Engine options, top speed, acceleration and refinement

The Ford Mustang Mach-E GT’s American development roots became evident on the day of our test in one slightly disappointing respect. Ford claims 3.7sec 0-60mph standing-start potential for this car in its marketing literature, but only in the small print does it clarify that the claim is on the basis of the North American industry-standard ‘one-foot-rollout’ measurement (which dates back to drag-strip timing, when the clock would only start running on a car once it had moved by a foot or so).

Tesla makes acceleration claims for its cars on the same basis, as do other brands. But for those of us for whom zero really does mean zero, this car can’t quite be considered supercar fast – and especially not when tested over repeated exertions.

We timed it at a two-way-averaged 4.2sec to 60mph from rest, and it needed just 3.5sec to get from 30-70mph. This is clearly a fast car in outright terms, then, and it certainly feels like one when you first bury the pedal at everyday speeds and feel all of that torque surge in.

But there are limits to the amount of time the car’s battery can sustain applications of peak power. Ford has already admitted, in response to independent road tests carried out in the US, that five-second full-throttle bursts are all the GT’s battery’s cooling capacity can handle, and that power and torque are electronically restricted after that time.

And you can see evidence of as much in our roll-on ‘kickdown’ acceleration increments: the GT needed almost twice as long to accelerate from 70-90mph (once its motor power had been capped) as it needed to get from 50mph to 70mph just an instant before – a much greater differential than could be explained by rising aerodynamic drag.

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It would be easy to overstate the impact of this restriction on the everyday appeal of the Mach-E GT. You notice it during full-power benchmarking on a test track, especially during circuit driving, when the battery is only able to meet the most intensive performance demands you can make of the car for a handful of laps before dialling back the power supply (see Ride & handling).

In daily driving, though, when opportunities to use full power for more than five seconds are most likely to be limited, you might never notice it happening. But when rival EVs offer better stamina, we can’t let it pass without some demerit.

On the road there are a few other shortcomings to weigh against the Mach-E GT’s instant and considerable performance muscle. A slightly spongy brake pedal, which is unintuitively tricky to modulate at low speeds, is one of them, as is the contrived, digitally synthesised ‘engine noise’ that the car generates in its sportiest Untamed driving mode

The lack of any switches or column paddles with which to easily adjust battery energy regeneration as you drive is another bugbear. In all those respects and a few others, the Mach-E GT doesn’t show the carefully executed standard of finish of the best fast EVs.