At Ford’s 100-year celebration, they announced nine new vehicles for the South African market, including the all-electric Mustang Mach-E. While the Mach-E will only arrive in South Africa in 2025, Oliver Keohane got to drive it earlier this year in Queenstown, New Zealand.
Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD Fast Facts
- Price: TBA
- Power: 258 kW
- Torque: 580 N.m
- 0 – 100 km/h: 5,1 secs
At the end of July this year, I had the incredible opportunity to travel with Ford South Africa to Queenstown, New Zealand to drive the next-Gen Rangers and Everests. Located deep in the South Island, we drove the vehicles through both the icy peaks and the rocky lower trails of Central Otago’s Mountainous region. I got to drive the Ford Ranger Platinum, another vehicle announced among Ford’s massive expansion in the South African market, as well as the Wildtrak X, which just launched locally in 2023.
Related: Review: Ford Ranger Platinum
But parked next to the many Rangers and Everests, every morning, were three stunning compact SUV electric vehicles, three Mustang Mach-Es. Come the final day of the trip, once all driving and media coverage had been taken care of, Minesh Bhagaloo – Head of PR at Ford South Africa – booked two of the Mach-Es for the South Africans (myself, Pierre Steyn and Mike Eloff) to take a little road trip from Millbrook Resort in Queenstown up to Glenorchy.
What are we driving?
We’re driving Ford’s inaugural venture into a fully electric, emission-free vehicle. The Mach-E is designed to retain the Mustang essence, and while the car aspires to encapsulate the timeless attributes of the classic Mustang, the compact SUV body introduces a contemporary twist to the iconic name, as the Mustang makes its first foray into the electric world.
Anticipated to debut in South Africa by 2025, the international lineup of the Mustang Mach-E includes variants in Select, Premium, and GT specification. Select and Premium models are offered in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel-drive configurations. We jumped into two AWD models and set off on our adventure up Queenstown’s Lake District. While there was one GT model floating around, media from one of the other countries beat us to it!
Why is the Mach-E significant?
For a number of reasons. As mentioned above, the Mach-E is Ford’s first venture into a zero-emissions vehicle, and their willingness to bring it to the South African market is significant in the context of the country’s efforts – which remain largely manufacturer, rather than legislatively-driven – to move towards an electric future. So Ford has joined some other big names in a small pool of manufacturers trying to make electric mobility a viable reality in South Africa.
The Mach-E is also significant simply by nature of bearing the Mustang badge, an iconic name plate in naturally-aspirated petrol history, and a brave venture from Ford to challenge perceptions that performance must be reserved for petrol engines.
What’s new on the Mustang Mach-E?
For us in South Africa, and for those expecting a Mustang, everything… Seriously, the Mach-E marks the arrival of Ford’s first electric vehicle in South Africa, and adds to a small, albeit growing, pool of fully electric vehicles. From a “Mustang” perspective, the novelty lies not only in an all-electric drivetrain but in the SUV styling which differs notably from Mustang’s classic coupe and fastback design.
The Mach-E retains its Mustang DNA through the distinctive long, aggressive bonnet, rear haunch design, and distinctive tri-bar taillamps. It’s also very fast. There are a plethora of configurations for the Mustang Mach-E, which affect not only the drive system (RWD/AWD), but the range and power outputs.
We were lucky enough to get behind the wheel of a Premium, AWD model, with an extended-range battery. This particular model is powered by a dual e-motor which uses a primary electric motor on the rear axle and a secondary electric motor on the front axle to increase traction and performance. The standard-range battery holds a 72 kWh usable capacity, offering an estimated range of 373 km, while the extended-range battery (standard in the Premium AWD model) has a usable capacity of 91 kWh and an estimated range of 366 km – which allowed us to drive from Millbrook Golf Resort, up to Glenorchy and back without having to plug in.
As for the “very fast”, the Mach-E Premium AWD model pumps out 258 kW and 580 N.m. Coupled with the immediate power output unique to fully electric cars, the Mach-E makes for a rapid drive. The entry-level Select model with RWD and a 70 kWh standard-range battery puts out 199 kW and 430 N.m. As has become characteristic of Ford, there are many iterations of the model, and in the case of the Mach-E, the power outputs and ranges vary vastly based on the selection of the model, the battery, and the drive system. I have included a link to Ford’s “features” page, where you can browse the range and power of the various models and batteries. Be warned, it is a bit confusing at first!
Beyond its performance prowess, the Mustang Mach-E prioritises safety, incorporating advanced features as standard. Autonomous emergency braking with car-to-car, vulnerable road user, junction assist, and back-over functionality are among the included safety measures. Additionally, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, emergency lane keeping, and an advanced speed assistance system add to a comprehensive safety profile.
How does the Mustang Mach-E drive?
Loads of fun. As I said, the AWD Premium model that we drove possessed some pretty impressive power outputs, and given that you are not waiting for any petrol to combust or diesel to compress, that power is available to you instantly.
The Mach-E is quick, but it is also composed. Our drive took us from Queenstown, on an epic route along Lake Wakatipu to the charming little settlement Glenorchy, deep in New Zealand’s South Island. The drive there is about 60 km of winding road; mountain to your right, lake to your left. The dual e-motor system keeps the car confident and stable in corners – of which there are many – and the regenerative braking functions smoothly, sending power back to the battery as you ease of the throttle, but not braking so aggressively as to jolt you. The range was never a worry as we clocked about 120 km on our roundtrip, and we had hopped in the car with the 270 km range available.
I was a massive fan of the car’s interior, subtle design cues that distinguish the Mach-E as an electric vehicle, without feeling like it has been stripped of personality. High-quality materials on the seats and steering wheels, a minimalistic approach to the gear selector and centre console in general, and a massive 15,5-inch touchscreen run on Ford’s SYNC 4A system. We were afforded the luxury of the Bang & Olufsen speakers too, in the Premium model. Side note – the infotainment system has this really cool Mustang video running when you start it up.
I liked the Mach-E, a lot. It was a novel experience, driving such a powerful electrified compact SUV that is delivered in a simple, stylish package. Despite not being the 5,0-litre petrol fastback that has garnered such a cult following worldwide, there is still something special about getting into a vehicle with Mustang qualities at the heart of its engineering. If the Mustang is synonymous with an air of rebellion, the Mach-E is no different in delivering a statement piece of car to the world of electric motoring. It’s fast, and it looks really good, so it certainly checked the boxes there. We wait anxiously for pricing here in South Africa!
Watch: The Mustang Mach-E
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