Can Ford really mix it with the likes of Jaguar, BMW and Audi? It clearly thinks so, because this is the production version of the range-topping Ford Mondeo Vignale, on sale next month priced from a premium-sounding £29,045.
First revealed as a thinly veiled concept at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Mondeo Vignale is the first in a string of luxuriously-appointed Fords, designed to keep its more aspirational customers from leaving the brand. Offered as a four-door hatch or an estate, it features a range of interior and exterior upgrades, is only available with the most powerful engines in the range and comes with active noise cancelling technology to boost refinement.
“Over 70 per cent of Mondeo customers order their cars in Titanium or Titanium X trim, so the conclusion to build the Vignale was pretty straight forward,” said Roelant de Waard, European sales and marketing chief. “When we spoke to customers they also wanted more individual services, which is where the dealer experience and app come in.”
As well as buying a car, Vignale customers are signing up to a unique customer experience. The cars will only be sold though one of 54 flagship FordStores in the UK, all kitted out with Vignale lounges designed to pamper them when they visit. Not that they have to visit a dealer at all – collection and delivery for servicing can be arranged through a ‘Vignale relationship manager’, while a Vignale OneCall line is available for 24 hour customer support.
The car itself comes with a suitably long list of standard equipment, most interesting of which is the addition sound deadening and active noise cancellation through the speakers – an option that will be rolled out across the rest of the Ford range in due course. Unique hexagonal quilted leather ups the luxury on the inside, while a 12-speaker stereo, LED headlights, and the latest Sync 2 infotainment system are all fitted as standard.
On the outside there’s a Vignale-specific hexagonal mesh in the grille, splashes of chrome on the door cladding and door mirrors, while 18-inch alloys fill the arches. Engine options include a 207bhp biturbo 2.0 TDCi, a 237bhp 2.0 EcoBoost and Ford’s 184bhp petrol-electric hybrid powertrain with economy and CO2 emissions of 67.3mpg and 99g/km.
A Vignale version of the new S-MAX has already been confirmed, and will follow a few months after the Mondeo. Beyond that, Ford is staying tight-lipped, although it’s believed that the Kuga and new Galaxy are next in line.
Ford's Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Service spills the beans on what Vignale means for the Blue Oval…
It’s not so much a target, but considering 70 per cent already buy Titanium, in my mind I am thinking around 10 per cent of Mondeo sales. But don’t hold me to that, I’ll let the customers decide.
I think everyone is looking for new opportunities at the moment, so just as premium manufacturers are looking to go smaller and more affordable, we’re pushing back towards them. The important thing for us is that there are lots of customers who are more than happy with Ford – we want to give them no reason to want to leave the brand.
The only models we have confirmed at the moment is the Mondeo and S-MAX, but we will have other entries in due course. These two models have the highest uptake of high specification so they are the most logical for now.
Read our full in-depth review of the Ford Mondeo here...