Ford just delivered this beautiful Atlantic Green 2011 Taurus SHO for review. I've got it for a week and plan to really get to know this car. However, just after a day of driving around town, I've formed a few opinions.
The EcoBoost twin-turbo 3.5L V6 is AMAZINGLY torquey and smooth. It's rated at 365 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 350 torque from 1000 to 5000 rpm, and it is the torque you feel in this car when you punch the pedal. The car however is pretty big and heavy but with the flat torque curve and six speed automatic transmission, the weight isn't bothersome.
I'm still getting used to the size of the car - I thought my 2002 Mustang was a tank compared to my 93 Cobra, but the new SHO reminds me of being in my 2006 F150. The doors are high, there is a foot of headspace and I'm reasonably tall at 5ft 11 inches. The sport tuned suspension and all wheel drive keeps this car feeling very nimble, but I have yet to feel comfortable pushing it like I do my Audi A4 AWD. We'll see if more seat time changes that. Whereas the 2.0L Audi turbo engine and drivetrain are very clunky at low engine speeds, the SHO's drivetrain is absolute pleasure. It always seems to be in the right gear, there is no trace of jumping up and down and boost lag when you need to blip the throttle.
That's it for now, I'll be updating this thread with reviews, driving impressions, and pictures.
I got quite a bit of seat time over the weekend in the 2011 Taurus SHO. I packed the family in for a trip to lake on Fathers Day, as well as some solo jaunts around town and to the gym. As a result I have become more familiar with the car, its limits, as well as a stronger sense of what I like/dislike about it.
First, Ford has some work to do with the paddle shifting. I never understand it when a company which is late to introduce a feature that is well established on the market, does so but with ill conceived modifications. Ford did this with paddle shifting. The standard protocol for paddle shifters is one side shifts down, the other side shifts up. Ford has created a paddle that works, and feels, like shifters on a mountain bike. Pull back on the big ear to shift up and push the thumb lever to downshift. I think. It's confusing, particularly since it is mirrored on the other side of the wheel and there are no marks. To make matters worse, the paddles only work when the floor shift is in the Manual (M) position, AND yet there is no manual shifting available from the floor shifter. Argh.
On the positive side, I LOVE Fords reverse cam. Its got a super-wide, fish eye like view. The gradations telling you how close you are to an object are useful, and to make it fool proof you also get an audible beep that turns to a solid tone when you are too close. The cam has great resolution and somehow works really well at night too.
I really want to like this car, I do. But, the more I drive it, the less I like driving it. It feels bigger and less nimble each day. It does handle nice, don't get me wrong, I have take some pretty hard turns at 50-60 mph and the car sticks, it doesn't roll. However, it doesn't feel natural - it feels as if all the bushings, sway bars, shocks and so forth are all working at their max to keep a big, heavy, boat-like car under control. I have this feeling that in five or six years, when all that stuff wears, the true car underneath is going to show - slop and sway finally emerging. The steering on this car is artificially light.
The wheels on this car bug me. They are 19", which is impressive, but they look truck-like. The wheel wells are too big, requiring a lot of wheel to fill out. 19's barely cut it, so Ford puts a tall side-wall tire on it. It just looks truck like. Take a look at Audi, Bimmer or Porsche - the wheels are big, the sidewall is tiny, and there is little to no gap between the tire and wheel well.