If the FG Falcon fell off Ford's local lineup next week we'd be a wee bit sad. If Ford replaced it with the recently released US-Market Taurus we'd still be a bit teary-eyed. But if that meant the Taurus SHO would be making the trip Downunder too... well, all would likely be forgiven. (Maybe... don't hold us to it...)
Ford USA has just lifted the lid on its hi-po variant of the freshly-cast Taurus midsize sedan, and by golly, if the raw specs are any guide, it looks promising. With a twin-turbocharged, direct-injected 3.5 litre V6 and all-wheel-drive, it's got the numbers to truly impress.
An astonishing 272kW (365hp) is on tap from that bent-six, with 474.5Nm (350lb/ft) available from 3500rpm. In a Taurus. It's a lot of power, but the Taurus SHO's torque-sensing AWD system should have the cojones to transfer all of it to the pavement. There's no manual transmission on offer, but a paddle-shifter equipped six-speed auto should be an adequate compromise. Did we mention it'll rev-match downshifts and hold gears against the redline?
A sport tuned suspension system with MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link rear keeps the SHO on the straight and narrow (or the bumpy and curvy), while the more daring can opt for a performance package which includes grippier brake pads, a sharper steering rack, re-jigged stability control and a shorter diff ratio.
It's not all about performance though, and the SHO certainly flaunts enough mod-cons to justify its position at the top of the Taurus food chain.
Inside there's leather-and-suede trimmed power adjustable seats, aluminium inserts on the dash, a push-button keyless ignition and Ford's SYNC multimedia system, while voice-activated sat-nav, a 10gb hard-disk media storage device, 12-speaker Sony stereo, adaptive cruise control and a blind-spot alert system are optional extras.
Remember, the last Taurus we saw here was perhaps one of the most unloved Ford imports of the 1990s, and one that certainly wasn't held in high esteem for its dynamic abilities.
However, with the 2010 Taurus SHO Ford has managed to craft an all-American car that promises blistering straight-line speed AND the ability to handle the odd curve. Do we want it? Hell yeah. Would we be upset if it replaced our beloved Falcon? Maybe not...
TAURUS SHO RETURNS WITH 365HP ECOBOOST V-6, PLUS ALL-WHEEL DRIVE, PADDLE-SHIFT SIX-SPEED GEARBOX
The Taurus SHO returns as the sporty version of Ford's new flagship introducing a new generation of premium performance and fuel economy with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost? V-6. This engine delivers V-8 levels of power ? with an estimated 365 horsepower ? without compromising its V-6 fuel economy.
The 2010 Taurus SHO features an enhanced SelectShift? six-speed automatic transmission with control paddles mounted on the steering wheel, in combination with a sophisticated torque sensing all-wheel drive system, a sportier SHO interior, subtle exterior design cues and myriad technologies and features offered on Taurus.
Taurus SHO will be available this summer, starting at $37,995, including destination fees.
CHICAGO, Feb. 11, 2009 ? One of America's favorite "sleeper" performance cars returns to the Ford lineup, powered by a Super High Output (SHO) EcoBoost twin turbocharged engine.
The Taurus SHO joins Ford's growing lineup of performance vehicles for the 2010 model year, building on the legacy of the original, which earned a spot on the Car and Driver 10Best list four years running.
"The new Taurus SHO delivers on the authentic sleeper sedan formula but adds all-new luxury-appointments, convenience features and technologies to an unsurpassed balance of power and fuel economy," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas. "This new sport derivative answers enthusiasts' calls for a premium Ford flagship sedan with even more attitude."
Introduced in 1989, Taurus SHO was conceived as a discreet performance-oriented sports sedan, ideally suited to the automotive enthusiast needing the room and capability of a four-door full-size car. Produced through 1999, more than 100,000 were sold.
The original Taurus SHO generated a loyal following of owners and enthusiasts, with an active club more than 1,000 members strong, an online forum with more than 10,000 registered users and a Web site (bringbackthesho.com) specifically devoted to convincing Ford to resurrect the SHO. The 2010 Taurus product development team spent significant time listening to SHO enthusiasts.
EcoBoost? Twin-Turbocharged Power
The foundation of the new 2010 Taurus SHO is a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V-6 engine. This advanced powerplant generates an estimated 365 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 350 ft.-lbs. of torque at 3,500 rpm, resulting in significantly improved power, torque and fuel economy compared with larger, normally aspirated engines. This also is Ford's most powerful EcoBoost engine.
A key feature of this EcoBoost engine is gasoline direct injection. The direct injection of fuel into the cylinder during the intake stroke, as opposed to port-style injection to an externally mounted intake, produces a well-mixed air-fuel charge. Fuel vaporization during the intake stroke cools the incoming air, improving volumetric efficiency and lowers the likelihood of knock.
The results are improved throttle response, reduced cold start emissions characteristics and improved fuel economy. The cooled charge enables an increased compression ratio, improving efficiency at partial load, while the higher compression ratio allows for better volumetric efficiency under full load engine behavior. Customers will experience normally aspirated V-8 power, without compromising V-6 fuel economy.
The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 also uses twin turbochargers, as opposed to a single unit. The reduced size of each turbocharger results in reduced internal inertia, allowing this advanced engine to avoid the "turbo lag" often prevalent in earlier-generation turbocharged applications. From the driver's seat, the rewarding result is linear power delivery across a broad torque band from 1,500 through 5,500 rpm. Peak torque building quickly off idle ensures responsive acceleration from a standing start.
SelectShift with paddle controls and All-Wheel Drive
The new Taurus SHO driveline combines a high-capacity six-speed 6F55 SelectShift transmission with a sophisticated torque-sensing All-Wheel Drive System. These components work in harmony to deliver ample traction when putting EcoBoost power on the road. The six-speed transmission offers a wide array of gears to enable spirited acceleration, yet comfortable high-speed cruising, through a 2.77 to 1 final drive ratio.
SelectShift provides conventional automatic operation or a manual shift mode that gives the driver complete control over gear selection. For performance-minded drivers, paddle controls allow "match-rev" downshifts and will hold manually selected gears for precise control. Intuitively operated, a squeeze on either paddle will deliver an economical upshift under acceleration, while a gentle push forward brings a smooth downshift, synchronizing the engine and transmission speeds for responsive and positive engagement.
The Taurus SHO driveline is contemporized with the incorporation of a sophisticated All-Wheel Drive System that engages automatically and unobtrusively. The unit contains an advanced array of internal electromechanical clutches to efficiently distribute torque to the wheels with optimum traction. Standard all-wheel drive allows the Taurus SHO to efficiently deliver its high performance to the pavement under a wide variety of conditions.
"Taurus SHO suspension and steering have been sport-tuned to provide discriminating drivers with precise control, confident handling, communicative feedback and a compliant ride," said Pete Reyes, Taurus chief engineer.
Taurus SHO features an advanced electronic power-assisted steering (EPAS) system, providing responsive road feel and enhanced on-center balance while offering the additional benefit of increased fuel economy. SHO also features a sport-tuned suspension with unique shock absorbers, springs, stabilizer bars and strut mount bushings specifically developed and harmonized to deliver the highest level of Ford DNA road holding, cornering agility and steering responsiveness available in a Blue Oval full-size sedan.
Taurus SHO takes full advantage of the multi-link SR1 rear suspension design. Named for the 1:1 shock absorber ratio, this configuration provides an inherently stable baseline for the SHO development team to fine tune for enhanced driver control and agility. In addition, the SR1 rear suspension geometry provides increased travel, while enabling the use of 19- and 20-inch wheels and tires.
For the discriminating automotive enthusiast, Taurus SHO offers an available SHO Performance Package consisting of upgraded brake pads, recalibrated EPAS for even more responsiveness, a "Sport Mode" setting for the standard AdvanceTrac? Electronic Stability Control and a shorter 3.16 to 1 final drive ratio for faster acceleration. Summer-compound 20-inch Goodyear Eagle F1 performance tires on premium painted wheels also are included.
SHO Specific Subtlety
A key element of the authentic SHO formula is the subtlety of its unique exterior design cues. Features include sporty premium painted wheels, wrapped in standard low-profile 19-inch Goodyear Eagle or optional 20-inch Michelin high-performance tires, a decklid-mounted spoiler and twin chrome exhaust tips. SHO also features a uniquely finished interpretation of the Ford signature three-bar grille with SHO-specific parking lamp bezels.
"Taurus SHO was always a stealth high-performance car," said Earl Lucas, exterior design manager. "The new SHO builds on the expressive design of the 2010 Taurus, adding subtle cues that set it apart."
The 2010 SHO is available in a wide range of new Taurus colors including Atlantis Green Metallic, a unique SHO color inspired by the iconic Deep Emerald Green hue appearing in 1991.
The new Taurus SHO interior encourages performance driving. Leather-trimmed seats with Miko Suede inserts, made from recycled post-consumer yarns from plastic soft drink bottles, are comfortable and luxurious. A perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel puts the driver in smooth touch with the road. Front seats are 10-way power adjustable. SHO accelerator and brake pedals are trimmed in aluminum. The console, instrument and door panels feature SHO-specific authentic aluminum appliqu?s. SHO branding appears on the unique floor mats, and on the passenger side of the instrument panel.
Taurus SHO: Performance and Convenience
The 2010 Taurus SHO offers an impressive array of standard convenience features as well as optional features and content. Standard Taurus SHO amenities include:
Intelligent Access with Push Button Start, a new Taurus feature allowing drivers to enter the car and start the engine without using a conventional key. Drivers simply carry the fob as they approach the vehicle, touch the SecuriCode? keyless entry keypad, open the door and enter, apply pressure on brake pedal and push a button to start the engine.
MyKey allows enthusiasts to activate a restricted driving mode, persistent Belt-Minder? safety belt reminder, audio system volume limits, an earlier low-fuel warning, and consistently-engaged AdvanceTrac? stability control. The top vehicle speed can be limited to 80 mph, and speed chimes can be programmed to engage at 45, 55 or 65 mph further protecting their investment.
Easy Fuel? Capless Fuel Filler System, a unique feature that eliminates the need for a traditional fuel cap. Easy Fuel is a hassle-free solution that provides a consistent self-seal after every refueling.
Ford SYNC? is the fully integrated, in-vehicle voice-activated communications and entertainment system standard on Taurus SHO. The system combines 911 Assist, Vehicle Health Report and GPS-based features including business search and call completion.
SYNC connects to MP3 players, iPods, memory sticks and PDAs. The latest version of SYNC in the Taurus SHO adds Traffic, Directions and Information, providing turn-by-turn route guidance and the capability to access and personalize content.
Ambient Lighting allows the Taurus SHO driver to program interior lighting from a choice of five soothing colors to suit any character or preference.
The 2010 Taurus SHO comes standard with the full array of active and passive safety equipment and features offered across the Taurus range.
Available options on the 2010 Taurus SHO include:
Reverse Camera System, a unique SHO option, activates when reverse gear is selected providing the driver with additional rear visibility, projecting on the windscreen mounted rearview mirror.
Adaptive Cruise Control, which allows the driver to set the Taurus SHO cruising speed while using radar technology to monitor traffic travelling up to 600 feet ahead, automatically adjusting speed to help maintain a preset distance between vehicles. Adaptive Cruise Control comes with Collision Warning with Brake Support providing visible and audible warnings when slower traffic is detected ahead. Brake support is activated if the driver does not respond to provided warnings, and pre-charges the brake system to prepare the vehicle for stopping.
Blind Spot Information System (BLIS?) with Cross Traffic Alert consists of two multiple beam radar modules, one each per rear quarter panel. When an adjacent vehicle enters the defined blind spot zone, and indicator alert provides driver warning in the corresponding sideview mirror.
Cross Traffic Alert uses existing BLIS radar modules to sense oncoming traffic while the Taurus SHO is slowly backed from a parking space. When cross traffic appears within three car widths, the system provides a visible message on the instrument panel in combination with a sideview mirror warning and an audible signal.
Multi-Contour Seats with Active Motion? can be specified in conjunction with heated and cooled first-row positions in the new Taurus SHO. Multi-Contour functionality provides subtle but continuous massage to help prevent back pain and fatigue and is ideally suited to meet the needs of long-distance drivers.
Voice-Activated Navigation System includes a 10 GB music juke box hard drive and a single CD/DVD player. When combined with the optional rear camera system, rearview projection appears on the centerstack-mounted navigation screen.
Sony Audio System offers 12 speakers, a digital amplifier, 390 Watts of continuous power (RMS), 115 dB of maximum bass sound pressure level and Dolby? Pro Logic? II surround technology.
The 2010 Taurus SHO will be built at Ford's Chicago (Ill.) assembly plant and will be available in dealerships this summer, starting at a base price of $37,995, including destination.