Fast Fords are still flying out of showrooms
THERE really is something about fast Fords which has stood the test of time. If you can think back to Escort Mexicos and the RS 2000 – plus legends like the Sierra Cosworth – it will probably make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.
Leary looks and in-your-face paint jobs were often the order of the day – a few decades ago a much younger yours truly was the very proud owner of a Mk 2, 1980 Capri 2-litre S which was so orange it made a satsuma look dull, boasted huge dotted-line S decals down the sides and had a tartan interior that would have done Jackie Stewart proud.
Yes, I thought it was the dog’s doodahs and drove it accordingly.
Fast Ford forward to 2015 and that winning formula is still very evident in this week’s test car, a Focus ST which was in a colour that Ford themselves call Tangerine Scream!
Unveiled at last year’s Paris motor show and launched in the UK earlier this year, the latest incarnations have either a 1.6, 180bhp or 2.0-litre, 247bhp ecoboost turbo petrol engine or, for the first time, there is also a 2.0 diesel version for the more economy conscious – which still has a very respectable 185bhp on tap and can do 0 to 62 in 8.1 seconds.
Seen by many as the more sensible sibling to the fire-breathing RS variants, the ST still has real performance credentials, particularly if fitted with the 2.0 petrol engine as in our test car.
It can hit an impressive and highlyillegal 154mph and sprint from 0 to 62 in just 6.5 seconds, while figures for the 1.6 are a very respectable 0 to 62 in 6.9 seconds and a top speed of 139mph.
As I said the diesel wins on economy with 56.5 urban and over 74 extra-urban, while the petrol versions return 36 and 59 (1.6) and 32 and 49 (2.0). And if you are being really sensible there is even an estate version.
But, as with all fast Fords, it is as much about show as go and here our test car scores highly. As the descriptive name above suggests, its vivid ‘Lamborghini’ yellow colour - along with cutting edge ST body styling and (optional extra) 19” alloy wheels - drew glances wherever I went... although I suspect for different reasons depending on the age of the observer.
I tended to find those below 40 thought it was cool while older commentators were, on the whole, less enthusiastic. However, when I pointed out the performance figures and that the price was from just under £24k – with 11 other, more subtle, colours available – the general opinion was very favourable.
That in-your-face approach continues inside with striking, multi-coloured, ST monogrammed Recaro body-hugging front seats (see picture left), an extra row of dashtop dials showing oil pressure, engine temperature and turbo boost pressure and a big central touch-screen which controls sat-nav, infotainment and vehicle data thanks to Ford’s SYNC 2 system (a £500 extra) that also includes emergency assistance.
Other extras in our test car included red brake callipers and illuminated bottom door plates plus a rear view camera, heated steering wheel and that amazing paint taking the total OTR price to a still reasonable £27,650.
It’s a well-made, well-equipped performance motor that is fun to drive and won’t break the bank to buy and run.
There’s a more basic ST-1, from £22,195, and top-of-the range ST-3, from 26k. Standard kit on the ST-2 includes 18” alloys, that ST bodykit LED auto lights, auto wipers, DAB radio and Ford’s enhanced vectoring control system, which helps keep the car where it should be during enthusiastic driving.
Speaking of which I did tend to find the car brought out a return to the (slightly) leary motorist of my youth… and just sometimes it was the 1980s all over again!
●● Ford have called this colour Tangerine Scream!