Currently reading: New Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally is 480bhp electric trail toy
Electric sports crossover gets rallycross makeover in pursuit of dirt-road thrills; due in UK soon

The new Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally is a hot, trail-ready electric 4x4 that's headed to UK dealerships in early 2024.

Making its full public debut at the Los Angeles motor show, the Mach-E Rally comes with a suite of off-road chassis upgrades, a significant boost in power and a purposeful styling overhaul.

Equipped with a slightly tuned-up version of the Mach-E GT's dual-motor, four-wheel-drive powertrain, the Rally is targeting outputs of 480bhp and a whopping 649lb ft of torque - which should get it from 0-62mph in around 4.0sec, although Ford has yet to confirm final performance stats.

More important is the bespoke chassis set-up: the Mach-E Rally rides 20mm higher than the standard Mach-E, on specially tuned springs and Magenride shocks for enhanced travel and better bump-cushioning, and chunky Michelin CrossClimate tyres, which are wrapped around gloss white 19in rally wheels.

The Rally comes with its own Rally Sport driving mode, which gives a linear throttle response for improved acceleration control, more aggressive damping and improved traction on slippery surfaces. It also adapts the traction and stability control systems "to allow bigger slides". 

Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally at LA motor show 2023 – front quarter

Underneath, the 91kWh battery and electric motors are shielded from rocks and bumps by thick underbody shielding, and Ford has coated the body cladding with a protective spray to reduce the risk of chips and scrapes. 

There's a two hook integrated into the front bumper, too, "should off-highway adventures ever get a little too spicy". 

Ford says the Mach-E Rally's bespoke styling was inspired in part by the legendary Ford Focus RS hot hatch, in particular the "dramatic" rear spoiler.

Other unique elements include the contrasting body trim, beefy front splitter, black roof panel, rally-style foglights and racing stripes. 

The interior is more subtly differentiated from the Mach-E GT, with bespoke elements limited to white accents throughout to match the wheels, Mach-E Rally badging and sports seats.


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Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally at LA motor show 2023 – rear

Darren Palmer, who heads up Ford's EV programmes, told Autocar the original idea for the Rally came from a rallycross enthusiast in Ford's new Always On team – created to constantly monitor feedback from customers and social media, which informs the development of over-the-air software updates and model-line additions.

"One of them does rallycross and he seeded the idea: 'Hey, we have heritage in this car. What if we do a rallycross version, because it fits with what we've done in the past?'.

"Our attitude is: if you've got an idea, bring it forward and try it out. So they created a model for the car with pure passion. They put the wheels on and lifted it. They styled what it could be. We gave them the freedom to make it.

Ford mustang mach e rally 2023 front quarter static

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"And the minute I showed that model to our leadership, they said: 'It fits so well with what we've done in the past and what people might love'."

Palmer explained that the project reached fruition quicker than is often expected because it was one of Ford's "go-fast" programmes, meaning the period from conception to unveiling was only around 18 months. "It was crazy fast," he said. 

Ford mustang mach e rally 2023 dashboard

Prototypes have been tested against what Palmer called "legendary heroes" of off-roading on "rally surfaces".

He stopped short of outlining precise specifications and capabilities but said "we have enough ride height" and that "it's super-stable on both Tarmac and other surfaces" because of the extremely precise acceleration control and the low weight of the underfloor battery.

Ford mustang mach e rally 2023 rear quarter tracking off road

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"To throw it around, you have to change a few things," said Palmer. "We were blown away by the things you can do. It's amazing."

Ford has yet to confirm whether the Rally will be sold in limited numbers and has given no indication of pricing - although a list price of around £80,000 is feasible, given the top-rung Mach-E GT asks £75,000.

Felix Page

Felix Page
Title: Deputy editor

Felix is Autocar's deputy editor, responsible for leading the brand's agenda-shaping coverage across all facets of the global automotive industry - both in print and online.

He has interviewed the most powerful and widely respected people in motoring, covered the reveals and launches of today's most important cars, and broken some of the biggest automotive stories of the last few years. 

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Peter Cavellini 17 November 2023

I'd have thought that, if your into rallying, you'd build it out of an older car?, spending £80K on a new rally car and then thrashing it along gravel rock strewn roads and through dirty water would cost you more fixing all the dents and scratches.

LP in Brighton 7 September 2023
There must be a very limited market for a 2 tonne £80k electric “rally car” which is probably not eligible for any competitive event and which may not be available in rhd. Still if Ford is determined to shun the mass market in favour of hopefully profitable niche models, maybe this is the way to go?
xxxx 17 November 2023

There was small market for the 500k GT40, they still made it.

PhilipGC 7 September 2023

Glad to see the following upgrades:

1. wheels have been upgraded from the usual inadequate 20 inches to 19 inches to permit upgraded high profile tyres instead of cheaping out with low profile tyres;

2. Michelin all-season tyres that work all year round instead of tyres optimised for temperatures that we only experience for 2 weeks out of every year; and

3. ride height increased by 20 mm to enhance ride quality over the pot-holed dirt tracks that the Ministry of Transport classifies as an A-road.