Luxurious new S-Max concept demonstrates Ford's new upmarket Vignale treatment; a production version is on the way

The new Ford S-Max Vignale concept has been revealed at the Milan Design Week. It's the second model to wear the company’s proposed new range-topping brand badge.

Like the Ford Mondeo Vignale concept announced last year, the company says this S-Max “continues to expand its vision for a unique upscale product and ownership experience for European customers.”

Read our Ford S-Max Vignale review here

The S-Max gets quilted soft-touch leather seats and a leather-covered dashboard and centre console. The unique trim inside the car is described as “woven texture embossed” aluminium and the interior also sees the fitment of tablet docking stations. On the outside are the hexagonal Vignale grille, 21-inch Vignale wheels, exterior aluminium trim and a unique paint finish called ‘Milano Grigio’.

Ford has confirmed that a production version of this concept will arrive in European showrooms “after the new Ford Mondeo Vignale reaches customers next year”. There is no information about the likely pricing or engine options as yet.

Ford’s designers say that much of the S-Max Vignale has been influenced by wider trends in furniture and fashion design. Stefan Lamm, exterior design director, Ford of Europe said: "We can see from the designs around us at Salone del Mobile and Milan Design Week that modern luxury does not need to be loud. Lighter tones and careful application of detailing have helped us deliver a level of sophistication Ford customers have not seen before.”

Ford says that around 50 per cent of its large car models are sold in high-end trim and company research suggests that ten to 15 per cent of potential customers want “even higher levels of specification and customer service”. 

“We know that many customers are looking for a Ford that’s more exclusive and upscale than we currently offer in Europe,” said Roelant de Waard, vice president for marketing, sales and service in Europe. 

‘Vignale Lounges’ will be installed in certain Ford dealerships across Europe, most of which will be in large metropolitan areas. Ford says the Vignale sub-brand will provide a ‘relationship manager’ to provide a ‘single customer contact’ for Vignale buyers.

Furthermore, because Ford says “time is the most valued resource” for customers in this bracket, Vignale customers will be offerered collection and delivery services for their car when it is being serviced.

Our Verdict

Ford S-Max 2006-2014

The Ford S-Max a highly accomplished car but it needs to be cheaper

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Comments
18

8 April 2014
My current Mondeo is up for replacement soon and I would like to replace it with a new shape one. The time Ford are taking to get a car that already exists elsewhere in the world into Europe seems to be never ending so I don't suppose anyone is holding their breath for a top end posh one when you cant even buy a top end normal one yet.

8 April 2014
I just hope Addy Lee lease a few, would make a welcome addition to their fleet. Of course it would have to come in black.

8 April 2014
I love it that Autocar's verdict on the normal S-Max is displayed at the side of this article. The conclusion? "The Ford S-Max [is] a highly accomplished car but it needs to be cheaper". So Ford plans to build an even more expensive one! Is Vignale PAG by another name?

8 April 2014
I suspect many ford customers know that if you want exclusive the ford dealership will be the last place to look for it. They are deluding themselves if they think that tarting up the interior will generate sales in the executive class. My advise would be to pull your finger out & get your replacement Mondeo out very quickly or loose sales to the Koreans . Another route to greater profits might be to create a new Granada but it will have to be cheaper than a 5 series.. No Charge.

 Offence can only be taken not given- so give it back!

8 April 2014
I agree with DBtech. How slooooowwwww is Ford in bringing new product to market...... As soon as they bring the 'latest' Mondeo to Europe it'll be into its first facelift phase, won't it ??!! I'd suggest Ford chuck their very fine vehicle dynamics prowess into 'doing a Nissan': ie. avoid mainstream stuff like the Mondeo and Focus and go more after the Quasqhai market since they are never going to compete with the Germans in the 3 or 5-series segment ever again.....A perfect example of how to squander a legacy of market dominance through ineffective management over the last 20+ years....

BertoniBertone

8 April 2014
Wil Ford get the Vignale trim level name to last as long as they wrung out of the Ghia name before it was completely used up?

8 April 2014
I cannot see the appeal of this car. You spend £kkk's more on a car but at the end of the day, it's not an Aston Martin, it's just an expensive Toyota IQ. A blue oval badge does not represent luxury so why waste their money trying? Wasn't that the reason Ford used the Lincoln name? Ford need a whole new brand, like Toyota/Lexus, Nissan/Infinity, Honda/Accura, Dacia/Renault. Ok, scrap the last one.

8 April 2014
Vignale seems more than just a plush trim level like Ghia and Titanium were/are. It seems Ford are trying to make a sort of upmarket sub-brand, but using their existing models instead. Either way Ford is, and is perceived as being, a mainstream brand and no amount of branding and quilted leather will fool anyone in to thinking that a Vignale is anything other than just a higher spec Mondeo or S-Max rather than models in their own right. As someone else mentioned, Lincoln is Ford's luxury brand which everyone recognises so perhaps as much effort should be made in staring to market Lincoln in Europe, while their cars could easily be sold on the same premises as Fords while mechanically many models are identical which would help servicing etc and keep overheads down. Assuming Ford will charge a fair bit for a Mondeo Vignale, I'd sooner have a Lincoln MKZ if I wanted a prestige car from the Ford group.

8 April 2014
Lanehogger wrote:

Vignale seems more than just a plush trim level like Ghia and Titanium were/are. It seems Ford are trying to make a sort of upmarket sub-brand, but using their existing models instead. Either way Ford is, and is perceived as being, a mainstream brand and no amount of branding and quilted leather will fool anyone in to thinking that a Vignale is anything other than just a higher spec Mondeo or S-Max rather than models in their own right. As someone else mentioned, Lincoln is Ford's luxury brand which everyone recognises so perhaps as much effort should be made in staring to market Lincoln in Europe, while their cars could easily be sold on the same premises as Fords while mechanically many models are identical which would help servicing etc and keep overheads down. Assuming Ford will charge a fair bit for a Mondeo Vignale, I'd sooner have a Lincoln MKZ if I wanted a prestige car from the Ford group.

Well said. Vignale is Ford's attempt at a sub brand but rather than designing separate and distinct models, Citroen DS or Fiat 500 style, all Ford is doing is taking existing Ford models and badging them as if they're distinct models in theire own right, exactly like they did in the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s with the Scorpio, which every knew was a Granada with more bells and whistles. Ford should just take the extra spec and trinkets of the Vignale and add them to the Titanium X models. And likewise, if I had the money to pay for a Mondeo Vignale, I'd sooner go for the Lincoln MKZ. After buggering up their handling of Volvo, it seems Ford is desperate for a luxury brand in Europe to stem the attack from the premium brands, but they're doing it on the cheap by simply specing up their mainstream models, giving them a posher sounding name and hiking up the price. As brilliant as Fords are, at the end of the day no-one is going to pay Audi A4 prices for a comparable tarted-up Mondeo. Bring Lincoln to Europe instead, they have a half-decent reputation (far better than Cadillac), they can easily be made in to RHD too and their Ford underpinnings adds to the reassurance too in terms of servicing, parts etc.

8 April 2014
As for the release of the Mk 4 Mondeo, this has been an absolute joke. The car will be close to 3 years old when it's launched in Europe and, as one poster said, it'll be approaching it's mid-cycle revision. Launching the Mondeo 3 years later than the Fusion leaves Ford with a problem when it comes to replacing the car with an all-new model because if Ford wants to launch its global models within months of each other, the Mk 4 Mondeo will only be on sale for around 3-4 years. Unless they choose to sell the next 3rd generation Fusion and Mk 4 Mondeo together for those 3-4 years which can't be economical and would fly in the face of Ford's One Ford strategy. Considering the current Fiesta and Focus were launched with success globally, it makes you wonder want has gone wrong with the Fusion/Mondeo.

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