This is the 2013 Ford Taurus, a swarm of tweaks on the current model lineup that runs from a four-cylinder turbocharged EcoBoost engine to this "Superman" grille on the SHO. Forget the Chevy Impala — Ford's aimin' to intercept the Audi A6.

Disclosure: Ford wanted me to see its executives talk about the Taurus so much they supplied a hotel in New York right next to Ray's apartment building. Seriously, it's randomly right next to his apartment building. I can almost hear him snoring. The junket for reporters also includes a free concert by Train. I took them up on the hotel room. Train? In vain.

Advertisement

There's nothing revolutionary in the new Taurus, aside from the fact that Ford has been able to renew its full-size sedan twice in the same time GM has let the Impala turn into rental-car compost. Instead, Ford has made scores of small changes — from adding MyFord Touch into the revised dash to full LED tail lamps — meant to keep the Taurus from going stale.

The biggest change comes from the addition of a 2-liter Ecoboost four-cylinder as an option in the non-SHO Tauruses. Turbocharged and direct injected, the 2-liter Ecoboost in Taurus guise will churn out 237 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque, while returning 31 mpg in highway driving — a number Ford says should be best among the Taurus' peers when the updates arrive a year from now. The Taurus also gets larded with all the latest acronym'd tech the company has to offer, from torque vectoring to fuel-saving shutters in the front grille.

The base 3.5-liter non-turbo V6 gets Ford's Ti-VCT variable valve timing system, boosting its output by 27 hp to 290 hp while also tweaking fuel economy upward some 3 percent. The twin-turbo SHO Ecoboost V6 soldiers on unchanged at 365 hp, despite the renewed competition from Chrysler's 300C, as does the six-speed automatic and optional all-wheel-drive systems.

Advertisement

It says something that every competitor to the Taurus has a glaring deficiency; the Toyota Avalon has poisonous levels of beige, the 300 needs a new transmission and the Impala's most fervent fans carry Hertz Gold Club cards. Mentioning the A6 in the same breath goes too far, but at least Ford's punching up.