Thursday, April 21, 2011

Building on class-leading customer satisfaction and a legacy of technology and safety recognition, the new Ford Taurus brings sporty design cues to a more differentiated series lineup that offers even more dynamic driving characteristics.

“Our vision for the next Taurus was to make our Blue Oval signature sedan even more of a flagship,” said Gordon Platto, Taurus chief designer. “We aimed to increase design differentiation between series models while making Taurus a sportier package across the board.”

Platto and the Taurus design team widened the grille and lower front fascia opening to give the car a more muscular, athletic stance. Beyond the grille and front fascia, the new Taurus features a new hood, new headlamps, taller rear fenders, a new decklid and dramatic taillamps with LED illumination.

A decklid-mounted spoiler is available on SEL and Limited models and standard on the line-topping Taurus SHO. The base road wheel has been upped to a 17-inch painted aluminum finish. Across series, an 18-inch wheel is offered along with three 19-inch and two 20-inch alternative choices.

“Taurus and Taurus SHO customers told us they wanted more differentiation between models,” said Platto. “Starting with SHO, we’ve added a mesh grille in contrasting black with harmonizing sideview mirrors, specific wheels and unique side fender vents. It’s an aggressive while still subtle look, in keeping with the understated ethos of the model.”

Inside the next Taurus, driver-focused elements and a fresh interior color — Dune — add elegance and sportier character. Each Taurus series model features unique fabrics and trims with new appliques on the instrument panel, door trim and center console.

“The sportier new Taurus design is backed up by significantly enhanced chassis dynamics,” said Mark Lecrone, vehicle dynamics supervisor. “Larger, more aggressive wheel and tire packages, revised spring and damper rates, across-the-board electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) with a hard-mounted steering rack and quicker steering ratio combine to make the car more fun and responsive for the enthusiast. At the same time, the enhanced Taurus dynamics package makes it a confidence builder for less-experienced drivers.”

Enthusiast drivers will appreciate the addition of torque vectoring control, a dynamic innovation usually found only in high-ticket sports cars.

When cornering, torque vectoring control uses very slight braking forces applied to the inside front wheel to help Taurus accelerate through a corner. Imperceptible to the driver, this minute braking action helps stabilize the car, allowing for more torque to reach the tarmac. Making the car feel lighter and more responsive, torque vectoring provides an effect similar to a limited-slip differential. Torque vectoring control is standard on the new Taurus.

The new Taurus adds curve control, a unique Ford braking control innovation aimed at slowing the vehicle, if it senses that a driver inadvertently enters a curve too quickly. With application of four-wheel smart braking, the vehicle can reduce speed swiftly.

Entering a curve, on- or off-ramp too quickly is a situation found to contribute to more than 50,000 crashes each year in the U.S.

Curve control is effective on wet or dry pavement. When the vehicle enters a curve too fast, the system responds by rapidly reducing torque and increasing brake pressure to help keep the vehicle under control.

Based on Ford’s exclusive AdvanceTrac®, curve control uses sensors to measure roll rate, yaw rate, lateral acceleration, wheel speed and steering wheel angle, running calculations based on those inputs 100 times every second. Curve control — a Taurus class-exclusive feature — is standard on all Taurus models.

Taurus brakes have been enhanced with a larger master cylinder, revised booster tuning for improved brake feel and upgraded friction material for additional resistance to fade.

“While Taurus dynamics have been elevated across the entire range, we offer an uncompromised package for the serious enthusiast,” said Lecrone. “The Taurus SHO Performance Package features a special sport-tuned suspension with specific dampers and springs, combined with recalibrated EPAS and a true off setting to disengage the electronic stability control. Performance summer-compound tires provide the ultimate in sport-sedan handling and responsiveness.”

“Our team is committed to continuously improving the Taurus, and in developing the new car we’ve continued to benchmark up-class competitors such as Audi A6,” said Chris Atkinson, exterior craftsmanship leader. “Our surface gaps and panel margins are among the best.”

Inside the next Taurus, craftsmanship has been elevated with increased soft-touch materials, cloth-wrapped pillars and cloth-wrapped padding on the center console walls.

All new Taurus models feature new Ford switchgear for a uniform, linear feel and response.

The glove compartment and console storage space are now flock-lined to deliver a higher level of fit and finish. In the trunk, the scuff cover is now spring-loaded and wire covering has been added to make the cargo space easier to use and more pleasing to the eye.

Craftsmanship included making the new Taurus even quieter. An insulator was added behind the instrument panel to further minimize powertrain noise, while additional baffles were added to the body structure for sound deadening. Wheel-well liners were added to minimize intrusive road noise.

Building on its Top Safety Pick and five-star crash rating legacy of safety leadership, Taurus adds smarter airbags that tether and vent, precisely tailoring airbag deployment to each vehicle occupant.

Taurus continues to employ the Trinity crash structure, so named for the three elements that help protect Taurus occupants in frontal crash situations.

The initial element is an ultra-high-strength boron steel beam to absorb impact. Crash forces are then transferred to boron “shotgun rails” that diagonally transmit impact forces to the rigid roof panel. Finally, the decoupling engine cradle is designed to drop from the subframe under impact to help prevent the powertrain from encroaching on the passenger cabin.

The 2013 Taurus will be manufactured at Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant.

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