Payne: Doin’ donuts in The D in the Mustang Mach-E GT

Posted by Talbot Payne on May 4, 2022

Pontiac — I like Skittle-colored Mustangs. Red, blue, orange, yellow. Especially yellow. The bright color turns heads on Woodward Avenue, accentuates the muscular hips, stands out against the snow.

Snow? What kind of Mustangs like to be driven in snow?

The all-wheel-drive, all-electric, 600-torque, Mach-E kind. After a snowy, wintry day in southeast Michigan, I jumped in and headed for the nearest parking lot to do donuts. You’re never too old to feed your inner 16-year-old, and let’s be honest, we’ve all wanted to do Mustang donuts in rear-wheel-drive, V8-powered GT coupes since we got our driver’s license.

With AWD and all-season tires, the 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT is a four-season performance ute.

But on dry pavement, not snow. Not that I haven’t tried. I took a ferocious, green Bullitt V-8 out in a Detroit blizzard (do we have global warming yet?) a few years back and it wasn’t pleasant. Rear-wheel-drive, 480-horsepower and snowdrifts don’t play well together. I struggled to make it up grades, rear tires squirming, traction-control straining, heart beating.

When I found my favorite snowy parking lot, the pony car was hard to control. The rear slewed on cue, but the front tires didn’t bite. And if I had drifted into a snow drift? Heaven help me getting out. Not so my AWD yellow GT tester.

Seasonal weather is what performance SUVs are born for. A fellow motorhead bought a rear-wheel-drive, 505-horse twin-turbo V-6 Alfa Giulia Quadrifoglio hellion a few years ago — arguably the best-handling sedan on the planet — and traded it in a year later. Why, you ask? Because it was a fair-weather car. He bought a ferocious, AWD 505-horse twin-turbo V-6 Alfa Stelvio Quadrifoglio SUV instead so he could drive it year ’round.

I charged up to Pontiac in the Mach-E GT, its AWD system churning happily through snow and slush. Electric motors, as I’ve found on my Tesla Model 3, are efficient at handling slip and Mach-E was no different. Which is a good thing because the GT has gobs of grunt.

Like Tesla, the 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT has a big frunk for added cargo.

Arriving at a snowy parking lot, I buried the throttle and the ute spun like a top — all four corners spinning. With ground clearance to spare, I never bogged down in snowdrifts like the low, mean Mustang coupe.

Not that the Mach-E GT doesn’t look mean.

After having my fun in the snow, I got out and admired the stallion’s muscled lines. Is there a better-looking SUV? Signature Mustang taillights, coupe-like roof, muscular haunches, bowed rocker panels, phone-dial wheels, and capping it off — a wicked black face.

I know, I know, it’s just a plastic shield — an echo of the functional grilles that adorn its internal-combustion-engine brethren. But it works as a heritage piece so much better than the old plastic grilles on Tesla Model S sedans which, well — had no ICE heritage. Heritage matters, and that’s why the Mach-E is the best EV out there not named Tesla.

The 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT comes equipped with a leather interior and yellow stitching.

Where the Tesla brings authentic, shocking, electric performance to the table, Mach-E GT also knows exactly what it is: a pony car-inspired ute with brute power.

Embracing electrification, Mach-E puts more torque through its four claws than even an AWD F-150 Raptor. The power is slightly dulled by its sheer, battery-laden bulk — a porky 4,962 pounds. Floor the gas pedal (we need a new name. Juice pedal anyone?) on asphalt and the GT is not nearly as explosive as my 4,072-pound Model 3 Performance. Model 3 hits 60 in an eyeball-flattening 2.9 seconds, while the Mach-E takes another three-quarters of a second to get there.

No shame in that. It’s similar to the Model 3’s taller Model Y Performance SUV sibling, which has inherently worse aerodynamics and more pounds to carry. But once the ‘Stang EV is up to speed it is noticeably better than the Tesla at managing that weight.

A product of years of Mustang engineering, Mach-E GT is sharp and predictable at the limit where the Tesla feels numb and uncertain. That’s confidence-inducing in a sled this size. More precision is on tap in the summer months if you opt for Ford’s sticky Pirelli tires, but this being winter, all-seasons are preferred.

For the winter months, the Mach-E GT is best shod in all-seasons.

My speed-addled pal Rick, who has had a few muscle cars in his time, was also impressed by the GT’s looks, feel and interior moxie. Ford tore up the Mustang rulebook in the cabin — with good results: Mach-E GT brings Mustang heritage outside, sci-fi modern inside.

Rick’s biggest beef was the car’s girth.

That number contributes to his greatest worry: range. The GT has just 270 miles of it, and a sparse charging network if you want to leave Metro Detroit. He’ll stick with 3,700-pound, 288-mile-of-gas-range Mustang GT coupes, thank you very much.

The 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT is excellent for Metro Detroit commuting. Just be sure to install a 240-volt charger in your garage.

But as a metro commuter, Mach-E GT is in its element, assuming you’ve installed a 240-volt charger in your garage.

I have two — one proprietary charger for my Tesla and another for other EVs I test (about a $3,400 total investment). After charging around Metro Detroit’s snowy tundra, I filled the ‘Stang from 84 miles of range back up to 229 overnight (the recommended 80% of capacity).

Mach-E GT boasts a clean-sheet interior design -- a dramatic departure from its Mustang coupe-inspired exterior.

While Ford has tended to its heritage on the outside, it had the good sense to go with a minimalist, clean-sheet design inside. The interior is dominated by the 15.5-inch vertical console screen. A small information display is tucked behind the steering wheel.

Though Mach-E is inferior to Tesla in charging infrastructure, it one-ups the Silicon Valley maker with a more solid build, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto — meaning the GT seamlessly integrates your phone’s Google navi when you slip into the car. Google Maps can’t chart a long distance journey using the nearest Electric America chargers — whereas Tesla Autopilot has your back. But, ahem, surely Google is working on that?

Big screen, big presence, big yellow car. Like the ol’ Mustang Coupe, the Mach-E GT looks good in a loud wardrobe. All that’s missing is the loud exhaust note.

Under the cane in Unbridled mode, the GT pipes in a low, electronic gurgle. It’s OK, but there’s got to be more up Ford’s sleeve. May I suggest a deafening, 100-decibel gas engine-like soundtrack? Call it V-8 mode.

2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT

Vehicle type: Battery-powered, all-wheel-drive four-door SUV

Price: $61,00, including $1,100 destination charge ($63,885 as tested)

Powerplant: 88-kWh lithium-ion battery driving twin electric motors

Power: 480 horsepower, 600 pound-feet of torque

Transmission: Single-speed automatic

Performance: 0-60 mph, 3.8 seconds (mfr.); top speed, 124 mph

Weight: GT: 4,962 pounds

Fuel economy: EPA est. range, 270 miles

Report card

Highs: All-season performance; good looks

Lows: Heavy; louder, please

Overall: 4 stars

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