02-12-09: So who remembers in 1989 when the original Ford Taurus SHO was introduced? It was a landmark car that made what was already bread and butter best seller a sought after enthusiast car. That Taurus SHO back then had a 5-speed manual transmission mated to a velvety smooth and robust 200hp 24 valve DOHC V6 built by Yamaha.
That may sound like the stuff Camrys are made of today, but back then it was the stuff Audis and BMW’s weren’t even offering. Ford followed that up later in 1996 with a Yamaha derived V8 with 4-valves per cylinder. The car had been watered down by then by only being offered with an autostick and had that weird ovoid rent-a car image that Tauri of recent memory have been sacked with.
That is all over now. In January, Ford gave us the all new Taurus which from all corners is a complete departure from those dark days. This new car is world class in style, in quality, and in performance. How could it have gotten any better you ask? How about a new twin-turbo version with 365 horsepower, a 6-speed tranny with paddle shifters and all wheel drive?
That paddle shifting transmission is really going to be a treat too. You can do “match-rev” downshifts and you can hold it manually in 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. Nice huh?
To keep that 365hp from making the new Taurus SHO a front-wheel drive torque steering carnival ride, Ford incorporated 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 seamlessly.
The suspension on the SHO is upgraded well beyond the standard Taurus too. It has a multi-link rear independent suspension design with a new 1:1 shock absorber ratio and enables the use of 19- and 20-inch wheels and tires.
Then there is the option to make this car even hotter. You can check the option box for the “SHO Performance Package” which consists of upgraded brake pads, recalibrated stability and traction control for even more responsiveness. It features a “Sport Mode” setting for the 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.
For the styling, Ford chose to make the SHO civilized in it’s performance language. These are not the days for garish wings, blistered fenders, and outward overtures of gas sucking spend moneyisms. The SHO formula is subtlety. In fact you would be hard pressed to tell it apart from a standard Taurus from a distance.
It does have unique 19” wheels, an optional 20“ wheel, and a decklid-mounted spoiler that is a lot like the one found on the new 2010 GT-500. A classy touch is the nice fat twin chrome exhaust tips to give a hint of what lies under the hood. There are also unique parking lamps and grillework.
The interior which was already top drawer on the new Taurus gets upgraded even further however. Flashy looking leather-trimmed seats with Miko Suede inserts, brighten up the cabin and keep you planted in your seat. A leather steering wheel, aluminum pedals, and aluminum trim across the dash and console further set the SHO apart.
The new SHO will be an expensive car no doubt as it will come loaded with virtually every gizmo and gadget in Ford’s bag of tricks The 2010 Taurus SHO has base price of $37,995 but will likely tip the scales at around $44-46,000 once optioned up by your local dealership. That puts the car up into heady company like BMW, Lexus, Audi, and Mercedes.
But keep in mind, that you are not likely to see a fully loaded and line-item comparable 365hp performance model from those brands at that price. Expense be-damned this new offering from Ford is a welcome new flagship performance sedan that is exactly what people have been asking for. It’s SHOtime!