After quite a long wait, Ford has finally revealed their Mach-E, which serves as simultaneously as the American automaker’s first all-new standalone fully electric vehicle and the most unconventional offshoot the Mustang brand.
Positioned as a car that represents Ford’s future technologies while retaining the sporty spirit of the car from which it takes its name, the Mach-E is a curious entrant as a five-door SUV or crossover mostly because of its form factor.
That said, its body style might be purely a result of prevailing market trends, and the fact is that most people buy SUVs instead of sedans or hatchbacks - logical or otherwise. On looks, the EV does borrow a fair few visual cues to the S550 Mustang.
Its nose is given a fake grille that resembles the muscle car’s hexagonal maw and are flanked by appropriately familiar headlights ahead of a long bonnet despite not having an engine. At the rear, too, we find the trio of illuminators on each side and the roofline is angled so as to plant associations to the Mustang Fastback. However, that’s where the design similarities end.
Move past all Ford’s attempts to tug at its pony car heyday and the heartstrings they’re attached to, it’s clear that the Mach-E is much more a harbinger of their forthcoming EV line-up and an answer to new rivals such as the Tesla Model Y than it is a spiritual sibling to today’s Mustang.
Observed in isolation, the Mexico-built Mach-E is actually quite impressive with all the knowhow going into its tech and development being a from-scratch product of a 70 person team made up of Ford’s best and brightest.
Everything from the platform to the batteries and control system were a ground-up effort of cutting edge methods. And while it’s rather difficult to ascertain the extent of their efforts, especially when contrasted against other EVs, Ford does anticipate the Mach-E being a volume seller and a clear statement about their direction.
The company is accepting pre-orders now attached to a US$500 deposit with a full configurator already live. Deliveries are slated to start in late 2020 with the First Edition available with standard (75kWh) or extended range (99kWh) battery options powering rear-wheel (single motor) or all-wheel drive (dual) electric motor configurations.
Each variant is said to offer over 480km in range according to the EPA’s testing cycle. In its all-wheel drive extended range guise, Ford quotes 247kW and 565Nm of combined power for an estimated 0-100km/h time quicker than an entry-level Porsche Macan (6.5 seconds).
Later on in Q2 2021, Ford will roll out the even more powerful GT and GT Performance Edition which will offer up a considerably more stout 342kW and 830Nm from dual electric motors, capable of a mid-3-second century spirit time comparable to a Porsche 911 GTS. Evidently, Ford is doing plenty of benchmarking against the Zuffenhausen manufacturer for some reason.
Additionally, the GT and GT Performance receive other goodies such as uprated Brembo brakes and a more aggressive suspension setup, though the latter is the only one to receive MagnaRide adaptive dampers. Keen on emphasising that the Mach-E is an “EV with soul”, each will have three drive modes - Whisper, Engage, Unbridled - which each altering drive dynamics and other aspects of the sensory experience.
With it adopting the Mustang name, Ford acknowledges that an exhilarating drive is what buyers will expect. With a top speed limited to 178km/h, it will all be about how the Mach-E feels underneath and through the bends, which can be a difficult area for EVs to compete on next to combustion-powered cars.
The cabin, which is accessible via the funky automatically extending door handles, is perhaps the most radical changes to the ‘Mustang’ formula are found. Instead of a refreshingly retro style, the Mach-E does away with nearly everything staple of the standard car dashboard and replaces it with a large portrait screen measuring 15.5-inch touchscreen with Ford’s newest SYNC 4 infotainment system.
The long rectangular secondary driver’s display looks minuscule through the steering wheel and does away with a binnacle of any kind, and beyond that there’s very little in the way of switchgear or controls with the only notable exception being the SYNC rotary dial just north of the central armrest.
Seats and trimmings are mostly black leather with red contrast stitching, but everything is kept relatively plain and a little dull, which is perhaps why it’s worth specifying the panoramic glass roof (standard on all First Edition variants). That does eat away at headroom slightly, but doesn’t spoil the Mach-E’s practicality with the rear boot measured at 402-litres. There’s also a 100-litre waterproof front boot.
Apparently there are no plans as yet to introduce Ford’s new all-electric Mustang SUV to the Australian market.