This early-2000’s sleeper car may look like a bean but it drives like a dream.
In 2003, Mercury released its performance spec version of its mid-size sedan the Grand Marquis. The New car was called the Mercury Marauder and just like its Crown Victoria brother at the time, its looks were very deceitful. Following the “bean-like” structure of its counterpart the Marauder followed in the footsteps of the popular sleeper car shtick that had been growing in popularity at the time.
The Marauder was coated in Night-Black paint and had many blacked-out components such as the grill and parts of the headlights. This was at a time before 'murdered-out black' became the cliche that it is today. Minor exterior adjustments were made to give the car a more aggressive tone such as tinted tail lights, and the high intensity fog lamps gave an extra benefit of a bit more use out of the front lamps. Carbon fiber was used to accent the interior trim and leather bucket seats gave a sophisticated yet eccentric scheme to the entire car.
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Performance was key with this car if it wanted to establish itself as Mercury’s performance vehicle. Sporting an SVT tuned 4.6L V8 and DOHC 32-valve low-restriction aluminum intake pushing out 302 horsepower and 310 ft/lbs of torque this baby absolutely ripped off the line. Some other performance features included; 3-inch chrome exhaust, dual-bore 57mm throttle body, high-flow fuel injectors, low restriction exhaust, and a 4-speed automatic transmission helping to deliver all of that power to the 18-inch alloy wheels that were wrapped in BF Goodrich G-force tires. Grip was also ensured with the help of a limited slip differential which allowed for great handling along with the rack and pinion steering system.
With 302 horsepower and 310 ft-lbs of torque under the hood this car raced from 0-60 in just 7.5 seconds and had an impressive 14.6 second quarter-mile. Another overlooked aspect of this car is the fact that max-power was achieved at 3,600rpm and the 1-inch 1-way clutch allowed for a smooth transition from the 6200rpm redline to the next gear. As the Marauder shared it’s frame with the Crown Vic there is very limited body roll and the 4,160lbs does little to weigh down this beast's handling.
With a 140mph top speed and 21.6 cubic-inch trunk the Mercury Marauder is the perfect combination of performance and practicality. It is also worth noting that while the original MSRP was around $35,000, you can find many good examples of these cars for extremely low prices due to their lack-luster styling. These cars also have an incredible reputation when it comes to reliability which is partly due to the fact that they were also used as police cars at the time.