Until June 2003, the ST220 was equipped with Ford’s MTX75 fivespeed gearbox, after which it was replaced by the Getrag MMT6 Durashift six-speed manual.
Most folk will tell you to go for the later model but the MTX75 (complete with revised ratios for optimum performance) offers a slightly slicker shift and also leaves room under the bonnet for dual airbox intakes ( deleted when the MMT6 was fitted). The six-speed meant a slight power deficit and slower acceleration but better fuel economy and higher top speed, probably related to this model’s much-improved engine ECU (which can be retrofitted to earlier cars). Six- speed ST220s also benefitted from a facelifted dashboard.
Both gearboxes are tough and should cause no trouble. The clutch isn’t so strong, generally requiring replacement before 100,000 miles are up. Take a test drive and check for clutch slip, and make sure all the gears engage without baulking.
Fortunately, the petrol-powered Mondeo isn’t as keen on eating flywheels as its diesel counterpart, although the ST220’s DMF ( dual mass flywheel) will wear out eventually, meaning an expensive repair. Beware of vibrations felt through the clutch pedal, which are warning signs of DMF failure.