Grip, grip­per …ST

On a wet Dezzii Race­way AMIL UMRAW di­is­cov­ers ST stands for Smooth dri­iver and Tat­tooed hool­li­igan

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - AMIL UMRAW

CRISPER, sharper, and with looks that will send shivers down the spines of GTI driv­ers, Ford’s new face-lifted Fo­cus ST has ar­rived and is ready to tear up the tar­mac.

Ford said in its press kit that it is not just the power that sets the new ST apart — the com­pet­ing hatches match up easily. In­stead, said Ford, it is what you don’t see that gives it the edge.

For ex­am­ple, engi­neers in­cluded an in­dus­try-first En­hanced Tran­si­tional Sta­bil­ity (ETS) sys­tem as part of the ve­hi­cle’s ad­vanced Elec­tronic Sta­bil­ity Con­trol (ESC).

The ETS senses ve­hi­cle sta­bil­ity and driver in­puts, pre­dicts when a skid or loss of con­trol might oc­cur, and in­ter­venes as re­quired to main­tain op­ti­mal pre­ci­sion and con­trol X giv­ing the novice driver added con­fi­dence be­hind the wheel.

We tested all this the­ory at Tues­day’s launch of the ST at the tricky Dezzi Race­way in Mar­burg

X in the rain. Around wet hair­pins the han­dling is sim­ply phe­nom­e­nal.

The car stuck around corners at high speed with the ease of a sin­gle hand on the steer­ing wheel.

This can also be at­trib­uted to Ford Per­for­mance engi­neers hav­ing re­vised the Elec­tronic Torque Vec­tor­ing Con­trol set­tings that op­ti­mise wheel torque dis­tri­bu­tion, to fur­ther max­imise trac­tion through corners, re­duce un­der­steer and in­crease agility on a straight or af­ter a tight bend.

Back to that power X it is breath-tak­ing. Never be­fore could I pull away from a cor­ner in third and still go wide-eyed in a car in this seg­ment. But it is not all for bad-ass tat­tooed hooli­gans ei­ther.

There is a smooth op­er­a­tor un­der the hood, as I found on the N2. At R421 900 the Fo­cus ST3, can ri­val ev­ery other big mo­tor­ing brand with a ex­tra fea­tures at a lower price tag.

• Read all about the wet ST test at Dezzi’s in the Week­end Wit­ness Mo­tor­ing on Satur­day.

PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Throw­ing an ea­gerly pow­er­ful Ford Fo­cus ST around wet hair­pins are a lot less scary than you’d think, thanks to ETS and ESC.

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