Ford challenges foreign competitors with the 325-horsepower Fusion Sport

Ever since it was revealed in 2012, the second-generation Ford Fusion has been praised for its best-in-class styling, impressive available tech, and lively driving dynamics. That said, the vehicle is rarely cross-shopped with sports sedans from Germany, but Ford’s latest version is looking to change that.

The 2017 Fusion Sport will arrive in dealerships toward the end of summer with foreign competition in its sights. It won’t go head to head with BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz in terms of interior amenities or ride quality, but it’ll punch them right in the gut with performance and value. For just $33,425, the Fusion will equip a twin-turbo, 2.7-liter V6 with 325 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque (on 93 octane). All-wheel drive comes standard.

To get this type of power abroad, you’ll have to dig quite a bit deeper into the ol’ pocketbook. The 2016 Audi S4, for instance, produces a hair-raising 333hp from its supercharged V6, but it starts at $49,200 and doesn’t offer nearly as much torque. Mercedes’ E400 4Matic boasts a stout 329hp, but falls short in low-end power and costs more than $65,000. As for BMW, the only 3 Series you can get for less than $34,000 is the 320i, which squeezes a lowly 18hp from its turbo four-pot. In terms of performance alone, the Fusion Sport is an incredible bargain.

“It’s not just Fusion buyers who want something hotter,” said Wade Jackson, Ford Fusion marketing manager. “Owners of other midsize sedans, along with our own dealers, ask repeatedly. Cross-shoppers will be shocked by the bang for the buck our new Fusion Sport delivers.”

Read more: Race the Ford GT in ‘Forza Motorsport 6’ before it races for real at Le Mans

As far as aesthetics go, the Fusion Sport isn’t all that different from the standard model, only adding a rear spoiler, dual exhaust outlets, and a sleek black mesh grille. It’s a bit of a sleeper then, much like the 350hp Taurus SHO. Acceleration and top speed figures have not been released yet, but 0 to 60 times should hover around the 5-second mark, and fuel economy ratings have been reported at 17 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.

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