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Redesigned Ford Taurus debuts at the Detroit auto show

Sat, 10 Jan 2009

Ford's most famous nameplate is unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show .

Designer Moray Callum's latest project at Ford wasn't designing just another car. He was charged with making over one of the company's most-famous nameplates: Taurus. Granted, it's not like he was asked to spruce up the Mona Lisa, but the Taurus holds a lofty place at Ford and expectations for the new car are quite high.

"I was charged with putting Taurus back on top," Callum said. "This is Ford's new flagship ... it's not a family car, but an aspirational car, built with craftsmanship and good design."

At first glance, the Taurus looks bigger than the previous car. An adaptation on Ford's three-bar grille has been influenced by the trapezoidal face found on Ford of Europe cars. This is a trend of the future as Ford moves to make the same products sold around the world.

The body panels are more sculptured than we've seen on previous models of Taurus, and with a flatter roof, there's an air of elegance about the new car.

Inside, designers have given the car a cockpit feel, with a raised console and dual binnacle gauges like those found on the Mustang.

"This is more of a 'me' car than a family car," Callum said.

Work on the new Taurus began about two years ago and benefited from 3D virtual modeling, according to Pete Reyes, the car's chief engineer. "The computer modeling took a year out of the process," Reyes said.

The Taurus rides on the same platform as the Lincoln MKS. Reyes promises steering and handling to be significantly better than the old model and he said it will be the quietest car in the Ford fleet.

Powering the Taurus, at least initially, will be the company's V6 workhorse, the 3.5-liter Duratec making 262 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. The engine will be fitted to a six-speed automatic with steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters.

And while no formal announcement was made, you can bet Ford's 3.5-liter Ecoboost V6, making 350 horsepower, will be an option once the engines are in full production. Ford execs said that by 2013, 90 percent of engines produced by Ford will be Ecoboost variants.

The Taurus will also be available with the bevy of new electronic features Ford is rolling out, including adaptive cruise control with collision mitigation and a heads-up display, blind spot warning system, and active park assist. Also, for the first time, the Taurus will sport a branded sound system, this one coming from electronics giant Sony.

The new Taurus makes its way to showrooms this summer.

Detroit Auto Show News

By Roger Hart