Ford tunes Mustang Mach-E into production-bound electric rally machine
It shouldn't be long before young kids start longing to be a Ford engineer when they grow up, instead of a race car driver or ball player. Besides working on some of America's most popular everyday vehicles, these engineers get to team on a seemingly never-ending list of special projects, from extreme Mustang supercars, to ridiculously overpowered e-vans, to Raptor everything. Now Ford's team has worked to "push electric vehicles in a new direction" with the all-new Mustang Mach-E Rally. More than just a highlighter-yellow show car, the latest Mustang in the herd is a real electric rally car headed for market in 2024. Beyond basic zero-emissions highway commuting, it's ready to hard-right off pavement and disappear in a thick wake of agitated dust.
The Mustang Mach-E Rally shares its dual-motor eAWD powertrain with the Mach-E GT. Ford has kept the power level steady at 480 hp but tuned the double-motor drive for a targeted 650+ lb-ft (881+ Nm) of grit-grabbing torque. It doesn't anticipate too harsh an effect on range, targeting a 250-mile (402 km) EPA figure that's just 10 miles (16 km) lower than the 260-mile estimate for the 634 lb-ft-spewing (860-Nm) Mach-E GT Performance Edition hooked up with the same 91-kWh extended-range lithium battery. That pack will charge from 10 to 80% in about 37 minutes, providing time for a much-needed lunch between hard-charging morning and afternoon rally sessions.
Any sports car turned rally car will need a proper suspension specced to task, and Ford's upgrade kit for the Mach-E includes a 20-mm lift, MagneRide shocks and specially tuned springs. The 19-in alloy wheels are just begging to have their bright-white look turn an unrecognizable shade of chunky brown or silty khaki while spinning the 235/55 R19 Michelin CrossClimate2 rubber. Those tires add more sidewall and promise improved traction over loose surfaces.
Protecting the Mach-E Rally's vitals from rocks of both the flying and still, jutting variety, an underbody kit puts shielding between the front and rear motors and the ground. Available mud flaps help cut down debris spray, and a protective film on the door cladding and fender arches fights off any chipping of the statement paint.
The Mach-E Rally wears a purpose-forward body kit with large rear spoiler inspired by the Focus RS, a unique front spoiler, rally-inspired fog lights peeking out of the smooth black fascia, and contrast black race stripes and roof. It also has a built-in front recovery point with hook. Those who don't like the "Grabber Yellow" – or the resulting bumblebee look of the yellow-black scheme – can select from the alternatives: Grabber Blue, Eruption Green, Shadow Black, Star White and Glacier Gray.
"Mustang Mach-E Rally puts Ford’s decades of passion for rally championships around the world right in the hands of our customers," said CEO Jim Farley. "It takes Mustang where it hasn’t been before – to gravel and dirt roads."
Helping Mach-E Rally drivers, from noob to expert status, go where no stock Mustang driver was encouraged to go before, Ford's first-ever RallySport drive mode opens up a linear throttle response for better control, added yaw for bigger slides, and more aggressive damping for better handling through loose corners. And since many a Mach-E Rally's upgraded tire set will see far more pavement than dirt or grime, Ford promises that the new drive mode will also improve performance in snow and other slippery roadway conditions.
After putting the Mach-E Rally through hundreds of miles of testing on a newly built rally course at its Michigan proving ground, Ford debuted the new model on Thursday at the IAA Mobility Munich show. It plans to launch sales of the five-seat e-crossover in early 2024 at a projected base price of US$65,000. Deliveries will begin shortly thereafter.