North America

Merkur XR4Ti (or XR4ti)

XR4Ti logo

Manufactured by: Karmann AG, Osnabrück, Lower Saxony, Federal Republic of Germany
Years produced: 1985 - 1989
Price at launch: $ 19000

The Ford Sierra was never introduced to North America. Instead the company made the Ford Tempo/Mercury Topaz for that market. As this car was not suited as a base for a performance version, another one had to be found for this purpose. It just happened that the Sierra XR4i was nearing an earlier than expected end to its production.

Late model XR4Ti Therefore production of this body and chassis was moved from Ford in Genk to Karmann in Osnabrück. There a 2.3 litre (140 cu. in.) turbocharged engine was installed. This Brazilian made engine was derived from the American Ford engine used for the Pinto and, in turbocharged form, for the Mustang and Thunderbird. With a five-speed gearbox the engine was rated at 175 HP, and with a three-speed automatic it was rated at 145 HP.

Late model XR4Ti This car was given the name Merkur XR4Ti. Merkur is the German name for Mercury. It was sold through selected Lincoln Mercury dealers. The only other car to carry the name Merkur was the Scorpio hatchback for the American market. Initially the XR4Ti looked identical to the XR4i from the outside, with the exception of the fuel filler cap and headlights. Later versions were given different wheels and a smaller rear spoiler. The XR4Ti was sold only in the United States and in Canada.

Due to the better breathing characteristics, and thus the higher volumetric efficiency of the Pinto engine compared to the Cologne engine, the Merkur XR4Ti was used for racing in Europe in preference to the Sierra XR4i. In 1985 Ford provided an XR4Ti to Andy Rouse to prepare and race. It instantly won the British Touring Car Championship in Silverstone, and went to win seven more rounds that year. Thus Andy Rouse achieved a dominant series victory, and also managed to lead the Tourist Trophy race.

Technical data on the Merkur XR4Ti