New Taurus Coming Next Year
By Igor Holas
The Ford crowd has been buzzing for while with the imminent coming of a brand-new Taurus, and after some initial offhand comments last year, and a frank admission yesterday, from Mulally himself, we now know it is indeed coming. In the summer of 2007 Mulally confessed he had seen the new Taurus and that it made his “eyes water.” Yesterday, Mulally added oil to the fire by stating the new Taurus is coming next year.
The car will be much more attractive than the outgoing model. The car will be a child of designer Freeman Thomas. This is the guy responsible for the Interceptor concept (and previously, the Chrysler 300, and Audi TT). Given the choice of designer, and the design themes shown recently by Thomas, it is not unreasonable to assume the Interceptor was a preview of the Taurus styling.
The big unknown is which platform will underpin the new car. Originally, it was a given that the new Taurus will ride on “D32”, the new architecture that debuted with the Lincoln MKS. The D32 originated from the D3 on which the Taurus rides now, but was substantially reworked: it was made smoother, stronger, and more responsive. The D32 platform was developed as a Lincoln platform and the original plan was for Ford was to use a slightly cheaper version for its models.
Recently, however, insiders have been mentioning a rear-drive Taurus more and more prominently. This came as a bit of a surprise to many Ford observers. First, the Taurus heritage is quite tame and family friendly; not the best canvas in the past for a performance-oriented large sedan. Insiders have pointed out that the D3 and D32 platforms can be modified for RWD, but given the FWD nature of MKS, this still seemed too good to be true, and simply unlikely. Ford is also working on the new global RWD platform, but that architecture seems to be still at least two years away.
At this point, no one at Ford is speaking aloud about the underpinnings of the new Taurus, and it is quite possible that the RWD chatter concerns the next generation of this vehicle – the one probably debuting around 2014.
EcoBoost and Hybrid
One thing that is a given is the engine. The 3.5l V6 from the current Taurus will carry over without any changes, and so will the six-speed automatic transmission. The newly introduced 3.5l EcoBoost engine will also be offered, and finally, if Ford plays its cards right, a new 2.0l I4 EcoBoost developing 275 horses and foot-pounds and a 3.5l V6-based full-hybrid will be there to round up the engine offerings.
Revealed in Three Weeks?
We left the best for last. Inside information is pointing to Ford revealing the new Taurus in Chicago Auto Show in less than three weeks. Ford has not told us anything yet, and we do not know yet whether what we see will be a concept or a production vehicle, but the chance is pretty good that we will not have to wait too long to see the new car.
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