What is it?
After the diesel's rise to pre-eminence in upsize family cars, the petrol engine is fighting back. Some of the tools in its armoury are direct injection, a turbocharger and clever interlinking of exhaust ports and turbo scrolls to improve exhaust scavenging.
Combined with inlet and exhaust valve timing variable over a very wide range, remarkable feats of power, torque and frugality become possible. Ford's new Ecoboost engines feature all of the above.
And the newest Ecoboost is this 237bhp version of the aluminium-block 2.0, found in the Titanium X Sport version of the newly facelifted Mondeo and replacing the thirsty five-cylinder.
It comes exclusively with a six-speed double-wet-clutch gearbox, and the Sport part denotes adaptive dampers with the usual Comfort, Normal and Sport settings. You'd expect paddle-shifters to go with this transmission, but they are strangely absent. Manual shifting therefore involves the central lever, with the Ford (and BMW) logic of pulling back for an upshift.
What's it like?
The shift is quick, clean, very smooth and a touch more definite in its own Sport mode, but the engine's torque and the automatic mode's intuition are such that you'll likely leave the transmission to its own devices after the novelty has worn off.
But for all that 251lb ft of torque (266lb ft on overboost), and the inclusion of a bulkhead-directed 'sound symposer' to add some aural character at high revs and big throttle openings, you do sometimes wonder if all 237 horses are on duty. Blame the Mondeo's weight for this, and the easy, undramatic, always accurate way it handles difficult bends and bumps.
It's also worth noting that the cabin quality of the facelifted Mondeo puts it within touching distance of more premium rivals, while the CO2 output of a engine of this power and size are impressive, too.
Should I buy one?
Maybe. While impressive in the bulky Mondeo, this engine would work very nicely in a hot hatchback of, say, Focus size. Soon it is likely to do just that, bolted to a manual transmission in the next Focus ST.