Ford announced its all-new Mk III in 1980, the new car being the first Escort model to feature front wheel drive and a transverse mounted engine. Ford had by now mastered the marketing art of offering a whole range of engine and trim options, from base models to Ghia and sporting derivatives.
A "hot-hatch" version, the XR3, was available from 1981 and was an instant hit. Unlike previous "hot" Escorts the XR3 had a practical combination of performance, luxury and accommodation. Available only with the three door hatch body the XR3 featured a 96bhp 1.6 litre engine. In 1983 the XR3 became the XR3i, thanks to the addition of fuel injection boosting power to 105bhp.
XR3/XR3i standard equipment included blacked/colour coded body trim, sports interiors, spot lamps and optional alloy road wheels. In 1986 the model was facelifted along with the rest of the range to "Mk IV" specification. The XR3i name lived on into the mid-1990's, killed off due to its "bad boy" image which worried insurance British companies! Practical Classics February 2002 - Featuring Buyers Guide Sporting Mk III Escorts (1980-1986). Click Here to view in our shop.