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2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally First Drive: It Does What It Says on the Door

Hooning right into our hearts

2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally action
  • The Mustang Mach-E Rally makes 480 horsepower and 700 lb-ft of torque. 
  • The Rally includes retuned suspension, antilock braking and stability control systems. 
  • The Mach-E Rally has an estimated 265 miles of range.

Having made their case as eco-conscious commuters, EVs haven't really strayed too far from their original mission. Sure, there's been more luxury, tech and straight-line speed added over the years, but it's hard to see EVs as anything other than just that: silent commuters tethered to cities. Now, some manufacturers are looking to get EVs out of that box. Rivian has introduced its legitimately off-road-capable R1T, Ford and Chevy have rolled out electric versions of their mainstream pickup trucks, and Hyundai has recently shown us that EVs can not only be fun to drive but can rival serious performance cars on a racetrack

Adding to this list of breakouts, Ford offers up the Mustang Mach-E Rally. Dressed up with rally-inspired wheels, a rear wing that harkens back to the batty Focus RS, and grille-mounted rally lights, the Mach-E Rally looks to open a new door to electric vehicles: rallycross.

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2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally – group

Will it daily?

Before I go and play in the dirt, I've got to use the Mach-E Rally where it will really live: on the road. It's all fine and dandy to build a singularly focused rallycross vehicle, but if it's no good day to day, no one's going to buy it. Fortunately, the Mach-E part of the Mach-E Rally is still fully intact. Based on the Mach-E GT model with the Performance pack, the Rally comes loaded with the extended-range battery and its full whack of 700 lb-ft of torque. It's also got the Bang & Olufsen audio system, heated front seats and steering wheel, and Ford's suite of advanced driver aids, called Co-Pilot360 Technology Assist 2.0. The Rally, like every other Mach-E, can even be optioned with Ford's newest version of its hands-free driving system, BlueCruise. 

2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally interior

So from behind the wheel, this looks and feels just like every other Mach-E. Although there's one major difference, and that's the way it rides. With a 1-inch lift, moderately aggressive all-season tires, and a suspension tuned for dirt, ruts and gravel, I was definitely ready for either an overly stiff ride or a somewhat soft and wallowy experience. But the Rally is far and away the best riding Mach-E of the lineup. 

Using retuned MagneRide shocks, the Rally feels far more sophisticated. Gone is the bob and bounce that you can experience in the standard Mach-E's normal drive mode, replaced with well-damped yet supple motions. Switching to the sporty Unbridled drive mode chisels off some of those soft edges of the ride quality but still leaves you with a firm but nicely controlled ride. The Rally never feels too stiff, and long sections of broken pavement simply disappear below the tires. After a few miles I found myself actively hunting down the worst areas of my lane just to see what the suspension could erase. The answer was pretty much everything. 

2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally seat detail

The whole driving experience feels tighter and more responsive without ever feeling overeager and twitchy. The throttle, even in the sportiest setting, isn't overly sensitive, and that allows you to drive quickly and smoothly to make the most of the Rally's prodigious torque. The new rear motor, sourced from the F-150 Lightning, not only allows for the bump in output but is also more responsive and one of the many factors in the Rally's excellent on-road performance. The seats, too, are an improvement over the standard Mach-E offerings. Lifted from the GT, they're both comfortable, without being too soft, and supportive while still managing to be easy to get in and out of. If you have any experience with the Recaro seats from various Shelbys or the departed Focus RS, these seats are far better for daily driving.

You've gotta plug in sometime

As the Rally uses the same battery pack and dual-motor setup as the GT, the EPA-estimated range is fairly similar. Thanks to the Rally's higher ride height and rally-friendly tires, the GT's 280 miles of range drops to a still credible estimate of 265 miles. Of course, we'll put the Mach-E Rally on our famous Edmunds EV Range Test to see where it stacks up against the competition. For a quick comparison, the track-capable Hyundai Ioniq 5 N is estimated to have a somewhat meager 221 miles of range, but we saw 253 miles in our test.

2024 Ford Mach-E Rally on the road

While range has never been an issue for the Mach-E, charging power has. With a maximum rate of 150 kW, the Mach-E trails most other cars in our EV Charging Test and isn't able to take full advantage of the growing number of 350-kW chargers. To alleviate some of that charging frustration, the Mach-E, through Ford's partnership with Tesla, is able to access over 15,000 Supercharging stations. Once signed up to the BlueOval Charge Network, you can simply hook up an adapter, plug in, and the Mach-E will handle the rest. Puzzled looks from Tesla owners will be free of charge.

Will it rally?

The short answer is, yes. Yes, it will rally. And to prove the Mach-E Rally's capabilities, Ford brought me to DirtFish Rally School outside of Seattle. Situated on 315 acres that was once home to a lumber mill, DirtFish has the perfect environment for novices (like me) and pros alike to hone their loose-surface driving skills. During the development of the Mach-E Rally (internally it was known as Project Mongoose), Ford built its own rally circuit in the middle of its proving grounds. Eschewing the increasingly popular development through simulation, Ford's engineers instead got their hands dirty driving and wrenching on parts and fine-tuning various settings. It's probably one of the only vehicles that Ford has developed in recent years where a bulldozer came in handy. 

2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally wheel

That real-world development was necessary to ensure the ABS and the stability system would be up to the task of letting the Rally, you know, rally. Feel is everything here; an overly sensitive ABS wouldn't work well on loose surfaces, and a strict stability program wouldn't let the Mach-E get as sideways as you need it to, or want it to, in order to carry real speed off-road.

After just a few laps of one of DirtFish's many driving modules, it was clear that Ford had nailed those calibrations. Active in the RallySport drive mode, these special settings are combined with bespoke settings for the steering system, power delivery, and MagneRide shocks to better cope with the demands of aggressive driving on dirt and gravel roads.

2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally action

Starting out with mashing the throttle pedal to the floor, the systems allow the Mach-E Rally to spin all four of its wheels enough to send up an impressive roost of dirt and gravel. Approaching the first 90-degree turn, early but firm braking gets the Rally to scrub off a decent amount of speed as you turn the wheel to get yourself pointed into the corner. Right there, as the weight transfers from the rear to the front of the Mach-E, the back end begins to rotate and the Rally turns effortlessly into the corner. If you need a little countersteer, RallySport mode lets you have it. Want to left foot brake? You can do that, too. The systems are tuned to tolerate inputs and angles that would otherwise cause other EVs to have a total meltdown and stop all the fun. It's not that there aren't still safety nets in place, but after more and more runs through DirtFish's courses, I realized that if you drive the Rally like a rally driver, and not like a total beginner, those systems stay largely out of the way.

As with driving on snow and ice, driving on dirt and gravel is largely about patience and deliberate but early inputs. For someone whose experience is mainly on asphalt, the lack of direct and immediate payoff is a little difficult to adjust to, but the instant torque from the Mach-E's motors satiates the need for some quick results to my inputs. The Mach-E's long wheelbase is another calming factor to the rally experience. Once the vehicle starts to rotate, the breakaway is smoother and more predictable than I expected. On top of that, the power split between the front and rear motors is well judged, allowing the Rally to hold some beautiful slides with as much (or as little) steering input as you'd like. If drifting on dirt is a drug, the Mach-E Rally is your dealer.

2024 Ford Mustanmg Mach-E Rally in the mud

Lest you think I just wasn't driving fast enough to really tax the Mach-E Rally's systems, Ford brought out Formula Drift champion Vaughn Gittin Jr. and WRC driver Adrien Fourmaux to show me how it's done. Riding in the same Rally that I just got out of, these drivers simply tossed the Mach-E wherever they wanted it to go and at whatever angle they felt was necessary. Both Adrien and Vaughn took maximum advantage of the Rally's tolerance for left-foot braking and willingness to drift for lap after lap of one of DirtFish's most challenging and high-speed courses. It was clear that if you have the skill, the Mach-E Rally does, too.

Edmunds says

The Mach-E Rally is much more than just its Compmotive-inspired wheels and a sticker on the door. Should you have some old logging roads or disused gravel trails in your area, you can hoon this thing around until you're out of juice. And thanks to the access to Tesla's Supercharger network, the Rally's excellent ride quality, day-to-day comfort, and practicality make it a unique daily driver and a new breed of EV.