Ford Sierra XR4i – An English Merkur XR4Ti

Several years ago while attending the Lime Rock Historic Festival I saw a Ford Sierra XR4i.  These are quite rare cars in the USA.  I was rather glad to have the opportunity to take a closer look at this car.

Ford Sierra XR4i

The Sierra XR4i was powered by a 2.8 liter V6 engine with mechanical fuel injection (Bosch K Jetronic) with rear-wheel drive.  This engine produced 150 horsepower which made the car a lively performer.

The Bi-Wing Rear Spoiler Was Very Noticeable

I find the color of this Sierra XR4i to be quite attractive.  I have heard people say that the two-level rear wing was a little too much.  While watching a recent episode of “Wheeler Dealers” on television, it was stated that the original designers wanted to have a three-level rear wing.  During the “Wheeler Dealers” show they then added a third wing on the back and I thought that it looked just fine.

The Sierra Badging Does Not Stand Out Particularly Well

During the life of the car, two different styles of 3-door body were used with the Sierra; one with two pillars rear of the door that was used on the XR4i and a one-pillar design used for the very high-performance RS Cosworth model.  The RS Cosworth body style is shown below.

Ford Sierra RS Cosworth

At the time of the car’s launch, both styles were already envisaged, and a demonstration model with one style on either side was displayed at a Sierra design exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. However, the one-pillar design was not launched until later.

My Former 1988 Merkur XR4Ti

In the USA, we had the Merkur XR4Ti which was a slightly rebodied version of the English Sierra XR4i. To meet North American regulations, instead of the 2.8L V6 from the XR4i, the Merkur was supplied with an overhead camshaft 2.3 L Ford Pinto four-cylinder engine equipped with a Garrett T3 turbocharger and fuel injection that was also used in the Thunderbird Turbo coupe, the Mustang SVO, and the Mercury Cougar XR7.  This engine produced 175 horsepower which was 25 horsepower more than the English XR4i.

Due to the XR4Ti not using a standard Sierra body and power train, final assembly was completed by specialty manufacturer Karmann in Rheine, West Germany. The Merkur was introduced for the 1985 model year.  In early 1989, sadly, the XR4Ti was discontinued.  I had a 1988 Merkur XR4Ti.  I liked it.  Maybe someday I’ll buy one again.  The performance of that car was impressive especially when the turbocharger spooled up.  As with a lot of 1980s turbocharged cars, it did have a significant turbo delay – you plant the gas pedal and wait for that turbo to rev up, then the car would take off like a scalded cat.

The Ford Sierra XR4i V6 Engine

The curious thing about this Ford Sierra XR4i is that it doesn’t have a Ford XR4i engine.  I don’t know what engine it has, but the engine shown below sure isn’t a V6 engine that came with the standard Ford Sierra XR4i.

This Does Not Look Like A Common XR4i Engine

The engine looks like it is a 2.0 to 2.5 liter 4-cylinder engine with a cross flow head, dual overhead camshaft and fuel injected.  It looks like this engine has significant power.  If someone knows what engine this is, then I would like to know.  Would it be similar to the RS Cosworth engine?

The Air Intake Trumpets Are Impressive

Note that in the title I referred the Ford Sierra XR4i as the English Merkur XR4Ti, but the English might say that the Merkur XR4Ti was the English XR4i.

If you have any comments, questions or can identify the engine in this car then please leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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6 Responses to Ford Sierra XR4i – An English Merkur XR4Ti

  1. Charlville says:

    It looks perhaps Japanese in origin, it’s injected not carburated 🙂 The Police over here used both XR4i and Cosworth Sierras as both marked and unmarked vehicles in my time working at a Ford dealer. I know this as we used to do the warranty work 🙂 Interesting story regarding the Bristol Police who apparently fitted a Cosworth spoiler to an XR4i causing it to roll at speed?

  2. Charlville says:

    Sorry, put my comment in the wrong place initially!

    It looks perhaps Japanese in origin, it’s injected not carburated 🙂 The Police over here used both XR4i and Cosworth Sierras as both marked and unmarked vehicles in my time working at a Ford dealer. I know this as we used to do the warranty work 🙂 Interesting story regarding the Bristol Police who apparently fitted a Cosworth spoiler to an XR4i causing it to roll at speed?

    • On closer look, I agree that you are right and the car is fuel injected and I have made the appropriate change to my original post. If the engine is Japanese, then I wonder if the whole car is questionable. I am now wondering if the car is a Merkur made over to look like a XR4i. I am giving serious consideration to deleting the whole post.
      Steve McKelvie

  3. Charlville says:

    The other alternative is that it may be an adapted Ford Zetec , this looks a bit too big though 🙂 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Zetec_engine

  4. Charlville says:

    Last attempt, it looks a lot like the Ford Duratec, however the distributor is throwing me off, see what you think? http://www.burtonpower.com/parts-by-category/engine-components/complete-engines.html The intake branding Omex, is well known over here and they also offer full engine packages http://omextechnology.co.uk/Omex%20Duratec%20VVC%202_5%20Engine%20v3_0.pdf

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