Ford is explicit: from 2030, it will only produce electric cars. Until then, it’s up to the Mustang Mach-E to show off its skills. The goal? Convince as many people as possible to switch to this mode of propulsion by relying on a mythical name.
Will the Mustang Mach-E be a stroke of genius or the marketing flop of the century? Only time will tell. What is certain is that Ford’s decision to use the Mustang name as the banner of its electric offensive has sparked controversy. Some see it as a vulgar commercial gimmick, while others see it as a logical move. After all, isn’t the Mustang the most powerful name in the lineup in decades? Especially since the days of the thermal version of the legendary “pony car” now seem to be numbered: in the near future, it will also have to switch to electricity, forced or otherwise! So why not prepare the ground with a crossover of the same name? Coincidence or not, the base version of this Mustang Mach-E is priced at the same level (48,000 euros) as the entry-level Mustang Fastback…
WELCOME ABOARD THE MACH-E
Let’s start with an important clarification: the interior that can be seen in the pictures does not belong to the base version, but to the model that currently holds the role of top of the range. This Mach-E has 4-wheel drive and a large 99 kWh battery. The price? From 64,425 euros. Add a bright color and the Technology Plus package and your Mach-E will be similar to our test car with, among other things, black (faux) leather seats with micro perforations and red stitching. The base versions have the same seats, but without the perforations and colored stitching. The dashboard of our test car was further distinguished by an optional B&O “sound bar”, which stretches across the entire width and gives the interior an extra touch. As for the rest, “what you see is really what you get”, as they say in the States. Ford has indeed limited the customization possibilities to the strict minimum in order to accelerate the marketing of its 100% electric model. As is the current trend, your smartphone can also be used as the ignition key. But what if your phone is out of charge or – even worse – lost? Then you have to act on the digital keypad at the B-pillar to open the door, then use another code on the HD screen. Ford has deliberately chosen to deliver the Mach-E without a spare key, in order to stimulate smartphone-based car sharing. Once you’re settled in, you’ll find rather mundane front seats that don’t look particularly upscale. But the steering wheel the leather-wrapped steering wheel fits comfortably in the hand. The steering column adjustment range is not as large as in other Fords, which forces you to adopt an outstretched arms position. This is very Mustang-like, but not really European, anyway.
“THE FIRST THING THAT STRIKES YOU WHEN YOU GET ON BOARD IS THE 15.5″ FULL HD TOUCH SCREEN: THE TESLA INSPIRATION IS EVIDENT HERE…”
The car makes no secret of its origins: it was indeed designed and built on the other side of the Atlantic, although the on-board electronics were adapted to the old European market. As is usually the case with US cars, the space on board is more than sufficient, whether it’s is more than sufficient, both in the front and in the back. Even for adults and even with the large panoramic roof of the Technology Package. As with Tesla, this “skylight” has been As with Tesla, this “skylight” has been designed not to jeopardize headroom, while a special lining has been provided to keep the cabin cool in summer and warm in winter. As for the bench seat, about which there is usually not much to say, it should be noted that its backrest is rather hard, as if a metal plate had been mounted behind the (thin) cushions. And the same applies to the front seat backs…
And then there is the choice of plastics inside: in some places, their quality betrays an obvious concern for economy, which is not so frequent in the current electric car production. The luggage compartment, on the other hand, has a capacity of 402 liters under the dashboard.
(1,420 liters with the bench seat folded down). As for the front trunk, which is now called “frunk” – a contraction of the words “front” and “trunk” -, it has a useful volume of 81 liters in its com- pared MegaBox, but above all it is water-resistant, like the one already known on the Puma.
The first thing that strikes you when you get in is the 15.5″ full HD touch screen: the Tesla inspiration is obvious here. In addition to this vertical screen, the 4th generation of Ford Sync infotainment also makes its appearance, with over 80 settings available. Apart from the steering wheel controls, there are hardly any physical buttons in the cabin, which is partly compensated for by the voice recognition, which is standard. Those who don’t use this solution – admittedly the vast majority of drivers – will have to “dive” into the screen for every command, which will certainly lead to distraction in the first few weeks. That’s why Ford offers the option of setting up a personal profile when you order, so that your car is delivered to you with your preferred music, navigation and climate settings already set. Delivery can be made to your home if you wish, but it will cost you 399 euros.
As with most EVs, the climate control must be every time, you have to explicitly activate the air-conditioning after the start-up to obtain the desired temperature. So it’s not enough to use the (rather impractical…) sliders in the lower corners of the screen or to set the climate control to “Auto”. No, Ford has chosen to place some of the climate control functions on the “home page” and to hide others – like the on/off button for example – in a sub-menu. Following the same logic, some infotainment functions are accessible via the central button on the menu at the top of the screen, while other car settings must be adjusted by selecting the “car” icon in the upper left corner. Wouldn’t it have been simpler and more user-friendly to have a row of shortcuts at the top of the screen for important functions like telephony, navigation, media and climate control? The simplest solutions are often the best, as evidenced by the big “physical” volume control button under the center screen. Granted, a Mach-E owner will only configure all these settings once. But as a casual user (or tester…), things are obviously different. Because of the privileged role Ford has chosen to make your smartphone play, with the “over- the-air” updates, it is for example not possible to quickly download an application or digitally transmit certain automatic functions (like departure time or destination). In effect, your phone and the associated Ford account are linked to the car’s “brain” from the start, even before your Mustang Mach-E drops off the line. It remains to be seen what this will mean if you buy a new phone or make other such changes. That’s why we couldn’t explore all the possibilities of the Sync4 system: the digital key of this car had already been The digital key for this car had already been given to the German Ford Europe employee who ordered and configured the car. The creation of a separate driver profile without “remote control” is of course possible for third parties. In terms of its architecture, the Mustang Mach-E is based on a specific EV platform with a lithium-ion battery housed under the floor.
For the Standard Range, the battery has 288 cells with a nominal capacity of 76 kWh (68 kWh usable). For the Extended Range, there are 376 cells, for a total of 99 kWh (88 kWh usable). With a single electric motor on the rear axle, this gives a WLTP range of 440 km for the Standard Range and 610 km for the Extended Range. The Mustang Mach-E propulsion develops 269 hp with the “small” battery and 294 hp with the larger one, while the torque is identical in both cases: 430 Nm. If you add a second electric motor on the front axle, the range drops to 400 km for the Standard Range and 540 km for the Extended Range. In exchange, you get an extra 150 Nm of torque and, in the case of the Extended Range, an extra 57 hp (351 in total). The “small” battery version, despite this extra power, only develops 269 hp…
In this test we drove the variant that is (for the time being at least) the most powerful, namely the Extended Range AWD. Despite its weight of 2.2 tons, it claims a 0 to 100 km/h time of 5.1 seconds and can reach a top speed of 180 km/h, while its fuel consumption average (WLTP) is 18.7 kWh/100 km. The theoretical range of 540 km is due to the fact that the official range is calculated on the basis of the nominal battery capacity and not on the basis of the actual usable capacity. In practice, the range will therefore be less. We’ll come back to this later. In terms of recharging, the maximum power of the internal charger is 11 kW, whereas
On a fast DC charging station, the charging power can reach 115 kW in the case of the rear-wheel drive version and even 150 kW in the case of the AWD model. Buyers also get one year’s free access to the Ionity fast charging network, which is expected to have some 400 charging points in Europe by the end of 2021.
ON THE ROAD
Does the behavior of this Mustang Mach-E, which is based on MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link axle at the rear, honor the Mustang badge? A detail that speaks volumes: the shocks are passive on all
Mach-E. Only the GT version with 487 hp and 860 Nm, which is scheduled for the end of the year, will be equipped with adaptive dampers, due to its strong sporting character. Despite their high power output, the other Mach-Es should be considered as ST-Line rather than as true ST. This somewhat tempers expectations of sportiness… Of course, the AWD version is never short of horsepower (or rather kW), and big accelerations in a swampy silence are on the agenda. The two electric motors – one on each axle – ensure flawless traction, especially since the larger rear motor does most of the work.
“400 REAL KILOMETERS IS A MORE THAN APPRECIABLE RADIUS OF ACTION AND PROVIDES SUFFICIENT PEACE OF MIND…”
To get all this power to the ground, Ford relies on Continental tires of an unusual size: 225/55 R19. On the base version, the sidewall tires are a little higher (60 mm), which compensates for the absence of more sophisticated shock absorbers. As for the front suspension, the American engineers did a pretty good job: once you get going, the Mach-E is quite comfortable, while remaining rigorous in curves. The rear axle, on the other hand, is a different story: it’s quite bouncy, which affects the ride. When you pick up the pace, the pronounced steering feedback doesn’t manage to mask the lack of feedback, which doesn’t prevent the electric Mustang from being able to pass quickly in corners. From time to time, there is some oversteer, although it’s always hard to tell when it will or won’t happen with all the on-board electronics, which quickly curb the phenomenon anyway. Overall, the results are positive, but with a downside: up to about 75% of its capacity, the Mustang Mach-E is dynamic and pleasant to drive, but beyond that, it lacks linearity in its reactions. The regenerative braking function suffers from the same lack of progressiveness: it can be activated or deactivated, but is not adjustable. When activated, the deceleration is the most energetic we’ve seen. never observed and the Mach-E stops much faster than expected. When it is deactivated, however, the brake pedal is not easy to control. The braking of EVs is and remains one of the most difficult parameters to master, especially when it comes to obtaining sufficient deceleration to stop 2.2 tons… To keep busy behind the wheel, the driver can choose between three driving modes: Active, Whisper and Untamed. Active mode (default) offers a good balance between performance and range. Whisper mode is a little less dynamic, but a little less dynamic, but certainly not quieter than the others, while the sportier the Untamed mode, more sporty, produces a sound a little too artificial, diffused by the audio system. The more you “climb” in the modes, the more the modes, the more lively the throttle response becomes and the steering becomes more consistent. In Untamed, it is possible to make the rear wheels drift a bit, especially In Untamed, it is possible to make the rear wheels drift a bit, especially if the ESP is (partially) deactivated. In this case, beware because the front axle can suddenly “drive” and drag the car, like a stretched rubber band. It is therefore preferable to try the operation on a wet or slippery surface, so as to clearly see how the two electric motors interact. This is because they are only connected to each other by electronics and not by a good old mechanical system!
When it comes to options, Ford has kept things simple, not only for itself but also for its customers, who benefit from a comprehensive standard equipment package that includes hands-free entry with push buttons instead of handles, a comprehensive alarm system and Level 2 semi-autonomous driving aids (lane departure assist). And let’s not forget the blind spot monitoring, which warns the driver of a possible approaching vehicle. LED headlights and 2 charging cables (one for home charging, the other for fast charging) complete the picture.
At the beginning of our test drive, the on-board computer of our AWD Extended Range indicated a range of just under 400 kilometers, an estimate based on all previous trips stored by the electronics. A quick re-set – which requires a good understanding of the various menus and sub-menus – brought this figure to 485 km, which is already closer to the 540 km announced. And finally, after a week of various trips, we found an average consumption of 22.1 kWh/100 km, which means that a full battery allows you to travel 400 km: the initial estimate provided by our test car was therefore correct! Yes, that’s 35% less than claimed by the manufacturer. But that’s the rule rather than the exception in cold weather, like the one we experienced during our test drive. There are better ways to get around, but there are also worse ways…
In any case, 400 km is a more than appreciable range and brings sufficient peace of mind. Direct competitors, such as the Volkswagen ID.4 and the Polestar 2, offer a range with a fairly similar layout, although prices are not easily comparable due to the differences existing battery and powertrain options. The Mach-E Standard Range AWD offers a theoretical range
of 400 km, which means 300 km in reality. That’s why a visit to a Ford dealership is recommended to compare the prices of the different versions, even if the Mach-E is only available online. Is Ford, like Volvo, preparing for a future where dealers will be responsible for maintenance once the range is fully electric?
By limiting the configuration possibilities and exporting 30,000 of the planned 50,000 Mustang Mach-Es to Europe each year, Ford hopes to make an immediate mark on the EV category and, of course, to drastically reduce its average CO2 emissions on the Old Continent. The Mustang Mach-E is well equipped to achieve this goal, thanks to its good price/equipment ratio, as well as its interior space and interesting range. The fact remains that, with a final bill that can flirt with 70,000 euros, it competes with products from premium brands that do better in terms of the choice of materials used and dynamic qualities. We don’t mean to say that this Mustang Mach-E drives poorly or lacks fun. On the contrary: for a non-thermal car, it has quite a lot of character, thanks to its primary electric motor on the rear axle. It’s just that since the first Mondeo in the 90’s, European Fords have been accustomed to first-rate driving qualities, which is not the case with the qualities, which is not quite the case here. And one has to wonder if this can be corrected with over-the-air updates…
Ford Mustang Mach-E, from 44 460 € – ford.com