2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally First Drive Review: A Devilish, Dirt-Slinging Daily

Anything with four wheels is fun at opposite lock, but it’s easier to get there when you start with a good car. The Ford Mustang Mach-E is unequivocally a good EV, though it’s sometimes criticized for lacking some of the spirit of its namesake. As it turns out, what the Mach-E needed all along was to go its own way—and the 2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally might be the biggest departure for the Mustang name yet.

The Mach-E Rally tries to carve out a new niche among performance EVs, following in the footsteps of ICE icons like the Subaru WRX. It’s meant to be a hoot on the road and a bigger one off it, all while being an agreeable daily driver. There isn’t any other EV out there that does what the Mach-E Rally tries to, and that’s only half of what makes it so good.

2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally
2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally. James Gilboy

The other half is how good it is in all these roles, with a well-tuned chassis that makes rally-style drifting approachable for all skill levels. It’s also still a goon on the road, and civilized enough for commuting. In fact, my biggest criticisms with the Mach-E Rally amount to nitpicks.

I don’t love its seat, its range is unexceptional, some hatches were a bit misaligned (they’re just pre-production cars), and I wonder if its differentials could be better. Some of you are also apparently still hung up on whether the Mach-E is an “authentic” Mustang. But I’m not gonna relitigate that, because I don’t care. The Mach-E Rally is one of the most uniquely fun cars on sale today, and if you can’t see past the badge, the problem isn’t with the car.

2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally
2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally. James Gilboy

The Basics

The 2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally is based on the updated 2024 Mach-E GT Performance Edition. This midlife update is mostly behind the scenes but adds up to a substantial improvement. The rear motor now comes from the F-150 Lightning, while the front motor gets new hardware, and both benefit from new control electronics.

Battery management gets an upgrade that hastens fast charging and improves range, while some lower trims also get extra-durable lithium iron phosphate batteries. Ford has also expanded areas of the vehicle that can be updated over-the-air, and reduced the number of parts in some assemblies, reducing cost.

2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally
2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally. James Gilboy

More specifically to the GT (on which the Rally is based), features that were previously locked to the Performance Edition upgrade are now standard. We’re talking performance front seats, MagneRide damping, and front Brembo brakes. The only Performance (and Rally) exclusive is the boost to 700 lb-ft of torque, up 66 from last year, which pushes the GT from zero to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds and the quarter mile in 11.8. It’s more than half a second quicker than the “real” V8-powered Mustang GT. A pinch of that performance is sacrificed in the Rally but for a good cause.

The Mach-E Rally gets retuned suspension that’s lifted about an inch for extra travel and improves ground clearance. An exclusive RallySport mode adjusts its damping settings, gives linear throttle response, and dials back traction control for holding slides. Its wheels are unique 19-inch alloys inspired by historic “turbofan” rally wheels, and they wear tires appropriate for the occasion. They’re 235/55 Michelin CrossClimate 2 all-season performance tires, which you’ll note are slightly narrower and taller than the GT’s. Its front underbody also gets an aluminum plate to protect it, the side decals are finished in paint-protection film, and there’s a front recovery hook in case you… overdo it.

It can’t be said that Ford did with its styling, which spruces up what I’ve always felt was an awkward pastiche of its pony car. The more aggressive splitter and fog lights complement its face, while the Focus RS-inspired spoiler gives much-needed flair to a roofline that tries—and fails—to look like a two-door fastback’s. (This new hatch looked misaligned on a few examples, too.) The wheels are also a welcome departure from the uniform blockiness of many off-road wheels, though I wish they were available in bronze like some other Mach-E wheel options are.

The Mach-E’s 2024 update didn’t change the interior, so let’s speedrun it. It’s still tastefully designed, solidly built, and spacious up front with OK forward and side visibility. Limited headroom and over-shoulder visibility are the price you pay for its sloped roofline, which only the Rally’s spoiler aesthetically justifies. Great, we’re done, let’s talk about how it drives.

Driving the Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally

As the Mach-E Rally amounts to a more pliable Mach-E GT, you won’t be surprised to hear it’s a bit better on the road in some situations. It may be a touch louder owing to its tires, but like all EVs is still fairly quiet. Its performance seat’s bolstering cups you well, though I found its center-back support to be too low. Softer suspension makes up for this some, and its low center of gravity still allows it to careen through corners. Body movement is easily the most pronounced in the Rally, and ride quality is softer than the GT—though I think the Premium is still comfier.

Flattening the throttle from a dig in the rain was enough to spin the rear wheels, as the Mach-E Rally has clearly been programmed to allow. It feels mischievous, but not dangerous. The increased torque also means power doesn’t fall off much with speed, as it often does in performance EVs. Its progressive brake pedal makes modulation easy when two-pedal driving, though one-pedal gets touchy in the “Unbridled” sport mode and is best saved for tamer drives. But untamed is where the Mach-E Rally shines, especially when you leave the pavement for a day at DirtFish Rally School.

Slotted into RallySport mode, the difference was clear from the first bootful of throttle as the Mach-E Rally’s rear stepped out and its body pitched back to meet it. This EV could be a case study in weight transfer, as its balanced weight distribution, responsive controls, and well-tuned suspension make it easy to start and control slides.

Its 235-section tires are barely a match for 480 hp on tarmac, and in the dirt, they break away smoothly with any significant steering angle. That steering is quick and confidently weighted, making sharp maneuvers and adjustments easy for all skill levels. I was hanging the rear out comfortably in a few corners, and I’m no oversteer maestro: I spun a Chevy Vega the last time I tried this. A tap of the brakes is all it takes to cull understeer and narrow your turn radius, and if you can left-foot brake, your drifts can be almost endless.

I say almost because as easy as I found it to control oversteer, the Mach-E Rally tended to stabilize as speeds rose. I think it might be down to the SUV’s simulation of a limited-slip differential using targeted braking on its open differentials—there’s only so much they can do, though. Admittedly, this problem didn’t present itself when I rode along with pro drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr., so it might be what the kids call a “skill issue.” Oh, and after we got out, Gittin said, “I can’t stop smiling driving that car. It’s so fun!”

But Is It a Real Mustang?

God, shut up already.

Range and Charging

The Mach-E Rally’s range suffers compared to lower trims, achieving an estimated 265 miles of range, which isn’t amazing, but it’s not terrible either. Fortunately, the 2024 model’s improved DC fast charging lets it charge from 10 to 80% in 36 minutes, almost nine minutes quicker than previous models. It’s also now compatible with the Tesla Supercharger network through Ford-provided adapters, not to mention other CCS-charging infrastructure. The Mach-E’s charging options are simply some of the best on the market now.

The Early Verdict

The 2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally explores a new horizon for performance EVs, making the rallycross circuit accessible in a car you’d be glad to daily. It accommodates varying skill levels with approachable handling, yet clearly has enough potential to separate the wheat from the chaff. It’s as good to throw around in the dirt as it is in everyday life.

It does get a few dings, though: That panel misalignment, a seat I don’t love, and some differentials that I’m not sure about. The Mach-E Rally is also pricey enough that you have to ask yourself if you’ll really commit to driving off tarmac—if not, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N and Kia EV6 GT are hard to ignore. Also, some people are still hung up on its use of the Mustang name.

2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally
2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally. James Gilboy

But dang it, the Mach-E Rally stands out for just how ready it makes you to commit to an entirely new hobby. It’s a little short of perfect, but there aren’t many EVs out there today that can match the Mach-E Rally’s sheer fun factor. That’s your cue, Subaru.

2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally Specs
Base Price$61,890
Powertraindual-motor all-wheel drive | 91-kWh battery
Horsepower480
Torque700 lb-ft
Curb Weight4,979 pounds
0-60 mph3.4 seconds
Top Speed120 mph
Ground Clearance5.8 inches
Off-Road Angles16º approach | 14.3º breakover | 27.2º departure
Seating Capacity5
Cargo Space29.7 cubic feet behind second row | 59.5 behind first row
EPA Range265 miles
Max DC Charging Rate150 kW
Quick TakeThe Mach-E Rally blazes a trail into a new frontier for performance EVs.
Score9/10
2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally
2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally. James Gilboy

Got a tip or question for the author? You can reach them here: james@thedrive.com

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