Tan­ger­ine scream: Ford Fo­cus ST

The orig­i­nal Ford Fo­cus, and specif­i­cally the sporty ST170 launched in 2002, set a cer­tain per­for­mance stan­dard. RISKSA re­cently had the op­por­tu­nity to drive the cur­rent Fo­cus ST…

RISKSA Magazine - - Contents -

T an­ger­ine Scream. The colour Ford re­leased specif­i­cally for the third gen­er­a­tion ST, much like they did with the Elec­tric Or­ange for the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion, is not just loud, it is a roar­ing ca­coph­ony. We were scep­ti­cal of the eye­sear­ing bright­ness, and even more so when we parked it out­side the of­fice on a grey Cape Town morn­ing. In this in­car­na­tion, Ford has opted for their Eco-Boost tech­nol­ogy. They have down­sized the en­gine from 2.5 litres to 2.0 litres, but rest as­sured, the tur­bocharger re­mains. To­gether, the pow­er­plant is more dy­namic than ever, pro­duc­ing 184kW and 360Nm of torque, mak­ing the ST top in the seg­ment – the cur­rent 2.0 litre Golf GTI pro­duces only 163kW. That is a lot of torque, an­other fea­ture across all re­cent Fords, and it is torque that pushes you back into your seat, and it is torque that you want. With the down­grade of dis­place­ment, the Eco-Boost en­gine also sig­nif­i­cantly de­creases fuel con­sump­tion and harm­ful emis­sions by up to 20 per cent. Ford says that the num­bers are a 10 per cent in­crease in per­for­mance over the pre­vi­ous

Drive

Luka Vracar model. They claim a 0-100 km/h time of 6.5 sec­onds and a top speed of the usual 250 km/h, which we have no doubt the yel­low won­der can do. While it may be the most pow­er­ful ST to date, the se­cret is how the car per­forms on the roads, specif­i­cally the bendy bits. The ST needs a loud colour, be­cause it is a loud car. It roars to life in sec­onds, and you hear that rowdy en­gine note fill the cabin through some clever sound in­duc­tion by Ford, who have in­stalled a sound sym­poser which feeds the noise from the en­gine bay into the cabin. Even though it is a cylin­der down on its pre­de­ces­sor and the note is not as throaty, the ST must still be one of the best sound­ing hatch­backs on the mar­ket. Ac­cel­er­a­tion is sur­pris­ing, and it feels much faster than its 0-100 km/h time in­di­cates. Soon you re­alise how smooth the car is, switch­ing be­tween gears ef­fort­lessly with what seems to be end­less torque from low down on the rev range. But the mid range is where the car shines as bright as its paintjob. Be­tween 3000 and 5000 RPM the power pushes you back into the seats, be­fore top­ping out at 5500. But more power is just a shift away. When you hit the turns, the ST’s allinde­pen­dent sus­pen­sion pro­vides ab­so­lute con­fi­dence. You never feel like the front might go off; Ford’s new elec­tronic Sport Steer­ing Sys­tem is quick and re­spon­sive and you would not lament the ab­sence of the fifth cylin­der as the wheel twitches in your hands un­der ac­cel­er­a­tion. Put your foot down hard on the throt­tle, and you can ex­pect torque- steer in such a pow­er­ful front-wheel drive car, but it cer­tainly put a smile on our face. Ford’s elec­tronic torquevec­tor­ing sys­tem might not be as ef­fec­tive in con­trol­ling the torque- steer as a tra­di­tional slip- dif­fer­en­tial would, but you get used to it quickly. The power goes to the road well, and the ESP only kicks in if you re­ally want it to. As you would ex­pect in a hatch­back, hot or not, when you slow down it is com­fort­able. Per­haps then, only the en­gine note re­minds you that you are in a sporty Ford. We found this model had a lot more bal­ance be­tween sporti­ness and com­fort than the pre­vi­ous ST.

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