Ford Mustang Mach-E GT 2023 review – it’s fast, but is it fun?
Ford’s first performance EV is a credible achievement, but it remains hamstrung by familiar EV shortcomings
Ford’s decision to apply the Mustang name to an all-electric SUV certainly raised eyebrows, but while it's far from the sports coupe we’ve come to love, the Mach-E is a solid offering in standard form. The range-topping GT aims to lift performance to a new level entirely, with the marque’s performance division transforming it into one of its fastest models. With its starting price now having risen to an eye-watering £74,540, though, it has a lot to prove.
Under the GT’s skin is a 98.7kWh battery pack, of which 88kWh is usable to drive a motor on each axle. Both take their fair share of the aforementioned power, but provide 480bhp and 634lb ft of torque in return, with the latter more than the second-generation GT supercar and the most torque ever produced by a road-going Ford.
As impressive as those figures are, plenty of rivals offer more power in 2023, but the GT is quick regardless. Standstill to 62mph happens in a competitive 3.7sec, and it feels Golf R quick between the corners, the instant pick-up of the electric motors still impressing where some rivals begin to tail off – most hot hatches will come flying by with plenty more to give once the GT hits its 124mph limiter, though.
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To generate an extra 134bhp over the ordinary dual-motor Mach-E, the GT has a more powerful front-axle motor, with the powertrain recalibrated to deliver more torque to the rear axle more of the time, regardless of which of the three driving modes are selected: Whisper, Active and Untamed. There’s also an Untamed Plus mode that adjusts throttle and steering responses and slackens off the traction and stability systems, although various parameters have to be met before this most extreme mode can be activated.
There are other unique features to help differentiate the GT from its lesser siblings, including Brembo brakes with four-piston calipers front and rear, and 385mm front discs. Ford’s MagneRide adaptive dampers are standard fit and have been recalibrated for European markets, while Pirelli has developed a set of bespoke P Zero tyres for its 20-inch wheels. Wider tyres would knock the car’s efficiency, so the GT uses modest 245-section items front and rear, making traction tricky to find from a standstill in less favourable conditions.
As in every EV, brake calibration is far from easy, with engineers having to blend ordinary friction brakes with regenerative braking from the motors. Various EVs of recent times have managed to pull this off, with a reassuring, consistent pedal feel you’d expect from the best combustion cars, but the Mach-E GT isn’t one of them. Braking power is more than enough for the task at hand, but in normal driving conditions, the brakes are feel over-servoed and near-impossible to smoothly modulate. Thankfully, the GT has regenerative braking strong enough to allow for pure one-pedal driving, but when you need to use the pedal, it’s not a pleasant experience.
A 2273kg kerb weight is undoubtedly high, but like many of its kind, the Mach-E tries its very best to mask it, making its performance more accessible than you might expect. The low-speed ride is cumbersome and lumpy, though, with the spring rates and dampers clearly tuned for high-speed stability and control rather than low-speed compliance. Poor surfaces can catch the damping out too, with more shock coming through the body than you’re expecting. This focussed chassis approach does mean the GT is able to use every last drop of its power and torque in the right conditions, though.
Through quick sweepers there’s enough roll to lean on without feeling like it’s all going to end in a ball of metal rolling down the asphalt, with the steering weight consistent if lacking in any real feel. The rack is quick enough to work the front of the car into a turn with little delay, too, and when you get back into the sharp throttle, there’s no doubt it’s rear-biased, squeezing its Pirelli’s into the surface. It makes for a quick cross country car that, while not as entertaining as a Honda Civic Type R or a Mercedes-AMG A45 S, has enough going on to mildly entertain.
In slower corners, the weighty steering can’t match its high-speed response, leaving you guessing as to how much grip you have, more often than not resulting in the front washing out and a frustrating wait before reapplication of the throttle. Work around this front-end obscurity, get the nose turned in with total purchase and you can then feed in enough power quickly enough to overwhelm the rear axle and drive out of the corner with the slightest whiff of corrective lock. It can get a bit messy as weight takes hold, but it injects some attitude into the drive. It’s certainly a more impressive car the quicker you go, but there’s no getting away from the fact it’s a large crossover, and you’ll be turning the lane keep assist off the moment you get in, not only because it’s one of the most dangerous pieces of software the automotive industry has developed, but the Mach-E isn’t easily confined between the white lines.
Despite its performance, the Mach-E GT is quiet and refined on a motorway, delivering the serenity that only an EV can. There’s plenty of room inside, too, and while the cheaper BMW iX xDrive40 is on another level in terms of material quality, some of the materials used in place of plastics are a nice nod to today’s consumer product expectations. The small instrument cluster with its speed readout, nav directions, range and battery charge state is Ford at its innovative best. The clumsy Tesla-style portrait infotainment display fixed to the centre console is not so appealing, but it’s responsive enough and certainly not lacking in features.
With such an expanse of screen real estate, Ford has fallen into the trap of pushing most of the GT’s vital cabin controls onto the infotainment display, with the likes of the heated seats requiring multiple touches to activate. The seating position is also a little too high for our liking, with a lofty floor height and button-press door openers making ingress tricky for newcomers. This aside, the Mach-E GT offers a very useable ‘frunk’ space, with that large infotainment display providing some of the best camera views for manoeuvring we’ve seen (handy given the miniscule rear window).
A claimed 310-mile range means a real-world 270, a sensible figure that will suit most user’s needs and keep the majority of owners away from the less salubrious areas of UK motorway services charging areas. The peak charging rate isn’t quite as impressive at 150kW, some way below the 350kw rate of cheaper rivals such as the Kia EV6 GT.
Price and rivals
The Mustang Mach-E GT’s high price was a sticking point for many at its launch, and with it now having risen a further £9460 to £74,540, it’s a very tough sell. The Tesla Model Y is quicker and more efficient than the Ford for £14,550 less, with the 577bhp Kia EV6 GT offering even more tech and performance at an £11,895 discount. The BMW iX xDrive40 is available for £69,905, and although it’s a step below in terms of performance, it’s one of the most refined, well-sorted EVs on sale. A current manufacturer discount brings the Mach-E GT’s price down to £67,540 at the time of writing, but this is temporary, and still doesn’t bring its pricing in-line with its closest rivals.
The Mustang Mach-E GT does a good job of providing some of the driving thrills missing from many of its electric rivals, but with the promising Hyundai Ioniq 5 N on its way with a more advanced powertrain and heaps of driver-centric tech, time will tell just how competitive the Ford is.
Ford Mustang Mach-E GT specs
|Powertrain||Dual motor, all-wheel drive|