Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
We'd stick with the entry-level Mustang Mach E, the Standard Range RWD. ‘RWD’ stands for rear-wheel drive and those rear wheels are driven by a 265bhp motor delivering 0-62mph in 6.9sec. That's quick by most standards and zips you along very nicely indeed in any real-world scenario. It's also quite a bit quicker than the Volkswagen ID.4 Pro Performance, although that beats the Standard Range RWD's official battery range of 273 miles.
The ID.4 Pro Performance also went further in our real-world range testing: up to 231 miles. The Mach E Standard Range RWD's 68kWh battery (that's its usable capacity) was projected to run out after 211 miles.
You get the same battery capacity and power from the Standard Range AWD – ‘AWD’ means all-wheel drive, i.e. four-wheel drive, with one motor driving the front wheels and another for the rears. It's a bit quicker (0-62mph takes 6.3sec), but its official battery range drops to 248 miles.
The Extended Range RWD model ups the quoted power to 290bhp but, with a bigger battery to haul around, it’s not as quick as the Standard Range models. However, its official range is a stonking 379 miles. That’s one of the best ranges of any electric car, even topping the Tesla Model 3 Long Range (360 miles).
Finally, there's the top-spec Extended Range AWD. It packs 346bhp from its dual electric motors, so acceleration is super brisk at 5.8sec (0-62mph). However, that's still miles off the Model 3 Performance, which we've timed getting from 0-60mph in just 3.3sec. Plus, the Model 3 Performance betters the Extended Range AWD’s official 335-mile range.
Like most EVs, the Mach E is no lightweight, weighing in at more than two tonnes. You really feel its weight shifting on to the outside wheels when you turn in to a corner with any zeal, but it’s still easy to manage. However, while the Kia e-Niro and ID.4 are set up to feel grippy and ‘safe’ when pushing on, the Mach E, upon first acquaintance, feels more playful in the bends.
A deliberately heavy right foot can have rear-wheel-drive models exiting bends with a little sideways slip (if you turn off the traction control), and even the four-wheel-drive models direct plenty of power rearwards to help prevent the nose from running wide.
That’s all well and good but, unfortunately, the rest of its handling isn’t great. The suspension is far too bouncy, making the Mach E buck like an angry mule over mid-corner furrows and feel unstable. While that’s happening, you can find yourself struggling to connect with its quick but inconsistently weighted steering. The lower-riding Volkswagen ID.3 is much more agile if that’s what you’re looking for, while the ID.4 is certainly no more fun but its calmer and more relaxing to drive quickly than the Mach E.
The Mach E’s agitation affects its ride, too. It’s not that the suspension is too firm; it absorbs the initial hits of potholes and ridges pretty well, but the aftershocks are brutal. After every bump, the suspension pulls the body back into line like an overbearing headmaster, so it’s bouncy around town, rarely settles on motorways and is, quite frankly, annoying. The ID.4 is much more moderate.
The Mach E’s general state of agitation seeps into its controls, too. It lunges off the line unless you’re judicious with its accelerator pedal and lurches to a stop if you’re not careful with its binary brakes. It does offer a ‘one-pedal’ driving mode, though; this means it’ll slow to a stop in most situations just by lifting off the accelerator.
At motorway speeds, it is pretty quiet at least. You hear some restrained wind noise emanating from its door mirrors and road noise is subdued, although there is an awful lot of noisy thudding from the suspension over broken roads.
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