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Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium Vs. GT Performance Edition: Is the GT Worth the Extra Money?

ford-mustang-mach-e-premium-mach-e-gt-awd-2021-01-exterior-front-angle-group Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium (left) and GT Performance Edition | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

When the Ford Mustang Mach-E debuted for the 2021 model year, it was something Ford’s venerable Mustang had never been before — in more ways than one. Featuring four doors, a coupelike SUV profile and an all-electric drivetrain, the Mustang Mach-E heralded a new type of EV that was as much about style as efficiency.

Related: 2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E Orders Reopen, Prices Swell

Including “Mustang” in the model’s name created some performance expectations right from the get-go. So when we had the chance to test two versions of the Mustang Mach-E alongside one another — an all-wheel-drive Premium model with the extended-range battery and a GT Performance Edition — it seemed like the perfect opportunity to answer the question of whether the GT’s extra performance is worth the money.

To do that, we brought both EVs to Great Lakes Dragaway in Union Grove, Wisc., for a day of acceleration and braking testing on the drag strip. We also drove them on an autocross course to evaluate their handling limits. Watch the video below that recaps our testing, and read on for details on the models we tested and the results they achieved.

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What We Tested

Both of the Mustang Mach-Es we tested were 2021 models, but the 2023s available today are largely the same — albeit more expensive. The as-tested price of our 2021 Mustang Mach-E Premium was around $56,000, but a similar 2023 model costs around $68,000. Similarly, our 2021 Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition was priced at nearly $70,000, but to buy this model as a 2023, it’d cost almost $78,000 — $10,000 more than the Premium.

What do you get for that extra $10,000? More power: The GT Performance Edition is rated at 480 horsepower and 634 pounds-feet of torque versus the AWD Premium’s 346 hp and 428 pounds-feet of torque. Instead of the all-season tires that go on the Premium, the GT Performance Edition gets larger wheels fitted with stickier summer tires as well as Ford’s MagneRide adaptive suspension, larger front brakes with Brembo four-piston calipers, unique front and rear design cues, and performance front seats.

However, choosing the GT Performance Edition over the Premium trim also means less range and efficiency. According to model-year 2022 EPA estimates, the GT Performance Edition is rated to go up to 260 miles on a full charge and uses 41 kilowatt-hours of energy to travel 100 miles; the Premium, meanwhile, is rated to travel 277 miles on a charge and uses 37 kWh per 100 miles, though Ford says 2023 versions gain 13 miles of driving range for 290 miles total.

Acceleration and Braking Results

Both Mustang Mach-Es had a 96% battery state of charge at the beginning of testing, and we used the sportiest Unbridled drive mode for acceleration testing.

The Mach-E Premium accelerates swiftly enough, with a level of power that’s more than acceptable for everyday use. The Mach-E GT Performance Edition, however, delivers noticeably more grunt when accelerating from a stop, resulting in a significantly lower 0-60 mph time. In our drag-strip testing, the Premium went from 0-60 in 5.4 seconds versus 3.95 seconds for the GT Performance Edition, a difference of nearly a second and a half.

The GT Performance Edition’s extra torque helps at midrange speeds, too, where its acceleration is stouter than the Premium’s. In our 50-70 mph test, the GT Performance Edition bested the Premium by nearly three-quarters of a second: 2.03 seconds versus 2.77.

While the differences in 0-60 mph and 50-70 mph acceleration are significant, the gap between the two EVs shrinks by the end of the quarter-mile, with our GT Performance Edition completing the run in 12.64 seconds at 100.5 mph versus 13.75 seconds at 100.7 mph for the Premium, a difference of 1.11 seconds. Both the GT Performance Edition and the Premium lose some of their momentum midway through the quarter-mile, and both chug through the remainder of the distance with noticeably less urgency than at the beginning of the run.

acceleration-chart-mustang-performance-premium Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium and GT Performance Edition acceleration | Cars.com graphic by Paul Dolan

In our 60-0 mph braking test, we observed some significant differences. Panic-braking the Premium was a low-drama experience that resulted in a stopping distance of 125.71 feet. The GT Performance Edition, however, seemed to struggle for grip; its tires slid enough at times to kick up some smoke, and its shortest braking distance was 149.46 feet, nearly 24 feet longer than the Premium. Outside temperatures on our test day were in the 40s and 50s Fahrenheit, which may have been a little too cool for the GT Performance Edition’s summer tires.

Handling Impressions

The summer tires worked better on our autocross course, where the GT Performance Edition was easier to drive through the cones than the Premium with its all-season tires that squealed through corners. The GT Performance Edition is also easier to rotate using the accelerator pedal; stand on it in a corner and you can make the tail swing around as you exit. The Premium, which doesn’t have a button to turn traction control off, had a tendency to cut power in similar situations.

The extra heft to the GT Performance Edition’s steering wheel is another plus, but these EVs are heavy — their curb weights edge toward 5,000 pounds — and you feel that mass as you try to fling them around a tight autocross course. Interestingly, the GT Performance Edition’s adaptive suspension didn’t seem better at checking body roll, which was reasonably controlled for both models.

Which Mustang Mach-E Should You Buy?

The roughly $10,000 that separates a Mustang Mach-E Premium from a GT Performance Edition is a significant amount of money. While the GT Performance Edition offers quicker low- and midrange acceleration, its underwhelming acceleration on the back half of the quarter-mile was disappointing. The GT Performance Edition’s meatier summer tires made it more enjoyable to toss around our handling course, but some of the Premium’s handling shortcomings could be addressed with different tires — and for a lot less than $10,000.

The GT Performance Edition is billed as the Mustang Mach-E’s high-performance offering. Overall, though, there wasn’t enough extra performance to warrant the extra money. Until there is, the Premium trim is the one we’d choose.

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