The current Ford Taurus may only be two years old, but the Blue Oval folks haven't wasted any time enhancing its design, powertrains and levels of content. The 2013 model year mid-cycle refresh encompasses more aggressive styling tweaks for both the base Taurus and high-end SHO, and Ford's executives aren't afraid to admit that they've used the Audi A6 as the benchmark car in the Taurus' segment.
Under the hood, a new 2.0-liter EcoBoost inline-four is available in the non-SHO Taurus, and the powertrain is estimated to achieve up to 31 miles per gallon on the highway. The standard 3.5-liter V6 now has bigger stones as well, ringing up at 290 hp (+27). The disappointing news in all of this, however, is that the SHO's 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 has not been enhanced in any way – it still produces 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. Sorry, folks – no 400-horsepower SHO for now.
Ford says it has fitted an upsized master cylinder to the brake system for improved response and feel, and the brake pads are new as well. From our vantage point, the SHO's brakes have been its weak link, so we're hoping these alterations result in a meaningful bump in performance.
The updated 2013 Taurus range is making its official debut here at the New York Auto Show, and we've just returned from seeing the cars live in the metal. Click through our high-res image galleries below to see Ford's refreshed flagship for yourself.
Photos copyright ©2011 Steven J. Ewing / AOL
Taurus Limited offers luxury levels of customer comfort, convenience and connectivity technologies, while still projected to deliver up to 31 highway mpg when fitted with 2.0-liter EcoBoost power
• Ford Taurus is even more refined for the 2013 model year – with better fuel economy, more technology, enhanced design, improved craftsmanship and sharpened driving dynamics
• New Taurus expected to deliver best-in-class fuel efficiency – at least 31 mpg highway – with the new 2.0-liter EcoBoost™ engine, while delivering horsepower comparable to competitive, normally aspirated V6 offerings
• New Ford Taurus SHO sedan is sportiest model yet to wear SHO badge, offering unique, performance-inspired design, road manners to match – and even more differentiation in the Taurus lineup
NEW YORK, April 19, 2011 – The new Ford Taurus delivers more of what large sedan customers really want for the 2013 model year – with even better fuel economy, more technology, design refinement, improved craftsmanship and enhanced driving dynamics.
"We have significantly upgraded Ford's flagship sedan through obsessive attention to detail," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas. "The new Taurus builds on the transformation we achieved in the 2010 model. Delivering so many upgrades so soon further underscores Ford's leadership and commitment to delivering high-quality, fuel-efficient cars for our customers."
Greener, yet powerful A choice of new engines offers customers increased fuel efficiency, without compromising the responsive performance they want.
Taurus is the first car in Ford's North American lineup to offer the advanced 2.0-liter EcoBoost™ engine, combining a turbocharger with gasoline direct injection. It is expected to deliver best-in-class highway fuel economy of at least 31 mpg. Providing plenty of power, the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine will deliver an estimated 237 horsepower and 250 lb.-ft. of torque.
The standard Taurus 3.5-liter V6 is projected to deliver unsurpassed fuel efficiency among V6 segment competitors while still delivering increased performance from an anticipated 290 horsepower. This is accomplished with the addition of twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT), enabling increased fuel economy while delivering 27 more horsepower, a reduction in part-throttle emissions and increased responsiveness.
Both engines are mated with unique six-speed automatic transmissions that offer optimized gear selection for off-the-line power delivery in lower gears, while benefiting fuel economy with higher gears that keep the engine turning efficiently at lower revolutions while cruising.
Each Taurus powertrain features additional technologies to help conserve fuel, such as:
• Low-tension front end accessory drive belt
• Smart battery management
• Aggressive deceleration fuel shutoff
• Variable-displacement air conditioning compressor
• Reduced friction lubricants
• Electric power-assisted steering (EPAS)
The team put special emphasis to fit all new Taurus models with EPAS to improve steering response by speeding up the steering ratio and rigidly mounting the steering rack to the subframe. The EPAS system also allows for a high degree of tuning by Ford vehicle dynamics engineers to optimize steering feel, pleasing enthusiast drivers and serving as a confidence builder for less-experienced drivers.
The Taurus interior keeps green with extensive use of recycled material in the cloth surfaces, in the headliner, and in noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) control components. Taurus seat cushions are comprised of a high concentration of soy foam, significantly reducing petroleum-based substances.
Even smarter America's most innovative full-size sedan gets even smarter with an array of even more class-leading technologies including SYNC® with MyFord Touch™, which replaces many traditional buttons, knobs and gauges with clear, colorful LCD screens and steering wheel-mounted five-way toggles. These screens can be personalized to display information relevant to each driver by using voice command, keeping the driver's eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
MyFord Touch is powered by a new version of Ford's award-winning SYNC system, combining voice control for vehicle functions, enabled Bluetooth® devices, MP3 players and a wide variety of external media.
The new Taurus also adds Ford's intuitive active park assist technology, making life simpler and more convenient for customers.
Taurus also offers the following comfort and convenience technologies:
• New heated steering wheel adds to the comfort of the heated and cooled leather-trimmed seats
• Multicontour seats with Active Motion™, a Taurus class-exclusive offering, help to reduce driver and first-row passenger fatigue with a subtle rolling massage pattern
• Intelligent Access with push-button start, allowing the driver to enter the car and start the engine via push button simply by having the key fob in his or her possession
• Auto high beams employ a sensor to switch headlamps to high beam when no oncoming traffic is detected
• Rain-sensing wipers use an advanced optical sensor to detect the intensity of rain and/or snowfall to automatically adjust wiper speed
• Rear view camera activates when reverse gear is selected, projecting via the center stack-mounted 8-inch screen
• Rear window power sunshade, a luxury-class feature that shades the rear glass at the touch of a button, helping to keep the cabin cooler
In addition, Taurus is available with a wide variety of audio and navigation connectivity alternatives.
Packed with detail Taurus quality begins with design refinement. Building on the completely reinvigorated 2010 model, the new Taurus features a more muscular hood. Larger wheels and tires fill out the wheel-well openings, giving Taurus an athletic stance. Rear quarter panels have been raised, enabling larger, full LED taillamps. Without increasing overall dimensions or vehicle weight, the new Taurus looks more streamlined, substantial and sporty.
Improved driving dynamics is a quality the driver will feel. Beyond the across-the-board transition to EPAS, the hard-mounted steering rack with a faster ratio, springs and dampers have been optimized to provide improved vehicle handling, combined with improved ride quality.
The new Taurus dynamics benefit from the addition of torque vectoring control. This feature uses a slight – virtually imperceptible to the driver – amount of braking force on the outside front wheel when accelerating through a corner. This minimal brake force provides an effect similar to a limited-slip differential. The result is a vehicle that feels smaller and more maneuverable, with more control when increasing speed through curves.
This innovative feature will please enthusiasts while serving as a confidence builder for less-seasoned drivers. Torque vectoring control – normally found in high-ticket sports cars – is a Taurus class-exclusive feature. In addition, this feature is standard.
The new Taurus adds curve control, a unique Ford braking control innovation aimed at slowing the vehicle, if it senses that a driver inadvertently enters a curve too quickly. With application of four-wheel smart braking, the vehicle can reduce speed by up to 10 mph in approximately one second.
Entering curves or on- and off-ramps too quickly contributes to more than 50,000 crashes each year in the U.S. Curve control is a Taurus class-exclusive offering.
Across the board, all new Taurus models will receive a larger brake master cylinder with revised booster tuning, resulting in a shorter pedal ratio and dramatically improved pedal feel. Brake friction material has been upgraded for improved fade resistance and performance.
Exterior craftsmanship for the new Taurus has been improved through the employment of digital pre-assembly. This advanced technology enables engineers to address potential issues in Taurus manufacturing while still in the online phase and ensures precise, uniform surface gaps and margins once series production is initiated. Taurus was benchmarked against Audi A6 for exterior fit and finish.
Inside, no detail went untouched. Taurus' interior craftsmanship is elevated through expanded use of soft-touch, high-quality materials inside the cabin. Upgraded materials across the instrument panel and throughout the center console are evidence of continuous improvement. Additional improvements extend to cloth-wrapped A-, B- and C-pillars, flock-lined glovebox and console storage and new switchgear. This passionate attention to detail even reaches inside the trunk space, which is completely dressed.
NVH control has been enhanced in the new Taurus with the addition of A-pillar and cowl baffles and acoustic wheel-well liners to quiet road noise.
Safe Taurus The new Taurus builds on a legacy of safety, as the current model earned an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick rating. The stiff Taurus structure contains much high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels, including boron.
Taurus features the Trinity front-crash architecture, named for the three elements that are designed to absorb and redirect crash forces away from vehicle occupants. These components consist of an ultra-high-strength boron front beam to absorb initial impact force, boron "shotgun rails" that transfer impact forces in a diagonal path to the roof panel, and a decoupling engine cradle within the front subframe to help prevent the powertrain from interfering with the cabin.
Taurus also features Side Protection And Cabin Enhancement (SPACE®) Architecture, a hydroformed cross-car beam embedded in the floor between the door frames to help provide additional strength on the sides of the vehicle. A rigid roof crossmember, side-impact door beams and boron B-pillar reinforcement also contribute to side-impact protection.
In the new Taurus, airbag restraints have been enhanced with optimized tethering and venting to specifically tailor deployment force to occupant size, position and seat belt status. In addition, Taurus features the Safety Canopy® with rollover sensor.
In the event of an airbag deployment, Taurus provides an SOS Post-Crash Alert System™, and features AdvanceTrac® with Electronic Stability Control.
In addition, Taurus offers a complement of driver-aid technologies, such as:
• Adaptive cruise control employing radar technology to monitor traffic up to 600 feet ahead, automatically adjusting Taurus speed to help maintain a safe distance
• Collision warning with brake support, enabled by adaptive cruise control, provides a "heads-up" visual warning combined with an audio signal to alert the driver to slower moving traffic ahead. The system also pre-charges the brakes to aid stopping
• Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) is designed to alert the driver if another vehicle is driving within a potential blind spot
• Cross-traffic alert, enabled by BLIS, senses and warns the driver of oncoming traffic from either direction when the Taurus is backing out of a driveway or parking space
• MyKey® owner controls feature allows parents or fleet administrators to activate restricted driving modes. MyKey can limit top speeds and audio volume, provides earlier warnings and prevents deactivation of stability control systems. A new MyKey feature can prevent access to blocked satellite radio content
The new Taurus will be manufactured at Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant.
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About Ford Motor Company Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 164,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.