The Manningtree Revival: Sierra XR4x4 2 Tha Max.


Maybe it’s the Essex connection, maybe it’s parental influence, or possibly it’s just that I have appalling, terrible taste. Whatever it is, I love Ford Sierras, and that fact has been well documented here before. Often, the name is suffixed by Cosworth, occasionally with RS500 attached at the very end, an alphanumerical combination that causes very high blood pressure in localised, concealed areas.

This isn’t one of those. You all know about the Merkur XR4Ti, which stemmed from the European Cologne V6 XR4i. Some of you know about the XR4i’s successor, the XR4x4.

This is one of those. With a difference.

XR4i morphed into XR4x4 some time in 1985. The three-door coupe-cum-hatchback shape with that multitude of pillars and the bi-plane rear spoiler reverted to a regular five-door layout, while the silhouette remained exactly the same. XR4 had matured, and really wasn’t any the worse for it.


A CAR road test in 1985 ranked the XR4x4 favourably against the Audi 90 Quattro, saying that it was “..ultimately a better car than the German”. Those who tested it at the time seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. There was a facelift in 1987, bringing with it wrap-around front indicators and a variety of other updates, and eventually bringing a 100cc hike to the capacity of the Cologne V6, though horsepower was left unaffected. This particular, absolutely immaculate example has been somewhat tweaked beyond the specification it carried when it left the factory.


One of the other Fords of My Generation that I really like is the Granada / Scorpio. In mainland Europe the latter name was given to the whole of Fords “big-car” range, whereas here it was reserved for the absolute top-end models, with the Granada name being applied on anything with four cylinders, crank windows and no air-conditioning. Scorpio was even upmarket of Granada Ghia and Ghia X, and we all know how crypto-exotic the name of that Italian styling-house had become. And right at the very top of that unbelievably tall tree, there sat the Scorpio 24v.

Twenty. Four. Valves.  Wow. In 1990, for Ford Man, this was beyond aspirational. Here was 195hp, in a sleek, practical, hatchback shape. And what made it extra horny was the C-word under the bonnet. Yes; Cosworth. If we’re honest, that engine was the best bit of the car. And here is one, under the bonnet of this four-wheel-drive Sierra.


The great thing about this installation is that, whether in early BOA or later, 210hp BOB incarnation, is that the engine is still based on the same old Cologne block making swaps pre-school easy. In my head., anyway. Plus, they both share a similar exhaust note, at least up to mid-revs where the Cossie lump comes even more alive and really comes into its stride. I would be dead keen on having a go in this car, please, Mr Sierra man, Sir, if you’re reading.


One thing I would say is that I’m not absolutely besotted with the wheels, which appear to be Escort Cosworth items, which are clearly a different offset or just too damn wide for the non-flared Sierra wheelwells. Much better to go for a set of Azev “A”s or Borbett “C”‘s or other, period correct rims of awesomeness. Aside from that minor issue, this XR gets my most assured approval.

Can any of you lot see the appeal?

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9 responses to “The Manningtree Revival: Sierra XR4x4 2 Tha Max.”

  1. Number_Six Avatar

    "Can any of you lot see the appeal?"
    Can any of you lot see a more appealing car on the market today?
    -fixed it for ya

  2. MVEilenstein Avatar

    What would it take to stuff this Cosworth into my Focus?

    1. JayP2112 Avatar

      Didn't Cosworth work a head for the 2.3 engine?

    2. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar
      Dean Bigglesworth

      Don't know if it would work but Kugel Komponents makes a kit to install a Ford V8 in the Focus and convert it to RWD. If it doesn't work with the V6, just put a V8 in there.. 😉

  3. wunno sev Avatar
    wunno sev

    am I the only one seeing this in the wheels…?
    <img src=""&gt;

    1. FreeMan Avatar

      That is so…. so…. just….. wrong.

  4. Ate Up With Motor Avatar
    Ate Up With Motor

    Aren't the Cossie engines BDA and BDB, rather than BOA/BOB? I thought "BDA" stood for "Belt-Drive."

    1. smokyburnout Avatar

      The BDA was a four, this is a V6.
      /Love that you're posting articles on your site on a more regular basis again

  5. Manic_King Avatar

    I didn't like V6 Scorpio much. Partly because I spun one out of roundabout and damaged rim of my friends car and partly because generally Scorpios just didn't felt properly planted on the road. I had Sierra XR4i at the time and it felt like glued on the road and more so the faster you went. That damaged rim by the way looked like this, that's the wheel design I remember from fast Fords of eighties and nineties.
    <img src=""&gt;

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