It's hard to launch a vehicle that's in a segment of its own these days, but Ford seems to have done just that. It's called the Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally and it's a mix of 1990s World Rally homologation special, today's crossover craze, and all-electric power.
Ford has some serious rally-cross fans in its engineering department, and that's how this vehicle has come to life. If you're not familiar with rally-cross, it's like traditional stage rallying, but done on a much smaller and more manageable off-pavement circuit. The Mustang Mach-E Rally withstood a punishing 800 km rallycross endurance test on a newly built Ford test track before the company would put it on the road.
The Mustang Mach-E Rally's off-road credentials start with a 20 mm suspension lift compared with the Mach-E GT on which it's based. The suspension has MagneRide shocks that are tuned to control those taller springs and manage the hefty crossover when it's in the dirt.
Ford's dual-motor electric AWD powertrain delivers 480 hp, the same as the GT Performance Edition
, but thanks to some new software the torque target is 26 lb-ft higher at 650. Ford hints that it might be able to squeeze out more power and torque from the system before it goes on sale. New skid plates under the motors help protect those bits from rocks and from hard landings on jumps.
The rally-style wheels are the height of 1990s WRC cool, but they're also a pretty good sign that this Mustang won't ever be able to compete in a serious rally. The wheels are 19 inches in diameter, and the new 385 mm front brakes with Brembo-branded calipers seal that deal. Why? Because real ice and snow rally tires only come in sizes for 15-inch wheels, and that's smaller than the Mach-E's brake rotors.
Not that Ford hasn't thought of that. The standard tires are a Michelin CrossClimate2 that come with a three-peak mountain snowflake rating and have more sidewall than a standard Mach-E GT. Still, they're not studded rally tires.
Ford has added a spot for a recovery hook in the nose, should you get a little over-zealous off-road or in the snow. The Mach-E Rally will also come with a protective film on the already protective door cladding and fender flares to help stop paint chips. Mud flaps will also be offered by the dealer.
To finish off the looks, the Mustang Mach-E Rally gets a set of hood stripes and a steel roof (instead of a sunroof). It also has a rear wing that is inspired by the Focus RS, though it does a good job of hiding in the Mach-E's rear hatch.
Ford didn't reveal Mach-E Rally pricing, but based on U.S. info we expect it to be around the same $83k starting point as the GT Performance Edition. Expect production to start in early 2024 and for the model to hit dealers and dirt roads not long after.