Everyone knows about Ford Sierra – once boring old man’s car, it is viral among car enthusiasts today. This large family car was in production between 1982 and 1993, and while it was released as Sierra in Europe, this model was also known as Ford Sapphire and Merkur XR4Ti in other parts of the world.
1986 came, and Ford introduced a future legend – Sierra Cosworth. It had a 2.0-liter OHC turbocharged engine, producing 201 HP. This piece of art was built for Group A racing, and an even more powerful version, which was called RS500, was released a year later. Ford Sierra Cosworth models always were very agile, beautiful, and special pieces of automotive engineering.
But have you heard about Ford Sierra XR8? The 8 stands for eight cylinders, by the way.
The story behind the XR8
Ford was eager to take part in a Group One racing in the 80s. They needed a powerful and agile car that could compete with legendary saloons, such as BMW 725 and Alfa Romeo GTV6.
One of the requirements to compete in this race was to use a production car. Back then, at least 200 models had to be sold for it to become a production car. So, Ford manufactured 250 examples of this extreme Sierra powered by a 5.0-liter V8 engine and sold them in South Africa. Every single car was painted in Diamond white.
This decision made Ford Sierra XR8 eligible for 1985 Group One racing. In fact, you can take a look at the same race Ford Sierra XR8 was made for:
Is it any good?
Ford Sierra XR8 was a true beast back in the 80s, and competing in Group One racing proves the point. However, today’s standards have changed, and it’s easy to see the difference just by looking at the shared footage, where professional drivers are trying to keep their wobbly cars on the track. So, there’s still plenty of power and the Sierra is dancing all the time.
But it can do 0-100 km/h in less than 7 seconds because of a 5.0-liter V8 small block engine, the same used in a Mustang. This engine delivered 201 HP and let the car top out at 225 km/h. Even a sporty 1986 BMW 325i needed more than 8 seconds to reach 100 km/h.
Sure, these numbers aren’t worth boasting today, but it meant THE BUSINESS back then.
How about buying one today?
Bear in mind that the main point of Ford Sierra XR8 was to participate in Group One racing, not to get as much profit as possible from sales. These cars were pretty affordable, people didn’t pay much for them back then, and there are videos on the internet of Ford Sierra XR8s participating in drifts, drag races, and various beat the hell out of it activities.
So, only 250 of these sports cars were made, and probably only a fraction left in the original condition. If you’re lucky, you may find a decent example for no less than 20.000€. Besides, I hope you have the patience of a saint in this case.
A large V8 lump should smell like business. But in the end it was not very powerful and the body was a 5-door hatchback only. That's a shame, because 3-door hatches are so much prettier!
- Good bits: Cool fact here - the sierra had so many different engines to choose from. Although this was the rarest of them all.
- Shameful points: Well, it certainly wasn't a success. It's a rare car with 250 units only made (all of them RHD) and at that price I don't see it in my garage.