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1988 Merkur Scorpio Was A Sophisticated Luxury Player: Video

MotorWeek‘s Retro Reviews are a great way for Blue Oval fans to dive into a little bit of nostalgia, as the YouTube series routinely presents us with blast from the past reviews that conjure up fond memories from years ago. Most recently, we’ve been treated to Retro Reviews of vehicles like the 2001 Ford Focus and the 1997 Ford Taurus SHO, and now, we’ve been blessed with yet another cool look back at another cool car – the 1988 Merkur Scorpio, which isn’t something we see in the U.S. very often these days.

1988 Merkur Scorpio MotorWeek Retro Review - Interior 001

Back in the 1980s, Ford began importing its German-made XR4Ti into the U.S., which was actually just a European Ford Sierra XR4Ti converted for sale in the states. However, since GM owned the rights to the Sierra name at the time, FoMoCo wound up going with a different name, though that model ultimately didn’t sell terribly well. Regardless, the automaker forged ahead with another model – the Merkur Scorpio, which a five-door, five-passenger sedan that was larger, pricier, and more luxurious.

1988 Merkur Scorpio MotorWeek Retro Review - Exterior 002 - Rear Three Quarters

There were quite a few things to like about this European sedan, including its unique styling, copious amounts of passenger and cargo space, and a plush interior complete with wood trim, leather seating, 16-way adjustable seats, plenty of leg and headroom, power everything, solid ergonomics, and even a four-function trip computer. Power came from a 2.9L V6 that churned out 144 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque, which was mated to a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.

While it obviously lacked in terms of straight-line performance, MotorWeek praised the handling and braking of the Merkur Scorpio, though it does note that the suspension tuning was a bit soft for higher-speed cornering. Regardless, that also meant that it presented buyers with a softer ride than most of its German rivals, with a quiet cabin to boot – all at a competitive price.

We’ll have more cool and interesting videos like this to share soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for 24/7 Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. JE

    I still keep a now very rare 1995 Ford Scorpio Cosworth which was succesor of this car in Europe.

  2. Dave Mathers

    Those cars didn’t have enough power to pull the skin off a rice pudding. Gutless wonders, VERY overpriced.

  3. DAB

    I’ve watched that video before. Always like this car and thought the interior was great with a quirky but nice exterior look. I wanted to buy one of these when sold here new, but was quickly talked out of doing so by someone who may have known a bit more about them than I did. Was I “saved” on that one? Don’t know. But these are cool.

    Question: was this sold under the Ford brand or Mercury? I know most were one in the same, and that’s why I don’t really know. I always thought they sold under Mercury because of the name Merkur.

  4. Jim

    You obviously didn’t own one. Excellent high speed car and got decent gas mileage. Loved mine and miss it.

  5. Jim

    Sold under Mercury.

    1. DAB

      Thanks Jim. I was thinking Mercury. The name Mercury Mekur XR4TI seems to sound correct.

  6. kathleen hermann

    1988 Mercur XR4TI has no Fin on back. I had two of them and both had a fin.

  7. JerryH

    Merkur could have easily been a Lincoln sub brand. Pre-Lincoln LS. In addition to the XR4Ti and Scorpio. Of course, the names would have been different and more to the Lincoln level. There could have been sporty coupes/ convertibles. Maybe Lincoln wouldn’t be floundering today as a custom Ford.


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