Europe

Ford Sierra XR4i

Sierra XR4i logo

Manufactured by: Ford of Europe, Genk, South Limburg, Belgium
Years produced: 1983 - 85
Price at launch: £9170 DM 28000

The author's Sierra XR4i when brand new in Rotterdam Airport The Ford Sierra XR4i had a special body style which was not shared by any other car in the Sierra range. Power came from a 2.8 litre (170 cu. in.)150 HP Cologne V6, which had been introduced back in 1964 in 2 litre form for the Ford Taunus 20M. A 5-speed manual transmission was the only one available. Its suspension was somewhat soft, as this was not so much a sporty car, like the smaller XR2 and XR3, but more of a "cruiser car".

Its competition included the Audi Coupé, the Saab Turbo, the BMW 323i, the Alfa Romeo GTV6 2.5, the Toyota Celica Supra and, worst of all, the Ford Capri 2.8i. Originally the XR4i was meant as a replacement for the Capri 2.8i. However, the latter outlived the former. The Capri was equipped with the same Cologne 2.8 litre V6 engine as the XR4i, but its output was 160 HP, thanks to its dual exhaust system. It as a harder sprung car, and provided less interior space, like the Mustang from which it was inspired. In other words, it was a true sporty car.

Market research undertaken by Ford revealed that one of the main reasons the XR4i did not succeed was its name on the hood, as it was difficult to justify the its price for a Ford. Presumably that is a reason why Ford Motor Company later purchased the prestige car maker Jaguar.

The body style of the XR4i was used for the Merkur XR4Ti, which was destined for the North American market. The moniker XR4i was used again in 1990 to 1991, this time not for a separate model, but only for the performance versions of the Sierra. These were equipped with a 2 litre 125 HP DOHC four cylinder, and available as two door and four door hatchbacks.

1992 Sierra XR4i with 2.9-litre V6 for Swiss market For the Swiss market a 2.9-litre V6 version of the above mentioned XR4i was provided, but only in two-door form. Thus this was the only two-door Cologne V6 powered Sierra to be made available since the demise of the original XR4i in 1985. This car was produced until the year 1992.

Technical data on the Ford Sierra XR4i

 

Ford Sierra XR4X4

Manufactured by: Ford of Europe, Genk, South Limburg, Belgium.
Years produced: first generation 1985 - 87, second generation 1987 - 92.
Price at launch: £ 11500

2-door Sierra XR4X4 To replace the ill fated Sierra XR4i the Sierra XR4X4 was introduced. Although a normal two door model was introduced initially, the production version was available only as a four door hatchback. In sales literature only the four-door version was mentioned. To the left can be seen one of the very few two-door XR4X4's.

As the name implies, the XR4X4 was four wheel driven, using the Ferguson formula. Initially it used the 2.8 litre (170 cu. in.) Cologne engine of the XR4i. In 1988 it acquired a 2.9 litre (177 cu. in.) version of that engine, which was also rated at 150 HP. The main competitor of this car was the Audi 80 and 90 Quattro. The XR4X4 had a torque split of one third to its front wheels and two thirds to its rear wheels, while the 80/90 Quattro had a 50/50 torque split.

The suspension of the XR4X4 was stiffer than that of the XR4i, and a viscous coupling rear differential was standard. These improvements made it obvious that more power was needed to take advantage of the possibilities offered by its chassis. Many aftermarket companies offered turbocharging conversions. But the only factory standard Ford which offered more power to match the potential of the Sierra XR chassis was the South African XR8 (q.v.)

Following a reshuffle of the Sierra range in 1990 a 2-litre XR4X4 was introduced. This was powered by the 125 HP DOHC inline four engine.

Technical data on the 2.8 litre Ford Sierra XR4X4
Technical data on the 2.9 litre Ford Sierra XR4X4