I have a rather unique history with the Mustang Mach-E. After owning half a dozen petrol-powered Mustangs, I got a go in a 2021 Mach-E Premium and dubbed it “The Best All-Around Car I’ve Ever Driven“. It wasn’t long after that loan that I decided to buy one. I ended up with a Dark Matter Gray Premium that I found (sans-ADM) a couple of hours from home. So, when Ford offered to lend me another Premium, I passed; but when they countered with “how about a GT” I said “Yes, absolutely yes”. I spent a week with this pretty Star White GT and got to compare it directly to my Premium. Let’s get at it EV fans, or those who are just “EV curious”.
2021 Mach-E Overview
Yep, I’m reviewing a 2021 model year GT, it surprised me too considering I’m also reviewing 2023 MY cars. But, hey I certainly wasn’t going to turn them down. If you look at the Mach-E page for 2022, Ford notes that “Due to high demand, the current model year is no longer available for retail order. Limited inventory may be available at selected dealers”. For 2021, you could opt for one of five trim levels including Select, California Route 1, Premium, GT and First Edition.
You can read my previous review of the 2021 Premium to get more info on the full Mach-E lineup for 2021, but unless you’re used car shopping, you aren’t likely to find a new one on dealer lots considering how scarce the 2022 Mach-E is.
Have I considered selling mine? Absolutely.
Back to this GT tester, it starts at a hair under $60,000 and gets some upgrades over the Premium including:
- 20-inch wheels with wider 245/45R20 rubber
- Sport-tuned suspension
- Body-colored fenders
- Black grille and larger lower chin spoiler
- Sport front seats with microfiber upholstery inserts
It was optioned with $600 of Star White Metallic Tricoat paint, a panoramic roof ($1,300) and the Ford Co-Pilot360 system ($1,900). Out the door, without ADM, you’re looking at just under $65,000. Let’s dig deeper and see how that works out against the 2021 Mach-E Premium.
2021 Mach-E Inside & Out
Outside, the GT stands out from my Premium with some black accents and a larger, and admittedly much prettier, set of 20-inch wheels. Seriously, I love these wheels. Did the thought cross my mind that they may not notice if I swapped wheels? Yes, yes it did.
Overall though, the shape and dimensions are similar, the GT comes in at .5-inches lower. I still find the shape appealing, Ford did an admirable job blending the Mustang front and rear touches into a crossover body.
Inside, honestly other than the seats and some matching upholstery on the dash, it’s almost identical to my Premium Mach-E. The seats are more significantly bolstered, which I appreciated in tighter turning situations. Otherwise, it’s an identical experience from an ergonomic perspective.
You get the same 34.4 cu. ft. of cargo space in the back, and a drainable frunk up front. I made good use of both, shuttling my youngest to hockey practice and offering up some morning caffeine and water at the local Cars & Coffee (clam chowder was an option, shrimp, and queso too also, but out of budget). But, I want to focus on the driving experience, and how it compares to the significantly cheaper Premium.
Actual buying advice, I know, I’m surprised too.
2021 Mustang Mach-E GT On The Road
The GT has Ford’s extended-range battery and standard AWD good for an estimated 270 miles of range. Oh right, and it’s also got 480 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque. The Performance Edition for 2021 drops 10 miles of total range (260) and has identical horsepower, but a bit more torques (634 lb-ft, which is more than the latest GT500).
It isn’t just fast, you actually have to prepare yourself to use all that torque. At a stoplight, with a lot of runway and no cars in front of me, I had to make sure my head was against the headrest before flattening the accelerator. Unplanned acceleration runs will hurt your neck. Zero to 80 on the highway is startlingly quick, though it noticeably starts to slow down at that point. Our friends over at The Drive covered it back when the GT started hitting drag strips, basically the GT was tuned to be quicker off the line compared to at higher speeds. It’ll still do 12s in the quarter mile and hit sixty in just 3.8 seconds (3.5 in the Performance Edition) which is properly quick.
I was able to give a fellow enthusiast and friend Tyler his first electric vehicle ride, he said it literally made him recalibrate what “fast” felt like. Even though I drive a Mach-E, I was mildly nauseous after my first full tilt acceleration run in the GT.
2021 Mustang Mach-E GT vs. 2021 Mustang Mach-E Premium
Now, the moment you’ve all, perhaps, been waiting for. Is the GT worth the near $10,000 premium over the…well…Premium? On the interior, not really. Sitting in the driver’s seat, you’ll notice the embossed “GT” on the center console, and some upgraded upholstery on the dash, but that’s about it. The seats are better, but not drastically better. Not in the way the Recaro seats on a gas-powered Mustang GT are noticeably better than the regular leather seats from the Premium trim.
Dimensionally, it’s identical inside. You get 38.9 inches of front head room (plenty of room for a helmet), 41.7 inches of front leg room, 57.6 inches of front shoulder room, 38.3 inches of rear head room, 38.1 inches of rear leg room, and 55.9 inches of rear shoulder room. Those measurements are all within an inch or so of the 2021 Tesla Model Y (which does feature about 2-inches of additional rear leg room) while delivering a solid four cubic-feet of additional room in the hatch compared to the more-expensive Tesla.
It’s on the road that the $10,000 gets felt in full force. The acceleration is brutal but massively entertaining, all while managing to eke out almost 60 more miles on a full charge. That was a big perk, considering my parents, as well as my wife’s are just over 200 miles away. Our Premium will hit 211-220 when it’s warm out, leaving us no room for error on a weekend trip to visit. Add in the cooler exterior, and some cache with the GT badge, and I’d say that if you can afford $60K, the GT is definitley worth it. Our budget, at the time, was unfortunately $50K, and I’ll admit that I wish I had waited to get a GT. It’s spectacularly good.
So, the best all-around car I’ve driven has a better version. Oh, and just in case you’re curious about whether I am biased towards the Mach-E, just a quick reminder that as good as the (my) Premium trim is, it did come in 2nd overall in the Hooniverse Ioniq 5, Mach-E, bZ4x comparison. Still, if you have the opportunity to check out a Mach-E of any sort, give it a shot. Those out there shouting the loudest about “it’s not a Mustang” likely haven’t driven one, and likely aren’t really in the market for an EV anyway. They could have called it the Pinto GT and I’d still have been massively impressed. I can’t think of many other new vehicles out there for $60,000 that are this quick, practical, and mean you can skip a trip to the gas pump.