Ford has revealed the Mustang Mach-E, an electric SUV with up to 300 miles of range, a 15.5-in touchscreen display, and with prices starting from $43,895.
The Mach-E is also the first time in its 55-year history that the Mustang name has been given to anything other than the iconic muscle car - a move we have no doubt will cause a stir among the brand's die-hand fans.
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On first seeing the Mach-E, its DNA is obvious thanks to Mustang-style front and rear lights, and a roofline which tricks the eye into thinking the car is lower and sleeker than it really is. The top-of-the-range GT model also gets an aggressive front end reminiscent of the Ford Focus RS.
Prices start at just under $45,000 for the entry-level Select model, and rise to $60,500 for the flagship GT, before the $7,500 federal EV tax credit. Range is up to 300 miles using the US EPA test cycle, or 370 miles using the WLTP standard, putting it just slightly behind the Tesla Model S Long Range, but ahead of the Model Y which it is closer to in terms of size and price.
The range-topping Mach-E GTGearBrain
Ford isn't just launching a single version of Mach-E to test the water, as Jaguar did with its I-Pace. Instead, the Mustang SUV can be bought with one motor or two (meaning rear- or all-wheel-drive), a 75kWh or 99 kWh battery pack, and in a range of trims and configurations. There's a limited-run First Edition, and the range-topping GT and GT Performance models will arrive later, likely in 2021.
Power output for the regular model range from 190 kW to 248 kW (258 to 337 metric horsepower), while the GT gets an uprated front motor to bring total power to 342 kW, which is 465 metric horsepower.
Although journalists are yet to drive the Mach-E, we have had a chance to ride as passengers and have a close look at it ahead of the launch in Los Angeles on Sunday night. As mundane as it may sound, the first detail to note are the door handles, which don't move at the front and are missing entirely at the back.
Instead, each of the four doors has a circular button. Press this and the doors spring open by a couple of inches; the front then have a small handle to pull, while the rear doors are opened by sliding your hand inside and pulling. A mechanism prevents the doors from slamming closed on your fingers until they have been fully opened first.
Instead of using a key fob, the Mach-E can be unlocked by tapping a PIN into an illuminated keypad on the B pillar between the front and rear doors on the driver's side. You can then enter a second PIN on the dashboard touch screen to start the car - handy if your phone, which also acts as the key, runs out of battery.
Once inside and sat behind the wheel of the Mustang Mach-E, you are greeted by an all-new interior unlike any Ford to date. Behind the wheel sits an all-digital instrument display which has been stripped back to the basics of speed, range, battery charge, gear and simple navigation instructions.
The interior features a 15.5-inch touch screen.GearBrain
Everything else is shown on a large 15.5-inch portrait touchscreen display on the center console. This display runs a new version of Ford's Sync infotainment system and features a little more polish than previous iterations. Similar to the screen of a Tesla, the Mustang Mach-E's climate controls are a permanent fixture at the bottom of the display, while the top third is home to the app you are currently using, such as music or navigation.
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We can't comment on the performance of the system just yet, as the cars we saw were pre-production and the first deliveries won't arrive until late-2020. But for now we can say that the screen does not have haptic technology, but feels like a better approach than the display Volkswagen has fitted to the ID.3. It all feels a little more grown-up in the Ford.
As Jaguar Land Rover does with its central display, Ford has stuck a physical, rotating volume dial to the Mach-E's screen. This only controls the volume, but gives the driver and front passenger a quick, simple and universally familiar way to adjust the sound.
There is no option for a heads-up display, as Ford says the location of the digital instrument cluster behind the wheel keeps the driver's eyes sufficiently close to the road.
Elsewhere in the interior, the Mustang Mach-E features LED mood lighting which adjusts based on which of the three driving modes - called Whisper, Engage and Unbridled - is selected. Each of these also affects the sound the car produces through its optional 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system.
Mustang detailing is found in the front and rear lightsGearBrain
Ford says this soundtrack has been produced to remind drivers of the V8 rumble of a proper Mustang, but with its own digital, sci-fi character. The company says it benchmarked Formula E cars, vehicles from Blade Runner, and the Christian Bale-era Batmobile to work out what best suited the Mach-E.
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During our brief passenger ride we felt the sound was quite subtle, and much quieter (at least from the back seat) than that of the Porsche Taycan (not to mention the rumble of a V8). The sound can be switched off if the driver prefers, although an external noise to warn pedestrians, now a legal requirement in the US and Europe, cannot be switched off.
The ride also demonstrated how nimble the Ford is for an SUV, but that shouldn't come as a surprise given the car has over half a ton of battery cells in its floor, lowering the center of gravity and reducing roll in the corners.
The Mustang Mach-E has a range of up to 300 milesFord
We timed the car to 60 mph at a little over five seconds, which is comfortably below Ford's modest claim of "less than seven" for the dual-motor, all-wheel-drive versions of the Mach-E. The range-topping GT Performance model will hit 60mph in the mid-threes, which matches the Ferrari Portofino, Ford says. Top speed for all models is a modest 111mph.
Ford isn't building any of its own charging stations, but with its new FordPass Charging Network will give drivers access to over 100,000 chargers worldwide and over 12,000 charge stations across the US. Just like Porsche, this works because FordPass grants access to chargers provided by a wide range of charging companies. Ford claims its FordPass network gives drivers access to more chargers than any other car maker to date.
Ford only spoke briefly about autonomy with the Mach-E, and says the car will receive the ability to drive "hands-free" on the highway via an over-the-air software update after deliveries begin late next year.
The Mach-E is priced from $43,895 in the US and the first deliveries are expected to arrive in late 2020. A configurator is available on Ford's website now, and orders can be placed with a $500 deposit.