Most Taurus models are front-wheel drive standard, with all-wheel drive optional. Standard power comes from Ford's 263-horsepower, 3.5L V6, coupled with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The high-performance variant that powers the Taurus SHO is a 3.5L, twin-turbocharged "EcoBoost" V6, which makes 365 horsepower and 350 ft-lb of torque. The engine's two small turbos permit it to make peak torque just above idle. The engine also has direct injection, which Ford claims delivers "the power of a V8 and the efficiency of a V6."
Taurus SHO includes SelectShift paddle shifters, which allow the driver to command the 6-speed automatic transmission's shifts for curves or mountain roads. Torque-sensing all-wheel-drive is standard on the SHO and it employs electromechanical clutches to send torque to the wheels with the most grip. Electronic power steering works with the sport-tuned suspension to handle the power and bring an agile feel.
The SHO gets a number of other performance features designed to help drivers get the most out of the driving experience. The electronic stability control comes with a "Sport Mode," and the SHO rides on Eagle F1 summer performance tires on painted wheels. Inside, the SHO gets "Miko Suede" seat inserts made from recycled materials, plus aluminum-trimmed pedals and aluminum trim throughout. Multi-contour heated-and-cooled seats are available, and there's also a 12-speaker Sony surround sound audio system.
The regular Taurus is offered in three trim levels: SE, SEL and Limited. SEL models get painted aluminum wheels and chrome exhaust tips; they also get supplemental parking lamps and heated exterior mirrors. The top-of-the-line Limited adds power leather seats, a reverse sensing system and a premium sound system that includes the Sync voice-driven interface for phones and portable music devices. Limited models also get showy 19-inch chromed aluminum wheels.
The Taurus is one of the top-rated vehicles in its class in crash tests and comes with a long list of safety features, including stability control, anti-lock brakes, front side airbags, side-curtain airbags, a Post-Crash Alert System and crash severity sensing.
Across the Taurus line, technology features are emphasized, with several features showcased. The Cross Traffic Alert and a Collision Warning system promise to aid safety, while Intelligent Access and a MyKey entry system allow parental control programmability. Sirius Travel Link, a set of features for the navigation system that brings live traffic information, weather forecasts, gas prices, and other info, is also available, as are adaptive cruise control and rain-sensing wipers.