In April 1964, Ford introduced us to a somewhat revolutionary concept — a fun, affordable great looking car with the perfect name, that had enough performance to make it exhilarating even on the most mundane of commutes. Sure, the Mustang wasn’t much more than a dolled up amalgamation of a Fairlane and Falcon, but with a bit of good marketing, the original Pony Car was off to the races.
Since that time we’ve seen six generations of the Mustang, and with almost every generation the new model significantly outpaced its predecessor. But over the years Ford has tried to get a little cute with the Mustang namesake and fueled by what we can only assume is a bit of management hubris, have tried to slap the Mustang logo on a few lesser models like the ill-fated Mustang II, which aside from the name, had no business wearing the legendary moniker. And that brings us to the Mustang Mach-E.
In its own right, the Mach-E isn’t a bad electric car. Powered by 2 permanent-magnet synchronous AC motors that combine to make an impressive 346-horsepower and 428 pound-feet of torque. That instant power is then funneled through a direct-drive single speed transmission on its way to either just the rear wheels or to all four corners to help the Mach-E scoot with aplomb. Large 14.3-inch front disc brakes and 12.4-inch rear disc brakes slow things down shod in Michelin Primacy A/S 225/55R-19 rubber. The standard battery is a 68.0-kWh that allows for 211 miles of range in all-wheel drive motif or a bit higher 230 miles for the rear wheel drive version. The Ford battery can charge from 10 to 80 percent in 45 minutes while a mere ten minutes can add 52 miles of driving distance using a DC fast charger.
As with most electric cars, the Mustang Mach-E is heavy. In the world of Mustangs, the heaviest to date was the recent 2020 GT500, which weighed in at just about 4000 pounds. Coincidentally, the Mustang Mach-E checks in at just about a wild horse more than even the heaviest gasoline powered pony at an obese 4856 pounds. Sure, there is 30 cubic feet of storage space, and another five cubic feet of usable space up front where the engine used to reside.
In terms of performance, even with all that heft, one of the perks of an electric motor is that 100 percent of torque is available at one single RPM, so there is no waiting around for power to spool up. 0-60 mph comes up in a respectable 5.1 seconds, while 0-100 mph takes 13.5 seconds. The quarter mile comes and goes in 13.8 seconds at 101 mph, on its way to a top speed of a governor limited 114 mph. Braking from 70-0 mph takes 165 feet, while the Mustang Mach-E hustles around the skidpad to the tune of 0.85g. Fuel economy is always a little goofy when converting to electric, but the Mach-E checks in at an impressive, if not mind-blowing 96/84/90 city/highway/combined MPGe with an upper range of 270 miles.
Inside the Mach-E resembles most electric cars, with a monstrous 15.5-inch center-mounted touchscreen as the centerpiece of the interior, while another digital speedometer screen sits front and center of the driver for more immediate info. The seats are comfortable enough, but the fit and finish still feels a little lacking. It’s probably not a coincidence that that infotainment screen is just about half an inch bigger than the one found in the Tesla Model Y.
From the outside, we can see vestigial markers of our beloved Pony Car. The head and taillights are almost pulled directly from the Mustang, and in terms of overall size, the Mach-E is surprisingly similar to the gas powered 5.0. The Mach-E’s wheel base is about three inches longer, while the biggest difference is that the electric version is ten full inches taller than its low-slung sibling. And this is where we start to have a problem with this so-called Mustang. If the GT350, with its fantasy-inducing flat-plane crank and intoxicating exhaust note is akin to a ripped, incredibly powerful NFL player in the prime of his career, the Mach-E looks like the GT350’s dad wearing his son’s jersey. If the term “dad-bod” has any usage in the automotive world, this is it.
And therein lies the inherent problem we have with the Mach-E. It’s just simply not a Mustang. Even at a reasonable $56,200, this four-door, five passenger car is more like a Focus crossover wearing a Mustang jersey. Why Ford why? Even if you just stuck with Mach-E and left the Mustang logo out of it, the association would be there, but in a much less offensive fashion. Or how about calling it the Stallion? Or Pegasus? Or Steed? Or Thoroughbred? You can have the idea there, but tacking on the Mustang name to a car that has no business wearing it only serves to undermine any success this car could have had with its own name. Even with the promise of the upcoming GT Performance Edition that Ford claims will have 480-horsepower and be able to run from 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, the Mach-E just can’t live up to the heroic lineage its badge carries. Please Ford, change the name and we promise we will look much more lovingly at a new era of Blue Oval automobiles instead of seeing nothing but an imposter wearing a hero’s badge.
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