Ford is really going for it, huh? Between the $300,000 Ford Mustang GTD and, now, rally-inspired Mustang Mach-E Rally, I still don’t know what the company is trying to do, I just know I’m enjoying the hell out of it. I’m definitely a Safari-All-The-Things kind of person and safari-ing an electric crossover is stretching that ideology to its limit, but I’m here for it.
When Ford teased the Mach-E Rally it was a bit of a surprise given that I’m not sure anyone asked for it. Was there a huge groundswell for a lifted, maybe-slightly-faster Mach-E GT? Granted, Ford is one of the last three teams competing in the rally championship (along with Toyota and Hyundai) so the brand does represent this kind of off-road driving. But, um, the Mach-E?
I feel about this the way I felt when I recently found out that Tim Robbins was in the original Top Gun, but just barely in the movie, so he’s randomly high-fiving everyone on the carrier deck at the end when Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer almost kiss. It’s like… I enjoy all of those things and I guess I’m happy they’re together? Rally is awesome, my favorite car of all time is a rally-inspired Ford, and I like the Mach-E. Sure, so sure. Yes? I don’t know. Definitely maybe.
Let’s just take a look at this thing.
The base car is a Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition, which means it gets the MagneRide adjustable dampers and a battery with 91 kWh of usable capacity connected to front- and rear-mounted motors that power all wheels. This version has been “tuned” according to Ford, so power should be at least 480 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, which is the same amount of horsepower as the current stock version of the car but with slightly more torque.
Obviously, just calling a vehicle a “rally” edition of anything doesn’t make sense unless it can actually, you know, rally. In this case, the Mach-E gets a number of sensible upgrades (if you consider anything about this crossover sensible). The suspension has been modified to give the vehicle an extra 20 mm of ride height and the springs and dampers have been modified to perform better in rally-like settings. An additional upgrade is Ford’s first ever “RallySport Drive Mode” that, according to Ford: “allows for added yaw for bigger slides, a linear throttle response for better control, and more aggressive damping for better handling in loose corners.”
The worst part about driving in the dirt is the risk of rock chips and other scrapes the average car isn’t prepared for, so Ford added more underside protection for the motors, protective door cladding, very noticeable fender archers, and even a tow-strap in case you get in trouble.
I think the most interesting choice here (besides the choice to make it exist) is in the tire, which is a Michelin CrossClimate 2. I love this decision. The Subaru Forester Wilderness, which I suppose is the most similar car on sale, rides on big GEOLANDAR A/T tires and, while they’re great in dirt and mud, it’s not something I’d want to roll around on all the time. I’ve got CrossClimate 2s on my own Forester and they’re a great mix of on-road comfort with snowy performance.
Plus, the Mach-E Rally looks the business, with a Focus RS-inspired rear wing, new front splitter, rally-inspired fog lights, and a black steel roof. The best thing, though? Those wheels.
These remind me of the OZ WRC wheels that Colin McRae had on his Focus WRC rally car.
I’m just going to file this under WTF, which stands for: What The Ford. It’s when the company builds something I can’t quite explain and I’m not sure there’s a market for but, nevertheless, I enjoy. I’m still holding out for a Maverick RS, though.
The Mustang Mach-E Rally will go on sale in early 2024 for about $65,000 and I will be extremely happy if someone buys one and takes it to Pikes Peak to race. Do it. I will write about it.
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