Funny story: My Marauder is sometimes mistaken for an unmarked police car. One time when I went into a Dunkin' Donuts, the guy behind the counter wanted to give me my donuts and coffee free because he thought I was a cop living up to the stereotype of cops loving donuts! I guess it didn't help me any that I was wearing black slacks and a black nylon windbreaker at the time, so I guess I did sort of look like a plainclothes cop.
For 2003, Mercury resurrected the Marauder as a tweaked and massaged version of the Grand Marquis sedan. This isn't the first time that a recipe calling for a big engine, fat wheels and black paint has revived interest in a relatively staid and conservative box-on-wheels. Anyone remember the 1994-96 Chevrolet Impala SS? The new Marauder caters to the same crowd of aging, "buy American," muscle-car aficionados as the Impala, and should easily perform the task of raising Mercury's brand awareness as the marque struggles to remake itself. Body Styles, Trim Levels and Options: The 2003 Marauder comes just one way: fully-loaded and painted jet black. The options list is limited to a moonroof, a trunk organizer and a six-disc CD changer.
Driving Impressions/Opinions: The Marauder is a car with a lot to offer. Enthusiasts with families, who're seeking to have their cake and eat it, too, will no doubt appreciate the king-sized sedan's emphasis on both thrills and utility. Fast, handsome and practical, to boot, the Marauder is a ride that's clearly designed to be more than just a one-trick pony.
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Powertrains and Performance: The Marauder is powered by an all-aluminum DOHC 4.6-liter V8 making 300 horsepower 5,750 rpm and 310 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,250 rpm. It breathes through a true dual exhaust system with chrome-plated pipes. A four-speed automatic transmission with a high-stall speed torque converter drives the rear wheels through a 3.55 rear axle with limited-slip differential. Massive 18-inch five-spoke wheels are shod with sticky BFGoodrich g-Force T/A tires (P235/50ZR18 in front and P245/55ZR18 in back).
Safety: With its basis on the Grand Marquis, the 4,165-pound Marauder is large and heavy. Federal crash testing of the Grand Marquis has resulted in a five-star rating for frontal impacts and four-star ratings for side impacts. The 2003 Marauder comes standard with four-wheel disc antilock brakes with electronic brake force distribution and panic assist (which applies the brakes full-force when a panic stop is detected). Also standard is the Personal Safety System (advanced restraint and airbag systems) and seat-mounted side airbags.
Interior Design and Special Features: Inside, enthusiast drivers will appreciate the white-faced displays, which include a 140-mph speedometer, 7,000-rpm tachometer and full instrumentation with temperature, oil and voltage gauges. Bright trim replaces the fake wood found in the Grand Marquis, adding a touch of attitude. A floor shifter juts out of the center console for a sporty feel, while the five seating positions are upholstered in leather with the winged god Mercury's head embossed in the seatbacks. "Marauder" is embroidered into the floor mats to remind the driver this is a special car.
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The Marauder is basically "One Size Fits All". I don't think there were really any stand-alone options, but I could be wrong. I got mine used.
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