When in Rome with Ford

A group of lifestyle writers and motor journalists met at Heathrow for the launch of the new Mondeo Vignale.

What better way to start your trip than a relaxing stop over in preparation for that early start than the Sofitel at Heathrow airport, a luxury hotel and just a stones through from terminal 5.

A short flight to Rome then we are off to the new FordStore, one of a number of brand new stores built specifically to sell the Vignale ranges.

I decided I wanted to test drive something with umph so I was handed the keys. Just to look at the car tells you it's going to be a lovely drive, externally the car oozes luxury and style embellished with lots of chrome extra's, LED headlights and 18" alloy wheels to give it the 'wow' factor.

So off we went, the car was fantastic to drive, handled well both on the motorways and also in the hustle and bustle of Rome city centre. The suspension makes for excelent handling giving a sooth comfortable journey.

Inside premium leather perforated seats with built in heat and cooling systems fully automatic with sports mode sat nav while at the push of a button the seat gives a massage to ease away the rigours of driving for long distances, though it did switch off after a short time so as not to over relax the driver.

My two companions Mila and Sophia where brilliant at helping read the road ahead. Even though we did get caught in the wrong lane at some traffic lights, but we still got the car and ourselves to the hotel in one piece no bumps or scratches. The Italians just don't care when it comes to driving they see a gap and just go for it no matter the size, but then the car is equipped with a pre collision assist and pedestrian detection, though happily we did not need it.

After we arrived safely at the hotel Flora in Rome Ford had a special night organised for us, we were invited as VIP's to the ATP Tennis tournament which was being held not far from were we where staying. As we were enjoying a nice chilled glass of Processeco on the balcony there in front of us was Roger Federa warming up and then I looked again and saw Serena Williams it was really exciting to see them warming up . We were also invited as guests on centre court to watch a game not knowing it was going to be Serena Williams playing - to say it was thrilling was an understatement .

When the tournament finished we all decided we were going head back to the hotel for a glass of two before bed, well like that was going to happen. Mila told us to jump a taxi to the colosseum and let's all have a drink after all when in Rome you have to see the Colosseum , so being good tourists we did what our tour guide told us. We ended up partying the night away, I made some new friends who made the trip really fun we were up to the early hour and what a wonderful end to a great day.

Next morning we were up bright and early as we had been invited for a tour of the local area before we were back in the cars driving back to the ford store to have a tour around this brand new show room this is how the show rooms are going to be , split into segments with the new car area the Vignale lounge and a chill out seating area to sit and contemplate what you want from your new purchase.

After a light lunch we were chauffeured back to the airport

The Vignale Experience:

Attention to detail, both in design and personal service, ensure your every moment is well-spent.

A calm and quiet cabin. Hand-stitched leathers. The touch and feel of a more refined interior. All tailored to your liking by a dedicated Vignale Relationship Manager in the unique stress-free environment of the flagship FordStores. Explore every option at your leisure. Or choose to have help right at hand.

From that first moment in a FordStore Vignale Lounge, and then throughout the ownership experience, a personal Vignale Relationship Manager takes care of both you and your vehicle with services designed to maximise your time. Collection and delivery for service appointments? Yes. Assistance at a moment's notice? Yes, 24/7.

The range is packed with luxurious equipped such as noise control which allows for 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 adds to the luxury feel on the inside, a 12-speaker stereo, and the latest Sync 2 infotainment system are all fitted as standard. 

All the Vignale cars are hand finished, the car is given extra time during the spraying process to give the paint more dept before a clear coat is applied to help prevent chips.

The car comes in four colours with the main one being Nicciola - which translates to Hazelnut. They are finished in colour matching cream leather seats and crean colour matched interior. An additional touch is the dashboard is specially treated to prevent fading.

Other colours are silver, black and white.

The service includes free collection from home or place of work, when the vehicle requires a service and to add to this these extra are carried over to a new owner when the car is sold.

For the Mondeo Vignale 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 in 4 door salon and estate models.

The Modeo Vignale range starts at £29,045., and goes on sale in the UK in September.

The Vignale is a system of providing a car that is delivered with all the extras you want fitted as 'standard. The Vignale range will soon be expanded to include the S-Max in 2016


Susan Reay