1987 Mercury Cougar XR-7 coupe of the 1984-1988 XR-7s
1987 Mercury Cougar XR-7 coupe

The 1984-1988 Mercury Cougar XR-7 marked the return of a truly sporting XR-7 after a decade's absence, though the name decorated some forgettable interim models. The 1984-1988 XR-7 bowed a year behind the redesigned Cougar and the Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe.

The XR-7 shared the T-Bird's new-for-'83 "aero" styling -- save for a more formal roofline -- firm suspension, four-cylinder turbocharged engine, and standard five-speed manual gearbox.

A three-speed automatic was optional through '86, after which all Cougars (and T-Birds) were heavily facelifted to be even more aerodynamic, and the XR-7 parted company by switching to the T-Bird/Cougar/Mustang 5.0-liter V-8, recently updated with fuel injection and teamed with a mandatory four-speed automatic.

They were all nice cars, with sportier interiors, more aggressive looks, and tauter handling than other concurrent Cougars, but we'd have the V-8 over the turbo-four any day. It may ultimately be less collectible than the T-Bird TC regardless of engine, and was replaced for 1988 by a new-generation XR-7 with 3.8-liter supercharged V-6, a cousin to that year's new Thunderbird Super Coupe.

Pluses of the 1984-1988 Mercury Cougar XR-7:

  • Good turbo performance (0-60 in about 10 seconds)
  • V-8 smooth, refined, and torquey
  • 1983-1986 styling
  • Well-equipped
  • Pleasant drivers
  • Not long deceased
  • Priced like used cars

Minuses of the 1984-1988 Mercury Cougar XR-7:

  • Throttle lag, exhaust boom, and other nasty turbo traits
  • Visibility not great
  • Scant chance of significant value appreciation in foreseeable future

Production of the 1984-1988 Mercury Cougar XR-7:

  • 1984: 131,190
  • 1985: 117,274
  • 1986: 135,909
  • 1987: 104,526
  • 1988: 119,162

Specifications of the 1984-1988 Mercury Cougar XR-7:
Wheelbase, inches: 104.2
Length, inches: 197.6-200.8
Weight, pounds: 3,055-3,485
Price, new: $13,065-$16,626 (U.S.)

Engines for the 1984-1988 Mercury Cougar XR-7:

TypeSize Horsepower Years
sohc I-41 140
142/145/155 1983-1986
ohv V-8302150/1551987-1988

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