Ford’s electric Mustang SUV gets dirt-road Rally variant
Answering a question we weren’t aware potential buyers have been asking, Ford has announced an off-road version of the Mustang Mach-E. Available next year, the SUV “pushes electric vehicles in a different direction,” Ford says, “as the first-ever rally-inspired EV from Ford takes Mustang freedom and fun onto dirt roads.”
“Just a year ago, this was merely an idea, and what you see today is a testament to the passion and intense creativity of our Model e team,” said Donna Dickson, chief engineer for the Mustang Mach-E. (Model e is the side of the company responsible for electric vehicles; Ford Blue and Ford Pro handle internal combustion and fleet models, respectively.) “We have always explored new areas of performance, and the combination of a rally-tuned suspension, dual motor electric powertrain, and wicked styling makes the Mustang Mach-E Rally a different kind of performance vehicle that will excite customers chasing their next adventure.”
That dual-motor powertrain is targeting “at least” 480 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. The most powerful Mach-E you can buy today, the GT, has 480 hp and 634 lb-ft. The suspension of the Rally version has been raised 20 millimeters, which is eight-tenths of an inch, over that of the GT model. The Rally variant is also equipped with specially tuned springs, MagneRide shocks, and 15-inch front brake rotors with red-painted Brembo calipers.
The Mach-E Rally has a lithium-ion battery with a usable capacity of 91 kWh and is targeting an EPA-estimated range of 250 miles. The vehicle is estimated to charge from 10 to 80 percent in under 37 minutes on a DC fast charger, to which Ford customers will soon have more access, thanks to the partnership with Tesla.
It has gloss white 19-inch rally-style alloy wheels “inspired by the long history of Ford rally vehicles,” wearing 235/55 R19 Michelin CrossClimate2 tires that provide more sidewall and loose surface grip compared to the GT’s 245/45R20 Continental all-seasons.
“With all the gravel customers will kick up, the underside gets protective shielding for the front and rear motors, protective film on the door cladding and fender arches to help reduce paint chips, and available dealer-installed styled mud flaps to reduce debris spray. There’s also a recovery point built into the front end and an included hook should off-highway adventures ever get a little too spicy.”
The Mustang Mach-E Rally has a RallySport Drive Mode, which is designed for off-road driving and allows for added yaw for bigger slides, a linear throttle response for better control, and more aggressive damping for better handling in loose corners. “As a bonus, drivers will appreciate how this drive mode, combined with the new tires, allows the Mustang Mach-E Rally to perform in snow and other slick on-road conditions.”
To test the vehicle, Ford developed an all-new rally course at its Michigan Proving Ground. The course was specially designed by rallycross veterans to simulate what the vehicle might encounter out in the real world. Engineers and technicians then abused prototypes in 500-mile tests simulating rallycross durability trials to make sure it lived up to their design intent.
The rally-modified Mach-E adds visual pizzazz with a dramatic rear spoiler that takes inspiration from the Focus RS hatchback (2016–18), unique contrasting accents, including upper and lower body moldings, a unique front splitter, black painted steel roof, a “distinctive and purposeful” front fascia that houses built-in rally-inspired fog lights. Every example comes standard with two racing stripes. The Mach-E Rally can be ordered in Grabber Blue, Shadow Black, Eruption Green, and “eye-popping Grabber Yellow” with available Star White or new Glacier Gray as extra-cost options.
Inside there’s a “combination of comfort, functionality, and style that ties in with the iconic white wheels. There are gloss white accents on the dash, the lower spokes of the steering wheel and contrasting stitching on the doors. Drivers will strap into distinctive Ford-designed performance seats that feature gloss white seatbacks, and ‘Mach-E Rally’ debossed into the seating surface.”
“Mustang Mach-E Rally puts Ford’s decades of passion for rally championships around the world right in the hands of our customers,” said Jim Farley, chief executive officer.
Targeted starting price for the Mustang Mach-E Rally is “around $65,000” in the U.S., or roughly $5K above the GT model. The vehicle will be available to purchase in early 2024 and deliveries will begin shortly afterward.