While American fans of Ford performance cars in the '80s and early '90s were loving the 5.0 Mustang, Taurus SHO and, for those who wanted to be a little different, the Merkur XR4Ti, British fans of the Blue Oval were getting their own unique take on speed. The Sierra RS Cosworth (which was similar but not identical to the aforementioned Merkur) and later Escort RS Cosworth were the stuff of dreams with huge wings, hood vents and big power for their time and class. XCar Films aims to find out whether it is little more than nostalgia that makes these classics famous or it really is their legitimate performance.

Thanks to its Formula One and racing success, Cosworth was already a well-established performance name in the UK by the time it began selling tuned engines to Ford for the Sierra and Escort. The Sierra RS Cosworth hit the scene in 1986 with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 204 horsepower and rear-wheel drive. Its huge wing at the back signaled it immediately as something special, and it proved to be a performance powerhouse on and off the track. When it was retired, Ford replaced it with the Escort RS Cosworth that used an upgraded version of the same engine with 217 hp, all-wheel drive and an even bigger rear wing to net yet more racing victories.

XCar really gets into the spirit of the time, opening the video with the lo-fi grain of '80s and '90s TV, but to find out whether the Cossies stand up to modern scrutiny, you have to watch the video below. Stay tuned until the end to enjoy them at their best with some vintage motorsports footage.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 5 Comments
      AcidTonic
      • 6 Months Ago
      The Escort Cosworth was tested on a track against the 300bhp Focus RS and was faster. AWD really is that good, even if down on power by nearly 100 horsepower. It's a shame Ford dropped out of the AWD turbo game. It turned out to be quite the thorn in their side after the WRX and finally the Evo came overseas due to the GrandTurismo franchise showing people what they were missing. If Ford was on their game the Evo and STI would probably have never been imported. But they killed the AWD turbo car which led to the WRX showing up in 2002 and the Evo in 2003. Mostly because they were forbidden fruit with AWD when no such car was available in the USA. But if the Cosworth was still around, I'd venture to guess that the overwhelming fan desire in the early 2000's would have been non-existent. Now even the 2003 Evo is better than anything Ford has built with a four cylinder since the cosworth. It's 11 years old yet still has the drivetrain people want, 276hp when the Focus ST has 250hp, even with AWD it weighed 3260lbs when the Focus ST weighs 3223lbs according to Ford. Now if there was no Evo or STI I'd have probably bought another Cobra. So killing the Cosworth basically brought an enemy over who stole 2 of my last vehicle purchases from the Blue Oval. It's sad how 10 year old imports still compete with recent small cars from America.
        Matt
        • 6 Months Ago
        @AcidTonic
        Ford may have something for you in 2016...
      captainpaintball
      • 6 Months Ago
      Good, entertaining video. I love those cars.
      JayP
      • 6 Months Ago
      That was pretty cool. Finally.
      aatbloke1967
      • 6 Months Ago
      Fantastic cars. Of the Sierras, the RS500 is the one to get, although nigh on impossible these days. The Escort, which used a variant of the Sierra Cosworth's platform, is the more civilised of the two. Good ones fetch more today than they were priced when new.