Ads on test: Ford Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth

As mint as its stunning Diamond White paint suggests, this Cossie is straight on the want list

Cost New £19,500 Price £31,995


or some, a Sierra Cosworth is a more potent asphalt aphrodisiac than any Ferrari. That's fed ever-increasing prices for the three-door cars, and now (as predicted here in MC), the four door cars are following suit.

This one lives up to the price – we looked long and hard at the stunning Diamond White paintwork and could only find minute stonechips – the kind you'd find on a two-year-old car, rather than one celebrating its 31st birthday. All the rubbers are in excellent form, and we couldn't find any corrosion.. The alloy wheels are in absolutely perfect nick (they've been refurbished), and each one wears Dunlop SP Sport 01 tyres.

As befits the rest of the car the interior is in perfect condition. The oh-so-comfortable Recaro cloth seats have no rips or tears, and the headlining is unblemished. All electrics work as they should, and all the control interfaces are free from wear and tear. The gearshift is as far from vague as a Borg Warner T5 can be.

The reason why becomes apparent in the thick paperwork file. The previous owner kept receipts for every single part he bought as part of a comprehensive 2016 refresh of the entire car. There’s also a book pack so mint that reading any of them feels like it should be done while wearing a librarian's gloves. It also comes with Hits Tape 8, so you've got the likes of Erasure, Whitney Houston and S'Express to enjoy.

We're more interested in the drive and we're glad to report it doesn't disappoint. A smidge over 200bhp might not seem much these days, but the car’s light weight (comparatively) and its fizz-bang turbo lag makes this car feel far more thrilling than most with twice the horsepower. There's a rawness about the Cossie experience that's deeply addictive.

This one feels tight, precise and showroom-spec. It really is a fantastic example of the breed, with no tiredness throughout. There were no odd rattles or vibrations on our test drive, and the brakes were super-sharp. At this price and mileage this car's future probably lies under a cover or towed to a show (it comes with a mirror in the boot for undercar viewing), but that would be a crying shame – this is one of the finest-driving Saffs we've experienced.

Ford Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth

Year:     1998
Mileage:    65,700
On sale at:    Thurlby Motors

Engine:    1993cc, 4-cyl, DOHC
Transmission:    RWD, 5-speed manual
Power:     204bhp@6000rpm
Torque:     204lb-ft@4500rpm
Weight:     1250kg

0-60mph:    6.1sec
Top speed:    149mph
Economy:     25mpg