► Ford gets serious about Vignale with four new models
► S-Max, Mondeo hatch, Kuga and Edge SUVs go upmarket
► Vignale trim includes extensive leather interior, and bespoke exterior details
Ford vows its upmarket Vignale range will take the fight to BMW, Audi and Jaguar, as it rolls out four new models over the next year. Vignale versions of S-Max, Edge, Mondeo five-door hatch and facelifted Kuga – the latter as a 'concept' – made their debuts at the 2016 Geneva motor show.
Promising a much more emotional Blue Oval, Ford of Europe boss Jim Farley said: 'When we play to our strengths, we can compete and win in Europe even against the premium brands. Vignale is one area where we are going to broaden our appeal.'
Read our 2017 review of the new Ford Fiesta Vignale here
For any who needs a refresher, Vignale denotes more expensive flagship versions of existing models, with special shades of metallic paint, plus bespoke exterior and interior details. The signature element is a hexagonal motif, which fills out the upper grille and graces the quilted leather seats inside. Both the Edge and S-Max roll on 19-inch polished aluminium rims, and the shiny stuff continues with a Vignale-embossed aluminium applique across the S-Max's tailgate, and chrome-finish foglamps for the Edge.
But if you don't like your detailing shinier than Tom Cruise's teeth, Mondeo and S-Max Vignale can be specified with dark alloys and foglamp surrounds, and chrome details like the window brightwork can be eliminated. That approach should give the Vignale a more contemporary feeling of luxury.
When are these due and what will they cost me?
The Edge and S-Max Vignale will go on sale in 2016, with the Mondeo hatch and production Kuga due in 2017. An active noise cancellation system, plus SYNC3 infotainment with pinch and swipe capability on the 8inch touchscreen, are standard equipment. If the Mondeo Vignale's £4k pricing premium is anything to go by, expect an S-Max Vignale to cost from around £34,000.
Anything else I need to know?
The final piece in the Vignale jigsaw is the Kuga concept, where Ford is pushing the template further by experimenting with light and shade. The main paint is mother of pearl metallic, offset by dark painted front and rear skid plates and foglamp surrounds, and a gloss black grille. Inside, leather not only clads the seats, dash and doors, but extends to the boot floor (very Ferrari) and the tailgate. The centre console also gets a touch of the pearl effect finish, this time in dark grey.
Vignale models are sold through 60 upgraded Ford stores in the UK, who have a bespoke sales representative to handle Vignale customers. Aside from collecting and delivering your car for servicing, this 'relationship manager' will also be able to offer you lifestyle experiences, including access to exclusive hotels, theatrical, music and sports events, such as the Monaco Grand Prix and French Open Tennis. It's all part of Ford's global goal of getting closer to its customers, in a bid to retain them through loyalty schemes.
Read more of CAR’s 2016 Geneva motor show coverage here
Click here for CAR’s A-Z guide to the 2016 Geneva motor show