Most gearheads love a good underdog story. The hot hatch that can cross up supercars in the corners. The sleeper car at the stop light. The idea that there’s something out there to slay the giants that’s theoretically attainable for the everyman. Lately the Ford Performance lineup has had that market cornered, offering the Fiesta and Focus STs in the $20K range, the rally-fighting Focus RS in the mid $30Ks, and the Shelby GT350 from around $60K — and that’s not counting the GT supercar and upcoming 2017 Raptor.
But aside from the criminally unpopular Chevrolet SS and the 707-horsepower Dodge Charger Hellcat (although that’s really in a segment by itself), America is sorely lagging in the sport sedan segment. Yes, buyers are abandoning four-door cars in droves and flocking to SUVs and crossovers, but that hasn’t stopped the sedan from growing faster and more powerful than ever before. Now, a new one from Ford is set to hit the streets, and it might be enough to lure a few buyers away from another faceless crossover. It’s the 2017 Fusion Sport, and it’s so much more than just another trim package.
Following in a proud tradition of sleepers that includes the 1989 Taurus SHO and 1998 Contour SVT, the Fusion sport is a world-class hired gun in a $33,475 suit. While the entire Fusion lineup benefits from a minor facelift for ’17, the Sport receives a slightly more aggressive body kit, 19-inch wheels, and its piece de resistance, a 2.7-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 that pumps out 327 horsepower and a whopping 380 pound-feet of torque delivered to all four wheels. That’s a lot of bang for your buck.
For comparison, the 2017 Audi S4 cranks out 354 horsepower, 368 pound-feet of torque, has the personality of a toaster oven, and will start at around $50K. BMW’s 340i xDrive delivers 320 horsepower to all four wheels, and has 330 pound-feet, but it starts at around $49K and it’s getting a bit long in the tooth. And Mercedes’s C43 AMG has 362 horsepower and 384 pound-feet, but its $51K starting price is pretty steep, and its options list is steeper. All three are smaller than the Fusion Sport too.
Fully loaded, you’ll be able to drive a ’17 Fusion Sport off the lot for under $43K. It’s a lot of car for the money, but there are still some drawbacks. It does share its bones with a $23,000 sedan, its interior probably won’t be confused with the upscale cabins of the German cars, and it isn’t likely to handle quite as well in the corners. But for a big, stylish, and legitimately quick sedan that can be had for the average price of a new car, Ford looks like it’s hit it out of the park.
So will the Fusion Sport lure many buyers away from ze mighty Germans? Probably not. But we’ve always felt the Fusion was one of the best sedan options out there, and was practically begging for a go-fast version. For years, the idea of a 350-plus horsepower, torquey all-wheel drive sport sedan was firmly out of reach for anyone who couldn’t drop $50K on a new car. Ford has delivered world-class performance to the masses yet again, and for a price that won’t break the bank. We can’t wait to get our hands on one.