Shown this weekend at the Shanghai Motor Show, the Chinese-market Taurus is longer and more luxurious than the sedan we know on these shores. For starters, its wheelbase has been stretched from 113 inches to 116. That means more legroom for the rear seat; useful in a market where the vehicle's owner is often chauffeured. Those rear seats can power-recline as well, with adjustable lumbar support and massage function. A fold-down armrest holds with controls for the seats, air-con and audio system. And panoramic sunroof tops the whole affair.
That commodious cabin is wrapped in revised sheet metal that's designed to look decidedly more upscale as well. Power is provided by a 2.7-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 of unspecified output but which produces 315 horsepower in the Ford Edge, 325 in the F-150 and 335 in the Lincoln MKX.
This version of the Taurus is earmarked specifically for the Chinese market for the time being, and set to be produced locally at the Changan Ford plant in Hangzhou. Scope out the images in the slideshow above and the details in the press release below for a closer look at Ford's new Chinese flagship.
New Ford Taurus Sets a New Benchmark for Large Sedans in China
- Ford Taurus, a new premium business sedan for China, combines expressive design, exceptional craftsmanship and advanced technology
- Taurus is the latest vehicle delivered as part of Ford's commitment to bring 15 new world-class vehicles to China by 2015
- Powerful, confident and inviting exterior design is matched by a spacious and elegant interior with carefully chosen materials for a sense of prestige
- New high-output twin-turbo 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engine offers effortless power with high efficiency
- Taurus will be manufactured at new $760 million Changan Ford Hangzhou plant
Introducing a new premium sedan for discerning Chinese business customers, Ford today unveiled the new Ford Taurus at a special event in Shanghai. Designed especially to meet the needs of the Chinese market, the vehicle brings the historic Taurus nameplate to China for the first time.
"The Ford Taurus we're introducing today shows the amazing strength and flexibility of our One Ford plan," said John Lawler, chairman and CEO, Ford China. "It combines the best of our global product development and large-car expertise with a clear understanding of what Chinese customers in this segment want."
Ford made full use of its global design and development resources to create the Taurus. Early in the design process, designers and engineers from around the world immersed themselves in China to gain a deeper understanding of the market and key cultural factors influencing design and vehicle preferences. In-depth research of target customers – accomplished, respected professionals – helped to fine-tune design and engineering targets to create an exceptional new vehicle.
"The Ford Taurus was created for highly sophisticated consumers in China who need an equally sophisticated vehicle for both business and personal use," said Marin Burela, president, Changan Ford Automobile Co. "With a powerful, confident and inviting design, a spacious and elegant interior, impeccable craftsmanship, compelling performance and advanced technology, the Ford Taurus makes no compromises as an innovative flagship sedan."
In creating the new Taurus, Ford designers crafted an exterior conveying balance, harmony and a sense of confidence.
At the front of the vehicle, a shield-like, clipped trapezoidal five-bar grille is positioned prominently and flanked by slender, modern headlamps with signature daytime running lights and LED projector lamp technology. Chrome rings house supplemental LED driving lights.
In silhouette, a powerful hood profile and planted architecture give the Taurus a sense of solidity and harmony. Designers elevated the exterior with fine details on the sides, including upswept highlight trim on the doors. Polished 19-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels help to give a bold and premium stance.
At the rear of the vehicle, multi-piece LED tail lights incorporate a distinctive signature appearance. A bright chrome bar connecting the tail lights highlights the vehicle's width for a sense of understated athleticism. Integrated chrome exhaust tips complete the rear and offer another discreet hint at performance.
"We wanted to create a vehicle that displays a maturity of design with balanced and harmonious proportions, tailored to the business customer in China," said Todd Willing, Asia Pacific Design Director and exterior designer for the Ford Taurus. "Our aim was to create a vehicle that is elegant, inviting and quietly confident."
The sense of balance and harmony continues inside with a clean, modern cabin that makes use of smart design and strong horizontal elements for an airy, spacious feel. Above the passengers, a full panoramic sunroof allows more natural light to enter the cabin and adds to a sense of elegance and openness.
The spacious feel is justified by an exceptionally roomy cabin, which takes full advantage of the vehicle's five-meter length and 2.95-meter wheelbase for abundant second-row legroom, and generous shoulder and hip room. Designers and engineers went to great lengths to package features in a way that prioritized interior space. The front panel of the panoramic sunroof, for example, slides back over the rear panel rather than under it, ensuring maximum rear headroom.
Making full use of the car's interior space, designers and engineers placed more than 25 intelligent stowage spaces throughout the cabin. Cup holders designed to securely hold different-sized tea bottles are just one thoughtful detail implemented to meet the needs of consumers. Reflecting the importance of second-row passengers in China – where the owner of a premium vehicle is often a passenger rather than a driver – the second row has been designed with an emphasis on comfort.
In a first for a Ford vehicle in China, the Taurus has power-reclining rear seats with optional adjustable lumbar support and a massage function, helping both rear passengers arrive refreshed at their destination in business-class comfort. Folding down the center seat cushion – friction-hinged for a premium feel – reveals a rear-seat control panel for air conditioning, seat functions and car media. Folding it up allows the vehicle to comfortably accommodate three rear passengers with a 40/20/40 rear-seat layout.
Materials used throughout the cabin reinforce the feeling of comfort and exceptional, uncompromised quality. Ford designers appointed surfaces with soft but durable materials – such as supple leather for the seats – that recall a pair of tailored gloves or a fine wool suit.
These materials are accented by bright chrome finishes for an extra layer of detail and a sense of prestige. The careful application of wood elements adds natural warmth and strength, and underscores the fine craftsmanship of the interior. Extensive use of sound-deadening materials, advanced technologies and precise engineering ensure that whether in the front or rear seats, all occupants are treated to an exceptionally quiet cabin matched by a smooth and comfortable ride.
Powered by Ford's new high-output, twin-turbo 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engine, the Taurus has the effortless power to match its elegant appearance. Drawing from the best of the Ford EcoBoost engine family, this new world-class engine delivers power in a stronger, smarter package. Lightweight materials and advanced controls help the engine to set a new standard for power density and efficiency.
"Beautiful design, craftsmanship, refinement, comfort and power help the Taurus to rise above the typical large sedan, but they are only part of the story," said Burela. "We look forward to sharing more about our new premium business sedan over the months ahead."
The Ford Taurus will be manufactured at the recently opened Changan Ford Hangzhou Plant. Representing a US$760 million investment, the plant is the sixth assembly plant producing Ford vehicles in China. The highly efficient facility uses Ford's latest manufacturing technologies and is capable of producing up to 250,000 vehicles a year on a flexible production line.