TopGear.com28 August 2013

Ford releases new S-Max concept

And it tells you when you're about to have a heart attack. Like it?

This the S-Max concept from Ford, teased online ahead of its official reveal at the Frankfurt motor show next month.

Note the distinct lack of concept fluff here - this looks like a pretty decent indication of what's going to replace the current, rather good, seven-year-old MPV. The doors open normally. The engine is a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder EcoBoost unit that runs on petrol, not hemp or children's laughter. And none of the electronic entertainment has a name prefixed with an i.

There are all the usual nods to Ford's new design direction, like the Aston-esque snout, and pronounced rear shoulders we've seen on the Focus and Fiesta. Like the outgoing car, there are also big rims, a roof-mounted spoiler, and bulging wheel arches for added SPORT.

Inside, things get slightly more ridiculous. There is an ECG heart rate-monitoring driver's seat, which lets locally connected doctors know if you're about to expire, as well a glucose monitor that runs through Ford's MyFord Touch infotainment system. And therefore probably doesn't work. Otherwise, there are four seats with a fifth, centre-rear seat that folds flat into the floor to create a walk-through cabin.

There's a wave of actual new Ford kit in there, though, like a pre-collision system with automatic braking, and a version of the company's self-parking system that controls the throttle, steering, brakes, and gear changes for parallel-parking manoeuvres.

Ford also tells us that the colour palette was inspired by the last Milan Furniture Fair, and uses dark brown colours, metal finishes that change from matte to polished in the same component, and "remarkably expensive" silk carpeting. Fabulous.

Think all this luxo fluff is a bit much for a work-a-day S-Max? Actually, this model has sneaked a fair chunk of buyers away from more upmarket brands, and up to 70 per cent of owners opt for the pricey Titanium trim, nearly £2000 more on the current lineup...

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