It took just a 20 minute test drive to fall in love with this car. The 3.0 V6 Duratec lump is creamy smooth, sounds wonderful and gives the car serious performance (0-60 in 6.5 seconds). The interior quality and ergonomics are as good as, if not better than my previous BMW 328i, the Recaro seats are superb and the handling and chassis feedback are wonderful. It also has a slick gearbox and indeed a lovely weighty, well oiled feel to all the controls. This is a real drivers car, make no mistake.
I've racked up 4,500 miles in just over a month, yet the car hasn't missed a beat and still feels as tight and new as the day I picked it up. Apart from the engine which has become noticeably keener and more free-revving as the miles have gone on.
My only complaint really is the fuel consumption which can drop into the low 20's with serious hard use, although it will achieve 32 mpg on the motorway. Not bad for the performance on tap though, and not noticeably worse than the 328i. Whether the dealers let the ownership experience down remains to be seen, although friends who own Fords assure me that this often reported downside to Ford ownership is massively exaggerated. I am keeping an open mind for now.
This is a refined, beautifully built and elegantly understated performance saloon with an engine which is easily the match of the fabled Beemer straight six, and with a useful turn of speed. After this admittedly limited ownership period, I cannot seriously fault it.