For Ford, nothing quite gave its mundane family sedans the spit-and-polish like the Taurus SHO high-performance sedan. The original Taurus SHO debuted as a 1989 model, and its performance (for the day) was stunning. For the record, the initials SHO come from Super High Output.
A comparison between the 2010 and 1989 Taurus SHO models will give you a glimpse of how far cars have developed in two decades:
2010 Ford Taurus SHO 1989 Ford Taurus SHO
Engine: 3.5-liter V-6 with 365 hp 3.0-liter V-6 with 220 hp
Transmission: 6-speed automatic 5-speed manual
Drivetrain: All-wheel drive Front-wheel drive
Brakes: 4-wheel disc with ABS 4-wheel disc
Stability control: Standard Not available
Standard wheel: 19-inch 15-inch
Standard tire: P255/45VR19 P215/65VR15
Wheelbase (in): 112.9 106.0
Overall length (in): 202.9 188.4
Width (in): 76.2 70.8
Height (in): 60.7 54.1
1989 Ford Taurus SHO
Back in the day, the 1989 Ford Taurus SHO ripped off 1/4-mile times in the low 15-second range and had a top speed of just over 140 mph. The 2010 Taurus SHO with an additional 145 horsepower should dispatch with the quarter in the mid-14 second range. Top speed for the new SHO is unknown, but I expect that it will be electronically limited to something south of 150 mph.
While we're unable to report driving impression on the 2010 Ford Taurus SHO even though we're driving it today (due to a press embargo), you can get a good impression of what's to come by clicking over to my report on driving the 2010 Lincoln MKS Sport with the EcoBoost engine.
While it's been a few years since I've driven a first-generation Taurus SHO (1989-1991), I remember the car vividly. A friend of mine owned several, and we used to trade cars at lapping sessions we attended at road courses around the country. Ford contracted Yamaha to design and build the 3.0-liter V-6, and the engine could rev seemingly forever.
The front-wheel-drive chassis was well balanced, but in the absence of ABS or any type of stability control, the driver was totally responsible for quick lap times and/or accidents.
Certainly, the 2010 Taurus SHO is a more substantial vehicle, just as any contemporary car is larger and better equipped than its equivalent of twenty years ago. It remains to be seen how the new, larger, and heavier Taurus SHO will perform on the road and track, but I hope it responds with the lightness and directness of the original SHO. The original Taurus was a mid-size sedan, while the 2010 Taurus is a full-size vehicle.
Stay tuned for driving impressions on the new SHO, because they're coming soon: June 23.