An undisguised prototype of what will likely be the 2017 Ford Mondeo by the time it arrives in Australia has been spied in the US this week.
This variant, wearing a Sport badge and a number of tricks that hint at increased performance, was caught during promotional work ahead of its unveiling next week as the US-market’s Ford Fusion.
Spied without a shred of disguise, this variant’s appearance in the wild comes some five months after a slide show found on Ford’s own website gave fans a first look at the 2017 Mondeo’s styling makeover.
An even more aggressive scalpel-like look has been given to the Mondeo’s already angry headlights, with a new stepped look and top-mounted LED daytime lights standing out as the key changes.
The grille - often criticised for a general resemblance to the iconic grille design of former subsidiary Aston Martin - has likewise been given a more angular and chrome-framed look for the new model year.
Five-twin-spoke alloy wheels feature at the otherwise unchanged sides, while the rear boasts slender new tail lamps connected through a long chrome-finished hand grab.
A set of four tail exhaust finishers can also be seen on this variant, and if the Edge Sport SUV is anything to go by, the Mondeo’s new Sport badge could mean that a turbocharged 224kW 2.7-litre turbocharged petrol V6 is providing motivation.
In the Edge range (which may replace the Territory), the Sport trim also adds thicker springs and larger, monotube rear dampers.
As with other models in the US-market Fusion range, all-wheel drive would likely also feature.
If the Mondeo Sport joins the Australian range, it would comfortably be one of the more powerful options in the volume-selling mid-sized passenger car market, while shading the 177kW output of the current Australian Mondeo range’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder hero option.
Other changes for the 2017 Mondeo, although not yet spied, are likely to include an interior makeover with a new-look dash, upgraded infotainment (Sync 3 likely), and more premium materials to boost the appeal of Ford’s mid-sizer against rivals like the Mazda6, the Toyota Camry and the well-reviewed new Kia Optima, among others.
Watch for the updated Mondeo to debut at next week’s Detroit auto show, with an Australian launch likely - although not confirmed - to occur later this year or even sometime in 2017.
A more specific view on local timing will likely come with next week’s unveiling.