Winter’s white weft still lingers like a decaying duvet across the flat firmament of the Midlands’ most Eastern fringes, kettling Kettering with a bony breeze and the fading flakes of a foot-tall fall. Yet there is no time to reflect on sundry snowings for now is the time to splice the ice with some serious pedalling.
My steed for today’s sub-zero shakedown on the Fenland’s finest is a machine guaranteed to slide. But fear not, for this does not imply inadequate adhesion but refers merely to the agents of ingress that cling gamely to its smoothly sculpted sides. That’s right, I’m helming Ford’s new sliding doored B-pillarless B-seg baby, the B-Max.
First impressions are of a righteous rightness to all major controls, each perfectly positioned to impress the willing wheelsmith. Question is, can this early ergonomic excellence maintain its game face in the theatre of blacktop?
Almost immediately, a depth of detailed dynamism is heartily heralded by the lusty lustre of the baby three-banger under the frontage. Packing purposeful power yet thimble-thin thirst from just a litre of leverage toned by a turbo, this downsized diamond punches like Ali on amphetamines, co-operatively coached by a shifter that’s slicker than a cormorant on the Torrey Canyon.
So the basics are nailed down tighter than a nun’s knickers but what happens when the wheelmanship gets serious? It’s time to take the B- to the max.
Turn-in feels crisper than a pile of poppadoms, shepherded by steering sharp enough to tear tarmac and a level of roll control that would make Mr Warburton weep. Bumps are soaked up like tears on a tissue as the feisty Ford makes short work of the switchbacks and arm wrestles each apex into supine submission.
I swoop at speed into an especially contorted curve complex, feel the cool crescendo of Gs and remove my hand stitched helmsmith’s loafer from the business pedal. All at once the tail twitches wide. I simply catch it with a dab of oppo and I’m away.
The Ford B-Max Zetec 1.0T 100PS Ecoboost is a bitch. And I spanked it.
Troy Queef is Executive Associate Editor-At-Large for DAB OF OPPO magazine