Sunday, December 9, 2007

First Drive: 2008 Ford Focus Coupe-Cabriolet - Previews

Nothing turns heads like a sexy convertible wearing Pininfarina badges on its flanks. The Italian design firm is world famous for creating pulse-quickening exotic cars such as the Ferrari 599GTB Fiorano and Maserati GranTurismo. However, the Pininfarina-badged droptop we recently took for a spin proudly wears a blue oval in the center of its grille. The Ford Focus coupe-cabriolet is designed and built by Pininfarina at its factory in Turin, Italy, at a rate of roughly 20,000 per year.

It might not have a prancing horse or trident on its hood, but the Focus is hardly a shrinking violet when it comes to drawing attention. As we drove through posh Parisian neighborhoods—where any other Ford would be considered so déclassé—the coupe-cabriolet got plenty of admiring glances.

The front end is filled with four large grilles, a pair of fog lights, and just the right amount of chrome to be tasteful but not tarty. A bold crease flows up from the headlights and hood before working its way to the C-pillar and over the trunk. Aggressive wheel-arch blisters add visual muscle without making the car look steroidal.

Our only serious issue is with the large rear overhang, made necessary by the two-piece retractable hardtop. However, we were determined to put that top to use, even if cold autumn weather meant we had to crank up the heated seats and wear goofy woolen caps. With a simple push of a button, the top slides into the trunk in a magic act that takes less than 30 seconds—quick enough to impress people at a red light.

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