1987 Merkur XR4Ti from North America - Comments

2nd Sep 2003, 08:52

I had an '86 XR4Ti, awesome car loved it!!! Very fun on the interstate in Wisconsin. Everyone would pass me, or try to anyway, trying to figure out what it was. Then slow up and still be confused when the only identifier they saw was the XR4Ti on the rear lid.

If anyone can show me another 4 cyl. automatic completely stock that will push 120+ I would like to know what it is. Beware of shorts in fuel pump wiring harness! That's how mine meet its demise, up in flames, it has been greatly missed.

4th Sep 2004, 18:42

I believe he means 120+ MPH.

24th Oct 2004, 04:29

Yeah man the xr4ti is 175 hp stock!!!

9th Sep 2005, 09:24

Yeah; the guy that attacked with ignorance must be a whiny liberal. Wrong information, ranting bloviations. He went off because he was out to lunch. Typical. These cars are great!

18th May 2006, 15:43

Topping out at a very high speed is not an intrinsically challenging mechanical problem: virtually anything could exceed 120mph -- with "tall" gearing.

My current project rocket is an '89 Prelude with "short" gearing -- despite a 6750 redline. With taller gears, that car would blast over 150 easy.

19th Jul 2006, 19:34

The difference is that this car will get there in a real hurry if you get in the boost. The downright scary thing about the XR4Ti is that you can hit 100+ and not even notice how fast you are going until you look down. It's that smooth, and applies power with little effort given the age of the car.

I'm sure your prelude could do 120, but this is in stock trim. You would have to do a lot of transmission work to get a Prelude to do that.

8th Aug 2006, 15:42

I currently have a 85 Merkur and I love it. With some minor tweaks and a boost controller, it now runs consistent mid 13's in the quarter! Where are the Hondas now? That's right, last time I checked it took my buddy a $5000.00 motor swap to run with me, well he is almost there :) I still beat him by a car or two depending on the launch. So in other words, Merkurs rule! Just wait till I put on all the performance parts.

8th Oct 2006, 01:00

I have a Question? what is really the stock HP of a merkur xr4ti automatic transmission. Merkur are fast sports car and love it better than my neon before I love my merkur better.

10th Mar 2007, 15:48

I'm about to get a xr4ti, and I'm excited as hell!

My girlfriend's uncle had it sitting in the yard of the house he bought from and english guy like 5 years ago, been there ever since, I'm gonna get the seats reupholstered, some turbo upgrades as well as engine upgrades! holy crap, I can't wait!

19th Mar 2007, 09:22

Actually, I can easily hit 120+ in my bone stock 2002 hyundai elantra. Matter of fact, I was doing just that a week or so ago on the AC Expressway.

14th Dec 2007, 09:13

Here in Europe we had the fabulous Sierra RS Cosworth which was based on the same car as the XR4Ti. It was a 2 litre four cylinder DOHC 16v engine with a Garrett T3 turbo making 204 horsepower stock, and over 300 with a simple chip change. The engine's "natural" power output is 300 horsepower and was detuned for insurance and legal reasons. Many owners put it back to how it should be.

As tuning knowledge and fuelling technology has developed, there are now road legal "Cossies" (as we affectionately call them) running 650+ horsepower still from just 1993cc. Later versions had 4wd and were doing twice what the Impreza WRX now does, but 15 years ago.

17th Nov 2008, 19:15

I stumbled across these comments and had to add my own. Way back in 1985, I bought a new red Merkur XR4Ti. My car had an automatic transmission. I really liked that car. I drove it regularly for 16 years. When I finally gave it away, I had 140K miles on it. I loved the turbo kick and it was enough to offset the high repair bills. I managed to get 90K miles out of the first turbo charger. I was charging up a hill in West Virginia when the turbo over boost alarm went off. The alarm got my attention and I lowered my speed. Several days later the bad news included a cracked exhaust manifold. It was an expensive repair, but I gladly paid up. As my car got older, cooling issues kept coming up. Some of those hoses near the turbo were darned expensive. I've had some pretty good cars since, and I own a couple of good Mercedes now. But none of my other cars have been quite as exciting as the Merkur. RIP Xr4Ti.

27th Aug 2009, 04:06

I always liked these cars, but I can understand why Ford stopped importing them. Currency exchange rates were just an excuse, but Ford had the Mustang SVO, Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, Probe Turbo and Taurus SHO.

Ford thought the Merkur would compete against Volvo, Audi, SAAB, BMW and Mercedes in sales, but they lost more sales to other Ford products. The SHO even ended up being faster than the Merkur and the other European and Japanese competition. The top speed, cornering G's, 0-60 and quarter mile times of the Merkur were similar to the other turbo cars, Mazda MX6/Ford Probe Turbo, Volvo 740/940 Turbo, Audi 5000/ 100/200 turbo's, SAAB 900 and 9000 turbo's and Chrysler's Turbo cars.

They put in softer springs for the North American market that allowed too much body roll, and like other powerful rear wheel drive Ford products these cars had a reputation of spinning out in wet weather. And winter driving was so bad that a lot of owners just bought another car for winter and garaged the Merkur. That's great for buyers in the rust belt when you can find a low miles car that's not rusted out.

The engines, turbo's and automatic transmissions didn't stand up to abuse or lack of routine maintenance like the old V8 cars people of the time were used to. I still see cheap Merkurs.

16th Nov 2009, 15:36

I too had a 1985 Merkur Xr4ti. Bought right out of college. Very fast and unique car. Hated to part with it, but had a number of issues that the technicians at Mercury could not repair. Took them the car three times on the same repair and never was fixed correctly. Loved the car... looking to find one to restore in the near future.

2nd Sep 2010, 21:07

I bought a new red XR4Ti in 1988, 5spd. Fast for its time, handled way better than most everything else. Fun to hang with the 5.0's of the day. Had it up to 145 mph on I-95, then speed limiter cut the power, fooling with a Honda Prelude at the time. Had it for 46k miles. Only problem area was the stock radio.

6th Feb 2011, 20:07

Love these cars. About to get one T3T4 turbo setup, fully ported heads, list goes on. I can't wait.

31st Aug 2011, 12:07

Had a brand new blue '87 5-spd, ran it up to 130K before selling, reluctantly. Was totally reliable except for a teeny coolant issue and an exploded battery!

At about 90K, put Koni shocks and struts all around, a Centerforce II clutch, and fatter sway bars and poly bushings.

Loved, loved, loved that car. With 4 snow tires it was even decent in the winter. Not great, but decent.

Would have loved to put a heftier tranny and rear discs in, but alas, I sold it. Still think about it.

9th Dec 2012, 13:35

I got a 1988 Merkur XR4Ti for my oldest son's first car. We have had this car for 17 years. It has been parked behind the barn for the last 7 years. I decided to see if it would still run. I put 5 gallons of fresh gas in it and a battery. It was covered in green algae and black mold. I put in the key, it turned over three times and started right up. Put new tires on it and cleaned it up. I was driving it this last weekend.

My son and I put on a bigger turbo, a Borla dual exhaust, and we converted it to a T5 transmission out of a Mustang with a B&M shifter. This was all done 17 years ago. We have a header, but never got it on the car.

My son will be home for Christmas; we will put on the header then. We plan on keeping this car for many more years. This car has about 89,000 miles on it.

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