Mustang Comparison Guide: Does the 2021-2022 Mustang Mach-E Stack Up to a ‘Real’ Mustang?
Interior & Exterior Design
Even though the Mach-E is inspired by the original Ford Mustang, at first glance, it's hard to see any similarities when comparing Mustang models past the iconic long hood and swept-back headlights. The Mach-E has been described by Ford as Mustang-inspired, not Mustang-based – so the two models don't share the same parts when it comes to design. Mustangs have traditionally been offered only in coupe or convertible designs, but the Mach-E deviates as a tall, four-door crossover for the first time. When comparing these Mustang models' exteriors, you'll see the obvious styling similarities, but no one will ever mistake these two vehicles. While they share the same name, each has its own identity.
There are even fewer similarities once you get to the interior of these vehicles. Traditional gas-powered Mustangs emphasize performance, typically being somewhat cramped and free of an overabundance of tech. Front passenger seats are low and firm compared to the Mach-E, and Ford has stuck with their original two in the front, two in the back seating layout. By comparison, the Mach-E was made to carry passengers. It's a spacious commuter vehicle that can comfortably fit up to five people – not a sports car. That's also the reason its electric powertrain is far more compact than a V8, the dashboard is dominated by a massive 15.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system and there's a second 10.2-inch screen behind the wheel to replace the instrument cluster. While the trunk size for a traditional Mustang sits at 13.5 cubic feet for the coupe and 11.4 for the convertible, the Mach-E checks out at a whopping 29 cubic feet (59.6 when the rear seats are laid flat). Not to mention, the front trunk adds 4.8 cubic feet to both of those figures.
So, when we compare Mustang design specs to the Mach-E, we can see it's not really the same type of car whatsoever. Then again, does the spirit of the Mustang live only in its design? Of course not. It lives in the power, performance and American ingenuity used to build it. Even though there are plenty of differences, we at Lethal Performance believe that the design stacks up when comparing these Mustang models together. They're made for different purposes, and both serve that purpose well.
Comparing Mustang models to the Mach-E becomes more nuanced when you start talking about performance. Performance encompasses many different categories, but let's focus on how fast and powerful the Mach-E can be compared to a Mustang — and how it feels to drive one. While that last category is more subjective, we think we've got a good idea of what most drivers will be able to experience. Let's break down the differences and similarities between internal combustion Mustangs vs. Mustang Mach-E electric performance capabilities.
Horsepower, Torque & Speed
When it comes to horsepower, torque levels and speed, the Mustang Mach-E doesn't disappoint. While you won't get the classic roar of the engine purists crave from a traditional Mustang, you can't deny it still delivers in other areas. The Ford Mustang comes in a standard model and an upgraded GT model for those of us who love more horsepower and torque. The 2021 EcoBoost model has a horsepower rating of about 310 and torque levels of 350 lb-ft from the 2.3-liter turbocharged engine. The GT version bumps that horsepower and torque rating to 460 and 420 lb-ft coming from the 5.0-liter V8 engine. Higher-end models like the GT350 and GT500 are also available, giving drivers even more power and performance.
Let's compare the Mustang Mach-E to these horsepower and torque ratings. The Mach-E is available to drivers with a couple of different powertrain configurations – they can be the standard and extended range configurations, as well as rear and all-wheel drive. The entry-level model 75-kWh battery Mach-E horsepower rating starts at 255 with 306 lb-ft of torque. However, the torque can go up to 429 lb-ft if customers order the Mustang all-wheel drive Mach-E. The bigger, 98-kWh battery pack brings those levels up to a Mustang Mach-E horsepower rating of 282 with 306 lb-ft of torque. Adding Mustang AWD capabilities to this bigger battery can bump this figure to 332 hp and 417 lb-ft of torque.
Obviously, there's a bit of a difference when comparing a Mustang vs. the Mustang Mach-E in horsepower and torque. The gas-powered Mustangs will definitely offer you some more powerful capabilities, but you have to admit the Mach-E puts up some impressive numbers for an electric car. The 2022 Mach-E GT is where things start catching up – the new front motor setup allows for much greater output. The GT model has an 88-kWh battery pack capable of delivering the Mustang Mach-E horsepower ratings of 480 with 600 lb-ft of torque, while the Performance Edition bumps the torque up to 636 lb-ft (while keeping the same level of horsepower).
But wait, what about speed? Entry-level Mach-E's can go from 0-60 in about 4.8 seconds – half a second faster than the Mustang EcoBoost and pretty on par with the EcoBoost High-Performance Package. When you look at the GT model, you're going to hit 0 to 60 in 3.8 seconds; with the Performance Edition, only 3.5 seconds. This means you're hitting speeds four-tenths faster than the V8-powered Mustang GT and only two-tenths slower than the GT500.
If you hop behind the wheel of a Mach-E repeating the mantra, "This is not a Mustang; This is not a Mustang," you're probably going to convince yourself you're just driving a standard electric vehicle. But we have to say, the Mach-E is genuinely a pleasure to drive. The Mach-E has the agility, speed, style and signature playfulness you get from driving a Mustang. Honestly, that's a rarity to find from any electric car, so while it might not be the exact same experience, the Mach-E doesn't do a bad job.
Ford designed the Mach-E, so even if you ignore the pony badges everywhere, the driver's seat is what gives you that natural feeling of familiarity. The steering wheel is thick and substantive, the front windshield is vertical and narrow to provide you with a view of the road the same way a sports car would, and the speedometer still reads "Ground Speed," just like a traditional Mustang.
When comparing the feel of a traditional Mustang vs. the Mustang Mach-E, Ford did the best they could to capture the spirit of the classic sports car.