When people think of the Ford Tempo and its twin, the Mercury Topaz, no one thinks of either as being some sort of performance maven. The early 1980s were, after all, a pretty dark time for automotive enthusiasts, and the Tempo and Topaz were aerodynamic yet economical and affordable little cars. But Ford did infuse both with some extra power to create the Ford Tempo GLS and Mercury Topaz XR5, though in rather scant quantities.
This 1992 Mercury Topaz XR5 for sale in Canada via Kijiji is one of just 464 produced, which makes it incredibly rare. This is especially true today because there’s no telling how many of these special vehicles still exist. And though it won’t blow anyone away with its performance numbers, the XR5 is a pretty cool and rather obscure little compact sports coupe.
That can be attributed to the fact that the Mercury Topaz XR5 came standard with Ford’s Vulcan 3.0L V6, borrowed from the Taurus, which made a just-fine 130 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. Perhaps more importantly, it was mated to the Taurus SHO’s five-speed manual transmission, which made it much more fun to drive.
That combination propelled the XR5 from 0-60 miles-per-hour in 7.8 seconds and down the quarter-mile in 16.1 seconds at 85 miles-per-hour. Additional enhancements included stiffer shocks, a thicker front anti-roll bar and the addition of a rear anti-roll bar, along with 15-inch aluminum wheels borrowed from the Escort GT and GXP.
The XR5 also came with additional body cladding, fog lights, two-tone paint, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, upgraded door trim, a sportier gauge cluster, and bucket seats to give it more visual appeal.
Ultimately, the XR5 and GLS only lasted one model year, due to poor sales, which only adds to their intrigue. This particular survivor isn’t in the greatest shape, with fading paint, worn tires, and a cracked windshield, but then again, it isn’t exactly like these things pop up for sale every day.