New cars -- Ford Scorpio 24v

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100

A Dash of Cosworth

Although the Ford Scorpio and Granada ranges in 4 and 5-door bodies have always been front runners in the British big car selling stakes, the German-built machines have not been without their critics. It is currently fashionable to berate Ford for a range of the roughest engines in production, so the three year Cosworth Ford development programme to place 24-valve heads upon the 2.9i V6 was to address such problems as much as to meet a need for further performance.

The priority was not outright performance, but any gain over the lacklustre standard harvest of 150 bhp at 5700 rpm and 1721b ft of torque on 3000 rpm would obviously be appreciated. Especially in a class where outputs of 200 horsepower are familiar. Cosworth created a 34 per cent gain in horsepower and a 24 per cent advance in torque, specifically 195 bhp at 5750 rpm and 202 lb ft at an elevated 4500 rpm.

Cheaper grades of unleaded fuels are digested by the catalytic convertor-equipped unit at the rate of 18.7 mpg. That was a little higher than the figure computed for us (18.2 mpg) after a brisk day. Outside the engine bay there are effective changes to the brakes and chassis. The front spring rates are only modestly uplifted (as is the roll bar, increased from 27 to 28mm), but those of the rear climb a whopping 23 per cent to slave in association with an 18mm rear antiroll bar. Gas damping rates were also described as “uprated by 15 per cent” fore and a massive 75 per cent, aft.

Normally such statistics would tell us that there is something seriously amiss with the standard product, yet we cannot recall Granada Scorpio drivers bitterly complaining about the roll stiffness of their (frequently) company-owned barges, so we can attribute such changes to a sporting conversion.

The firm ride is a bit harsher at town speeds than some executives would accept in Britain, but no such reservations exist about the brakes, for some lessons from the Sierra RS Cosworth series have allowed near inch thick discs (vented front and rear) of 11.1 and 10.7 inches to cooperate with standard ABSA11 which hold this faster Ford in check.

Standard equipment emphasizes luxury with air conditioning, electrically adjusted seats and sunroof and a compact disc played to occupants who can be surrounded by leather at a total price of £27,893.48.

Further perusal of the torque curve shows that Cosworth had their work cut out enhancing the mid-range delivery of the 24v unit: there is more than 147 lb ft from 1000 rpm upward but the DOHC per bank V6, and its four valves per cylinder, only beat the standard output at 3000 rpm (returning 176.5 lb ft around 3300 rpm). The torque curve between 2500 and 3500 rpm wanders up and down as if it were a drunk let loose in a park.

Despite this apparent aberration, the Ford V6 in Cosworth guise becomes a worthy entrant in the executive class. One that will be handicapped primarily by its rarity (6500 pa will be made, nearly half coming to Britain) and a price tag beyond that of the Jaguar 3.2 Sports Package that we tested recently. –JW