1985 Merkur XR4Ti

“For the North American continent the Merkur XR4Ti represents an innovative, new total performance machine.”

The Merkur XR4Ti never had a chance.

There, I’ve said it. Though the redoubtable Bob Lutz was involved, I can’t even imagine the combination of decisions that made Ford think that selling a Karmann-assembled version of the European Ford Sierra at Lincoln-Mercury dealers in the mid-1980s was ever going to work out.

Because the Cologne 2.8 liter V6 the Sierra used in Germany could not clear US emissions, the engine the XR4Ti received was Ford’s Lima 2.3 liter turbocharged and fuel injected inline four cylinder, making 175 bhp with the five speed manual transmission and 145 bhp (ouch!) with the three speed automatic transmission. 0-60 came in about 7 seconds with the manual and top speed was a little under 130 mph. Fuel economy wasn’t very good: with the manual it was 19 city/24 highway by the standards of the day (17/22 by today’s standards).

Base price for the 1985 XR4Ti was $16,361 (about $35,700 in 2014 dollars). Standard exterior and mechanical features included flush headlamps, power disc brakes, nitrogen pressurized shock absorbers, and the famous (and polarizing) biplane rear spoiler derived from the one on the Probe III dream car. Pirelli P6 195/60HR14 tires were fitted on 14-inch wheels.

Insider, standard equipment included air conditioning, variable ratio power steering, power mirrors, a 60/40 folding rear seat, and an AM/FM stereo with cassette player.

Options were relatively few: Convenience group (power door locks, power windows, and cruise control), moonroof, leather, heated seats, and metallic paint.

1985 Merkur print advertisement.
1985 Merkur print advertisement.

According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for an 1985 Merkur XR4Ti in #1 condition is $6,300. I find it interesting that Hagerty tracks them at all—there are many of what I think would be equally interesting cars that they don’t track. You rarely see them for sale in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds—they are at least a little more common on eBay Motors.

Make mine Paris Blue Metallic with the optional Gray leather interior, please. The real question is how many are left.