even the entry-level Mach-E can sprint from a standing start to 100 km/h in about six seconds, the rest of the experience is more Explorer than explosive.
That’s not necessarily a criticism, but it does bring us back to that galloping horse on the grille – or at least where a grille would usually be. Not every car to bear that badge has been a banger (Mustang II, anyone?), but if ever there was an iteration that needed to be, this is it. And that it is.
The differences from the rest of the lineup isn’t quite the same as, say, the Ford Focus RS compared to the commuter car on which it was based, but the sticky Pirelli P Zero tires and magnetically controlled suspension lead to appreciable handling improvements. The big, heavy battery pack still cuts through those extras, but in this case it all adds up to a sense of corner-carving stability.
If you’ve ever wondered about the importance of extending the limit of adhesion and what it can do to the performance potential of a vehicle, drive this Mach-E. It’s just about the stickiest road-going vehicle I’ve ever experienced, with an uncanny ability to stay planted even while pushing hard through corners. And I mean hard.
The ultra-low centre of gravity created by the battery together with the twitchy steering and tacky tires make the drive experience a downright intense one. Air Force pilots could do their high-g training behind the wheel, such is the sheer brute strength the Mach-E GT Performance Edition grabs hold with through corners. OK, that’s a stretch, but for the rest of us the experience will feel an awful lot like a centrifuge on wheels, and that’s what matters most.
While the Mustang GT name has long been synonymous with snarling V8s, usually of the 5.0L variety, adding the Mach-E designation in the middle takes it in an entirely different direction. Twin electric motors driving all four wheels motivate this Performance Edition, with a combined 480 hp and 634 lb-ft the result. For a bit of context, the Porsche Taycan 4S makes 522 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque with its launch control-induced overboost activated. The result is a claimed zero-to-100 km/h sprint time of 4.0 seconds – about a third of a second slower than this Ford. Yes, you read that right.
This being the Mach-E with the most sporting intentions, it can – and should – be enjoyed the same way as any other performance vehicle. But without the usual mechanical aggression egging the driver on, it’s just as easy to drive it like a Nissan Leaf as it is the new Nissan Z.
Set in whisper mode, which is this Ford’s equivalent of an eco setting, and with one-pedal driving engaged for maximum regenerative braking, there’s nothing to hint at what’s hiding barely a deeper poke of the accelerator pedal away. It’s the ultimate Jekyll and Hyde act, with outstanding quietness and comfort that really shines when this EV is driven serenely. Creaks and rattles are relegated to whatever might be rolling around in the cargo area, with a level of fit and finish to match the price tag (more on that later).
Wrapped in synthetic suede and leather – vegans rejoice; there are no animal byproducts here – the front seats are supportive in all the right ways, with just enough bolstering to feel sporty without being difficult to get in and out of. Ride quality is affected by the big and bulky battery pack that spans the floor, with pronounced pressure cracks and potholes making their presence known, but the adaptive suspension takes care of just about everything else.
User Friendliness: 9/10
There’s no denying this cabin has electrified flair, with the kind of futuristic minimalism that’s all the rage amongst automakers building EVs these days. In the case of the Mach-E, that means very few physical controls, with most features and settings centralized to the 15.5-inch touchscreen stuck to the dash.
Graciously, none of the issues I encountered last time I tested the Mach-E were found here, with a largely seamless experience all week long. Likewise, the problems that plagued the companion smartphone app that provides remote access to the vehicle were nowhere to be found, with my iPhone even functioning as a key to start the vehicle without the fob.
In another nod to the unnecessary reinventions that accompany electrification, there are no conventional door handles here; instead, buttons trigger actuators that pop them open just enough to grab hold – a feature that might not age so well. Regardless, the benefits of this being a crossover and not a car are evident when entering and exiting the Mach-E, the massive door openings making both manoeuvres as easy as they are in the Ford Escape. Occupant space is generous, too, with ample head- and legroom front and back to fit a family of four. And with 840 L of cargo space behind the back seats, all their stuff should fit, too.
Fuel Economy: 8/10
By those traditional measures of practicality, the Mach-E does just fine. But this being an EV means some additional considerations must be made, too. Foremost among them is range, with the 91-kWh battery pack providing an estimated 418 km of driving on a full charge. That’s nothing to get excited about – and it’s an elusive figure should this GT Performance Edition be driven as intended – but it’s not terrible, either. However, this barely-broken-in tester never saw more than 397 km of estimated range on a full charge.
Slightly more disappointing is the maximum 150-kW DC fast-charging capability the Mach-E delivers. That means longer wait times at public chargers than some of its contemporaries – ideal conditions can see the battery topped up from 10 to 80 per cent in 45 minutes, according to Ford – although overnight charging at home is about the same no matter what. (In this case, it takes roughly 10 hours on a Level 2 charger.)
This being a performance vehicle, consumption rates are higher than the rest of the lineup, with the combined 25.6 kWh/100 km it’s good for landing at the high end of the market. However, dipping into the teens during city driving is easy, and my week-long test finished at 20.0 kWh/100 km across a total of almost 400 km.
For all this version of the Mach-E has in terms of amenities – built-in navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connections, a light-up pony badge on the front – it’s missing at least a couple niceties that should be included given its nearly $90,000 asking price. That the front seats aren’t ventilated or the rear ones aren’t heated might seem like small nits to pick, but both features are included in range-topping rivals like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and its twin Kia EV6.
That this is a performance vehicle means it has a few extras not found elsewhere in the lineup, like the adaptive suspension system, sticky summer tires, and upgraded front brakes. And while the same three drive modes as any other Mach-E can be selected through the infotainment system – whisper, engage, and unbridled – a fourth setting amps up the performance parameters even further. The so-called “unbridled extend” mode is apparently intended for the track only, and it’s how to uncork the full potential of the various computers that run the powertrain. It’s also a bit finicky, requiring certain criteria like state of charge and ambient temperature to be met before it can be activated.
A full suite of advanced safety features is standard, including forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, post-collision braking, lane departure warning, lane-keeping and centring assistance, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, evasive steering assistance, and adaptive cruise control that works in stop-and-go traffic. Front and rear parking sensors, automatic high-beam control, low-speed reverse automatic braking, and rain-sensing wipers are also included.
Part of the asking price of the Premium and California Route 1 trims but optional here ($2,545) is a package that includes a self-parking system that works for both parallel and perpendicular spaces, and Ford’s hands-free highway driving assistance system dubbed BlueCruise. Just like the Super Cruise system rolled out by General Motors (GM), BlueCruise functions as an enhanced version of adaptive cruise control, allowing the driver to remove their hands from the steering wheel on designated stretches of highway.
Fitted to this tester, the system worked nearly as well on the construction-laden stretches of Greater Toronto Area (GTA) highways as Super Cruise did in Southern California, albeit without the ability to change lanes on its own. While it struggled on occasion to decipher between faded markings and the ones it should be following through lane shifts in construction zones, inputs were smooth and well measured, as was the system’s ability to keep up with traffic.
At a starting price of $88,000 before tax (that includes the non-negotiable $2,095 freight charge), the 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition is unquestionably expensive, but not unreasonably so – at least not next to similar EVs on the market. Even this tester, with its panoramic glass roof and hands-free highway driving add-ons, remains competitively priced at $92,980. Take the Tesla Model Y Performance that offers slightly more range for an asking price of more than $100,000 with similar advanced driver assistance features.
We’re still not at a place with electrification where a single vehicle can be all things to all people. If range is a priority, others in the Mache-E lineup are rated for as much as 500 km. But then none of them delivers the thrills of this Performance Edition, and it does so with most of the same sensibilities as some of the more efficiency-forward models.
As far as outright performance is concerned, there might not be a better EV out there this side of six figures. Forget simply going fast in a straight line – this Ford is most impressive when the tarmac starts to twist. It’s still not a sports car; it’s something more. It represents the future of accessible automotive performance.
|Dual electric motors
|2.7 / 3.1 / 2.9 Le/100 km, 23.8 / 27.8 / 25.6 kWh/100 km city/hwy/cmb; 418 km est. range
|840 / 1,685 L seats up/down
|2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition
|Price as Tested
$4,790 – Ford Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0, $2,545; Panoramic Fixed Glass Roof, $1,895; Interior Protection Package, $350