Ford Mustang Mach-E Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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BBC TopGear
Car Review

Ford Mustang Mach-E

£ 41,275 - £ 58,025
810
Published: 25 Oct 2021
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

Good and bad news here. More good than bad thankfully. And actually the bad has more to do with your expectations than any deficiencies on the car’s part. It doesn’t drive like a Mustang. Of course it doesn’t. It’s a 2.2-tonne SUV. So put any thoughts of smoking, roaring muscle cars out of your mind now. This is not going to grab you in anything like the same way.

Especially not initially. You get in and the seats are flat, lacking bolstering and support. The driving position is good, more reached out than sit-up-and-beg, so at least it doesn’t feel like a school-run bus, and that dipping roofline and darkened rear cabin limits visibility out the back – more coupe-ish. So, not Mustang-like.

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OK, but as an electric car?

That’s the better question, and the answer is it's as simple to operate as any other electric car. Twist the PRND gearknob (ignore the L button, it’s meant to mimic Low Gear, but merely increases regen braking on steep slopes), turn the steering and away you go. At low speeds it’s not the most sophisticated riding car. No air springs or adaptive dampers here (except, that is, on the GT version), and the big wheels thump along rough surfaces. You only really notice this because there’s little else to draw your attention. Unlike the Tesla Model X for instance, the bodyshell is free from creaks, the Mach-E feels robust, steers cleanly and predictably.

What’s it like at higher speeds?

Pick up speed and the ride evens out. Ford’s decision to equip the Mach-E with high-profile tyres means there’s plenty of cushioning in the sidewall, and on the whole the Mach-E rides with reasonable dexterity. It’s a bit springy at the rear if we’re being picky, and not exactly soft, but then it needs to be taut enough to maintain control through corners and to give at least a passing nod to the Mustang badge.

And that means the handling has a little bit of an edge to it. There’s no steering feel whatsoever, but that passive suspension does a reasonable job of not only communicating what’s happening at road level, but also supporting the car through corners. The Mach-E doesn’t heave over and give up, it actually keeps itself level and in control.

Just don’t go in too hard. Those high-profile tyres do nothing for front end bite and precision. Coming out the other side however… stand on the power and, in the 4WD version at least, more torque arrives at the rear wheels, so you exit quickly and neutrally.

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Any go-faster driving modes?

Active, Whisper and Untamed are your choices, or Normal, Eco and Sport to you and I. They don’t fundamentally change the handling, ride or power at all, but instead electronically adjust the throttle, brakes, sound generator, steering and – we kid you not – interior ambient lighting.

So Whisper, although no quieter than any other mode, means the pedals need more of a push before anything happens, the steering is lighter, the ‘Propulsion Sound’ – if you choose to have it on – is quieter. The issue here is that the integration of the brakes isn’t perfect. Initially you don’t get much, then a sudden bite. Switch on the ‘one-pedal’ mode for extra regen and once you get used to it, you’ll probably make smoother progress.

Have it in Untamed mode for the sharper throttle and you’ll also enjoy the sound of… well, Ford says it was inspired by ‘80s sci-fi cinema’. We say it sounds more like a rather plain, humming V6. It’s quite internal combustion-y.

Feasible as your next family run-around, though?

Definitely. Even in base spec, for everyday driving you don’t need a faster crossover than this (hold that thought). The chassis can cope with the power, but it’s well balanced, enough to make things interesting. There’s not a great deal in it for power-to-weight ratios between the entry-level version (127bhp/tonne) and the more potent AWD version (150bhp/tonne) – the former offers a hint more agility, but that’s about it.

It’s not a thrill-a-minute, but there’s definitely more to the Mach-E experience than there is to most other electric crossovers, including the Tesla Model X, Audi e-tron and Merc EQC. The Polestar 2 is sharper, but less forgiving; the Jaguar I-Pace is the one that has similar approach to comfort and control and delivers some interest for the driver, involves them in the process. Ford has done a good job with the Mach-E.

But if I insist on having a Fast Ford, will I like the GT?

It’s more handsome: the (fake) front grille, 10mm lower ride height, 20-inch rims on wider tyres and implied diffuser gel rather nicely on the Mach-E GT. We would humbly recommend Cyber Orange and the improbably named Grabber Blue as two of the best car colours on the market today, and they’re exclusive to the GT. 

But the drive? Hmmm. There’s a current (no pun intended) truism that there’s not a single EV on sale right now which is best enjoyed as the fastest one. A Tesla Model 3 Long Range makes more sense than the Performance. A Taycan RWD > Taycan Turbo S. And the same rings true here. 

The GT is hugely fast, thanks to 480bhp, and it rides with more composure and control than the standard car thanks to magne-ride adaptive dampers. But there’s no satisfaction, no sensation, and precious little handling reward for upgrading to the quickest one, and the rest of the time you’ve got 10 per cent less range than an Extended Range AWD, while paying £10,000 more. 

£65,000 is a lot of money for a Ford, even if there’s isn’t a single blue oval badge on the entire car. The range-topping GT feels like an old-skool approach to a new-school kind of car. 

Highlights from the range

the fastest

Ford Mustang Mach-E 358kW GT 91kWh AWD 5dr Auto [Pan Roof]
  • 0-624.4s
  • CO2
  • BHP487
  • MPG
  • Price£ 67,220

the cheapest

Ford Mustang Mach-E 190kW Standard Range 75kWh RWD 5dr Auto
  • 0-626.9s
  • CO2
  • BHP269
  • MPG
  • Price£ 41,275
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