Car Show Outtake: 1986 Ford Sierra RS Cosworth – Leaving The XR4(T)i In The Dust


The Ford Sierra RS Cosworth, offered from 1986 to 1992, was the undisputed head honcho of the whole 1982-1994 Sierra series. Developed by Ford Motorsport Europe in cooperation with Cosworth, the high-performance engineering company from the UK.

The 1986-1989 RS Cosworths were rear wheel drive, with a 5-speed Borg Warner T5 transmission. The later ones were four wheel drive and had a Ford MT75 4×4 transmission.


In 1986 and 1987 it had a 3-door hatchback body, from 1988 onwards the Sierra RS Cosworth was offered as a 4-door sedan.


At its introduction King Sierra was equipped with a 204 hp Cosworth YB-series 4-cylinder 1,993 cc DOHC-16v engine with a Garrett T3 turbocharger. Mind you, it was based on the good ol’ Pinto engine block.

A factory 1986 Sierra RS Cosworth did 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds and had a top speed of 149 mph.


Given its color this would be a Cosworth YBT engine as used in the Ford Escort RS Cosworth, introduced in 1992. Originally the RWD Sierra RS Cosworth had the YBB engine with a red cam cover. As said, with 204 factory hp.


The blue YBT was good for 230 hp in standard trim. But these engines were highly tunable, hundreds of extra horses could be unleashed. I’ve no idea how many of them are stabled under the hood of the 1986 Sierra RS Cosworth I came upon last month. Never mind, having the pleasure to see a 30 years old Ford legend in a good eat-my-dust condition was enough.