It’s been over four years since we first found out Ford was slapping the ‘Mustang’ name on an electric SUV, and I’m pretty sure the only people who still care are diehard fans who’ve conveniently forgotten about clunkers like the Mustang II with its 88bhp inline-four. A hallowed name badge it hasn’t always been.
Anyway, the rest of us are perfectly used to the idea of a ‘Mustang Mach-E’ by now, and even appreciate the fact you can get a really, really fast one. That’s the Mach-E GT, and it's comfortably more powerful and quicker off the line than the car’s V8-powered partial namesake.
It even looks good, with fancy wheels (a GT-specific 20-inch set) and a new body kit giving a seemingly more squat stance, despite the fact the ride height hasn’t changed. Granted, it remains a bit dumpy at the rear, but it’s a reasonably handsome thing overall, especially in Grabber Blue as tested here. Cyber Orange is striking, too, although either way you will need to pay £1150 for the privilege. Ouch.
Inside there’s the same giant 15.5-inch portrait touchscreen infotainment system dominating an otherwise minimalistic cabin, but for the GT, there’s a new option within it - Untamed Plus - a mode intended for track use.
The GT makeover goes beyond this and the tweaked looks, though, as there’s also an extra motor for the front axle, bringing the total power output to 470bhp, which in the days of a near-1,000bhp Porsche Taycan seems quite modest for an EV. The torque figure is probably more important, though, and that’s a whopping 634lb ft.
You also get adaptive dampers, and much larger brakes from Brembo - these ones measure 19 inches in diameter at the front. This isn’t a light car by any means, so that’s good news.
Mash your foot towards the carpet on the more exciting of the two pedals, and there’s a very slight pause before the dual-motor powertrain before the Mach-E GT launches forward with enthusiasm. It certainly doesn’t need any more power. Some sort of feedback noise might be nice, though. It’s become all the rage (BMW even drafted in a film score composer to make the ‘IconicSounds’ of its hybrids and EVs), but all you get here is some extra exterior noise to puzzle onlookers.
Anyway, a rapid building of speed is dramatic enough on its own. And happily, the Mach-E GT is more than just a straight-line weapon. There’s a sharp turn in that shrugs off the GT’s sheer bulk, which is a considerable 2.3 tonnes. The steering is light and fast, and mid-corner, if you get a bit greedy with the throttle, the back end will step out. Potentially quite far.
The biggest surprise of the GT is just how wild it can be, particularly if the road conditions aren’t perfect. Even with the electronic aids turned fully on, the GT loves to rotate but is always easy to correct and half the time, it does all the hard work for you. It’s unnerving the first couple of occasions, as when the car starts to move around on its axis you start to feel its sheer mass. But once you get used to it, the GT can be tremendous fun.
It’s not the most engaging of driving experiences, though, and as with so many fast EVs, the novelty of near-instant torque deliveries and rabid performance wanes, replaced with a yearning for the character of an internal combustion engine. But to be fair to the Mach-E, no fast EV has managed to properly answer this so far.
Another common trait it possesses is firm damping, no doubt deemed necessary to keep that heavy body better tied down. It does a good job of that, with a noticeable lack of significant roll during hard cornering, but the byproduct of this is a busy ride which never properly settles, regardless of the driving mode (Active, Whisper, Untamed and Untamed Plus) you’re in.
Another annoyance is the enormous screen. It seems a strange decision not to angle it towards the driver, but perhaps that’s a good thing, as good lord it can be dazzlingly bright, and it doesn’t make the task of turning the brightness down particularly easy.
There is generally a lot going on, and it’s not as intuitive as some of the other enormo-screens out there in cars now. You do, at least, get permanently displayed climate controls at the bottom, and a physical (not to mention rather big) rotary volume control.
The cabin is a pleasant space otherwise, and as with most EVs built with bespoke architecture, it feels airy, with a pretty much flat floor. The fabric-trimmed dashboard is a nice touch, too.
Being an EV review, we need to talk about efficiency, and as far as the GT goes, it gets a mediocre report card. Its 91kWh battery pack provides an official range of up to 304 miles, a hefty drop on the 372 offered by a standard, single-motor Mach-E.
About 250 would be a best-case scenario, and judging by our struggles to get the car beyond three miles per kWh, 230 or so is a more realistic bet. Topping it up is quick enough with the right kind of charger in ideal conditions, with a 150kW capacity making it possible to take the battery from 10 to 80 per cent in 45 minutes.
The price for all this is currently £65,830, which is a lot, but not exactly unheard of for a fast electric car. In any case, Ford seems happy to slash thousands off the price of existing stock for those buying outright rather than the more common route of getting one as a cheap company car thanks to a mere two per cent BiK figure.
So far, so performance EV, but the Mach-E GT is certainly further towards the more entertaining end of the spectrum, and thus it gets a nod of respect from us. And no, I’m really not bothered by the use of the name.