To clearify for our US readers, the Focus ST is the high-end sporty version of the new Focus that US market won’t be getting. Now, on with the reader review:
Ford bought down it’s 2 ST’s. Two different specs, the ST2 & ST3. After a positive introduction to the models and a “can you please give me some feedback, positive or negative, the engineers want to know.” I was ready to go.
I was initially disappointed the 2 cars were neither in what I would call the ‘ST colour,’ some sort of caustic tangerine orange. I got a red one and a blue one. All the models have the same engine, same gearbox, same suspension, etc. The only difference being is the ST1 did not have ESP. This cannot be ordered by dealers without an order in place and Ford said they were not planning on pushing it in the UK. The spec improved up the numbers, but I hardly noticed. Time to drive.
I was quite aware of the Focus chassis as being of safe and sound mind, so I guess I was expecting the ST to be just another Focus with a Turbo charged 2.5 litre engine thrown under the bonnet (and a stiffened suspension.) Sadly, I was not disproved. The first thing I noticed was how quiet it was inside the cabin, Focus LX/Ghia quiet. Now some of you may get a excited about driving in the warm co’zzz’ey quietness of a mothers womb, but I like my sportier cars to talk to me (alot!) The ST has to be severley thrashed to sound like it’s doing the business on the outside, inside.
The handling was good, for a Focus, a bit of torque steer to remind you it’s putting 225bhp onto the front wheels. Quite sharp handling around some tricky bends, but it still felt like it wanted to understeer when under power, causing me to lay off the pedal.
0-60 in 6.5. I was way way over that before I checked the speedo. Why? It didn’t feel like it was getting there. The sound proofing had taken away the joy of moving on up the clock, no whine, no dump noise, no gears in action.
On the next run, I had the windows down, and this was more like it! Growl, thump-hiss, there was an engine proud to have Ford stamped on it! The exhaust meant business, and sounded like a bulldog with acid.
So, to conclude. The ST is not the ground breaking ‘sportier’ car I had hoped would change my initial thoughts. It was fast, handling was ok and it looked the part with it’s ST alloys. But, it’s not a drivers car. It’s a Focus at heart, waiting to join the ranks of boyracers up and down a country near you.
– Jon Roberts
Oh, the feedback. He didn’t want to know.
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