Not Sparing The Horses: The 2021 Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition
Updated: Apr 1, 2022
The headline is a reference to a phrase attributed to Queen Victoria of England---"Home, James, and don't spare the horses"---which she may or may not have said, but my grandmother, an Englishwoman born in 1890, absolutely did. Loosely translated, it means "get me there fast and I don't care what happens to your fuel economy, your engine, your future as a licensed driver..." or---in Her Royal Majesty the Queen of England's case---literally, your horses. They can die for all she cares. Y'know, if she actually said that.
That's pretty much the story with the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition, also known as "the one we've all been waiting for". "We" meaning "those of us who might accept an electric SUV Mustang but think anything wearing the Mustang badge must be blindingly fast and 4.8 seconds to 60 (like the MachE Premium I reviewed a year ago) just won't cut it.
The GT Performance Edition is all-wheel drive, has a 91kWh battery and a peak power output of 358 kW (480 horsepower---equivalent to the Mustang Bullitt I reviewed a year and a half ago), a big jump from the 216 kW (290 horsepower) of the Premium with the extended range battery. Zero to 60 plummets to 3.5 seconds.
But so does range---from 303 miles on a charge to 260. Which, yeah...sure. It takes energy to go fast, and that's fine. If 260 were really 260.
(Yes, I know, you can't see the motor. That's a frunk.)
Ford does not recommend charging the Mach-E above 80%, so that's how it was delivered to me. That should be a range of 208 miles. But on delivery, the range showing was 180. I've mentioned before that I treat EVs like I do ICEs. The final 25% (gasoline, diesel, electrons) never leave the tank. So, I'd need to charge after 162 miles of driving.
That's me, and your mileage or MPGe may vary, but I now had a car with a theoretical 260-mile range that I needed to charge 98 miles sooner than that. And that's if everything stayed stable.
My first thought was that the range would improve---that the delivery drivers might have given in to the totally understandable urge to let the Mach-E GT Performance Edition fly. I tend, especially in EVs, to try to maximize economy. So, very likely, I'd do better.
The range showed miles traveled at a rate higher than the odometer. I'd need to recharge earlier. And when I did---80% charge meant a range of 168 miles. 12 fewer than the last time. A full 40 miles less than what 80% charge should show.
And I swear---I was not hooning this thing. Yeah, I floored it a couple of times just to see the difference, but does that really equate to losing 40 miles of normal driving? Let's come back to that in a minute, okay?
The base price of the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT AWD is $59,900. Standard at that price, dual-zone automatic climate control, 8-way powered and heated front seats with driver-side memory, a ten-speaker B&O sound system, wireless charging and a bunch more.
Not a lot of options on our test car---$400 for the Rapid Red metallic tinted clear coat paint, $5,000 for the GT Performance Edition (20-inch aluminum wheels with black-painted pockets, Ford Performance front seats and the Magneride damping system), $1,300 for a panoramic fixed-glass roof and $1,900 for Ford Co-Pilot 360 Active 2.0, a safety suite with pretty much everything you can get in terms of accident avoidance. With $1,100 destination and delivery, the total as-tested price was $69,600.
Let's come back to range and charge. I did the photography right after my second time at the DC fast charger in my neighborhood. I drove less than a mile to get there. At 79% charge, my range was 146. Worse than the 168 from my first charge, way worse than the 180 at delivery. And in between the first and second charges, I was babying it---actively trying to move the needle.
So---16 grand more than last year's Mach-E Premium to go to 60 1.3 seconds quicker (that's literally saying "oneonethousandoneoneone"), go an estimated 43 miles fewer on a charge (but in our experience, more like 95 fewer miles on a charge (80% of 303 is 242.4 and my second charge in the GT Performance Edition got me 147) and spend a lot more time and money at charging stations? Electric vehicles are ALL fast to 60. And beyond that, well, ask your insurance agent what the sliding scale is for points on your driver license. That's why the great performance cars I drive, love and review here have more than just brute power going for them. The Mach-E is a vehicle I like. It makes sense to me. I'd buy the Premium Edition with the extended-range battery. This will fall on far too many deaf ears, but if the only way we adopt EVs is to make them as wasteful as possible, we're doing it wrong.
I know---"Skip it, Mike. It's America." (Another old reference. Stream "Chinatown")